President Donald Trump set the world ablaze in controversy last week after he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Korean demilitarized zone, actually setting feet on North Korean soil.
Nobody is more proud of the President than Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has been the most vocal proponent of a non-interventionist foreign policy in Congress since his election in 2010.
I applaud @realDonaldTrump for engaging in diplomacy with the North Korean leader! Many in Washington are being critical, yet past administration tactics have not worked. We need more engagement around the world to prevent endless wars. Mr. President, you’re doing the right thing
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 3, 2019
While President Trump has not always taken Paul’s foreign policy advice – particularly when it comes to Yemen and Iran – he has listened in regards to North Korea, and the President is on the cusp of a diplomatic breakthrough that is confounding the Washington D.C. expert class as a result.
Trump just became the first sitting U.S. president to step into North Korea as he met Kim Jong Un in the DMZ pic.twitter.com/ve3UGyj0sN
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) June 30, 2019
Before Trump was able to repair relations with North Korea, Paul was a voice of reason trying to deescalate tensions while Trump and Kim exchanged hostilities publicly. He urged the nations to come together and avoid war.
“Even with conventional weapons a million people could die in two weeks, in South Korea probably,” Paul said in 2017. “I think we need to realize the things we say about nuclear weapons should not be said frivolously.”
“We don’t want to goad them into anything. … When people are not completely rational, you don’t want to stoke their irrationality,” Paul added.
Paul has fought neoconservative hawks in the Senate like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) on foreign policy matters in the age of Trump. Paul has argued for Trump to extend the olive branch while the neocons have called for more saber-rattling.
“I think in the midst of this historic opening that President Trump has orchestrated, for Lindsey Graham to say he wants to declare a war on North Korea — terribly naive, wrongheaded, and the wrong way to go,” Paul said in May.
Paul’s more restrained approach is being adopted by Trump with regards to North Korea. If Kim and Trump can seal a peace deal, it could shatter the belligerent neocon consensus that has dominated Washington D.C. orthodoxy for decades.