Outlining his foreign policy vision ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run, Sen. Rand Paul blasted President Barack Obama and potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a speech Thursday night, saying the two ‘wanted to go to war but didn’t anticipate the consequences of war.’
Addressing the Center for the National Interest in New York, Paul, R-Ky., said the Obama administration’s actions in Libya has made the country ‘a jihadist wonderland, a sanctuary and safe haven for terror groups across North Africa.’
‘Our ambassador was assassinated and our embassy forced to flee over land to Tunisia,’ Paul said, referring to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens during the 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. ‘Jihadists today swim in our embassy pool.’
He blamed Obama and Clinton, then the president’s secretary of state, for a deteriorating situation in Libya.
‘Libya is now more chaotic and America is less safe,’ he said. ‘War should not be a unilateral decision taken in the isolation of the White House. But that is what happened.’
The main purpose of Paul’s speech was to boost his foreign policy credentials and counter critics who charge that he’s an isolationist when it comes to international issues.
Throughout the speech, Paul draped himself in the words of former President Ronald Reagan.
‘Reagan had it right when he spoke to potential adversaries: ‘Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure to act,’’ Paul said at one point in the speech.
‘As Reagan said: ‘When action is required to preserve our national security, we will act,’ Paul said at another juncture of his talk.
‘After the tragedies in Iraq and Libya, Americans are right to expect more from their country when we go to war,’ Paul said. ‘America shouldn’t fight wars where the outcome is stalemate. America shouldn’t fight wars when there is no plan for victory. America shouldn’t fight wars that aren’t authorized by the American people, by Congress. America should and will fight wars when the consequences – intended and unintended – are worth the sacrifice.’