The most-ignored presidential candidate of the Republican field took a lot of heat from Middle East hawks for implying during the recent GOP debate that the threat from Iran was grossly exaggerated. Today on Fox News, he doubled down on that position.
But when pressed on his views by Fox host Megyn Kelly, Paul went even further, declaring that if Iran ever gets a nuclear weapon and attacks Israel, the United States should let Israel respond. Paul noted, however, that Iran probably wouldn’t attack Israel in this scenario because of the latter’s nuclear arsenal. “They’re not suicidal,” Paul said of the Iranians. Here’s the exchange:
KELLY: If you were President Paul and it turned out you were wrong — that it turned out that Iran did have the bomb and it attacked Israel – would you step in?
PAUL: No. I’d let Israel take care of ‘em. Why should we interfere with Israel? We’re always interfering with Israel when they wanna deal with their neighbors. We undermine their national sovereignty. We shouldn’t tell them how to manage their borders. I defended Israel when they took out the nukes in Iraq many many years ago.
Israel has 300 [nukes]. [...] There’s a lot of problems in Iran. There’s no doubt about it. But I tell you what: They’re not suicidal.
Watch the video:
The stance on retaliating on Israel’s behalf sets Paul even farther afield from his fellow GOP candidates, such as Herman Cain, who vowed to attack Iran if it “mess(ed) with Israel.”
On Fox today, Paul reiterated his historical point — lost on Rick Santorum during the debate — that Iran “had a pretty good democracy going in ’53 and we kicked it out — our CIA kicked it out for oil and put in the Shah, and he was a ruthless dictator.” Paul asked indignantly: “And you wonder why there’s blowback?”
The libertarian stalwart also compared Iran to the Soviet Union and China — countries that had “murdered millions of their own people” but were nonetheless engaged by Republican presidents. “We didn’t say the solution was to invade those countries and take their nukes away from them.”