Rand Paul, a Republican hawk in dove's feathers

Rand Paul, a Republican hawk in dove's feathers
Comment: A political opportunist such as Paul in the White House would be potentially disastrous for Arabs and Palestinians, says Diana Shuman.
3 min read
22 Apr, 2015
Paul has introduced two bills to defund the Palestinian authority [Alex Wong]

Earlier this month, Rand Paul announced his bid for the US presidency. Many have billed him as a libertarian, non-interventionist - political positions that would surely be good news for the Middle East.

Except, the Republican senator's track record would indicate he is something quite different.

Paul has flip-flopped more than a pair of sandals in the middle of summer. When push comes to shove, and despite initial caution, he ends up being drawn into supporting US involvement in overseas conflict.

Paul has flip-flopped more than a pair of sandals in the middle of summer.

Paul cannot decide whether he'd like to be a political hawk or dove. Dependent upon his mood that day or his theory on how the Israeli lobby will respond, his support for intervention is a study in extremes.

It can range from being the only vote in opposition, to going behind the back of the president to sign Tom Cotton's letter undermining US/Iran nuclear talks.

Paul has proved that he is his only ally, and his only loyalty is to himself.

He has separated his politics so far from his father's that one wonders if they had ever spent time in the same household.

Where his father ran presidential campaigns to win support for ideas and to bring about true change, the son will change positions at the blink of an eye if he feels it will get him a few extra points in the polls.

Paul will fight vehemently in the senate against US involvement in foreign, especially Middle Eastern, conflicts - then acquiesce a few months later, "but only as long as it's from the air."

Paul vs the Palestinians

Flip-flopping and indecisiveness aside, perhaps Paul's most troubling stance is his unwilling support for Israeli assault upon Palestinians.

Paul's introductions of two bills - in as many years - to defund the Palestinian Authority completely are a transparent attempt to win the support of AIPAC and the Republican party in the coming year's elections.

A Rand Paul Whitehouse would mean Arab Americans would find themselves in a more dire position than they are in currently.

With the "Stand with Israel Act" and the "Defend Israel By Defunding the Palestinian Foreign Aid Act of 2015", Paul aims to unite the Republican Party in his support at the cost of crippling the Palestinian people further.

The only beacon of positive light in this current situation is that although the board of the Republican Jewish Coalition has stated they would unite behind any Republican candidate, "One exception to that would be Rand Paul," states Ari Fleischer, a former Bush press secretary.

With such a lack of focus in Paul's aims for US foreign policy, a vote for him as president would mean that a small fractional increase in approval ratings could lead to a regional war because the head of state cannot solidify his loyalties and stances.

Now, the question arises... If not hawkish dove like Rand Paul, what kind of president?

A true independent who leaves partisanism and foreign appeasement out of his policies is what not only Arab Americans, but the US as a whole, desperately need.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.