Last Sunday, Rand Paul wrote in an op-ed in Time, “Putin must be punished for violating the Budapest Memorandum, and Russia must learn that the U.S. will isolate it if it insists on acting like a rogue nation.
This does not and should not require military action. No one in the U.S. is calling for this. But it will require other actions and leadership, both of which President Obama unfortunately lacks.”
Paul added that the United States should boycott the upcoming G-8 summit, and that Russia should be expelled if they still have troops in Crimea at the time of the summit; Paul also wants to “reinstitute the missile-defense shields President Obama abandoned in 2009.”
Paul outlined a couple of other actions he would like to see in response to the perceived aggression by Russia. I say, “perceived aggression” because there is a treaty allowing Russia to keep five naval bases, two air bases, 25,000 navy troops, and 2,000 marines in Crimea.
Paul’s father, the former Congressman and Presidential candidate, Ron Paul, told The Guardian the Crimean people have the right to self-determination, characterized sanctions against Russia as “an act of war”, and that providing economic aid to Ukraine was comparable to giving support to rebels in Syria knowing it would end up in the hands of al-Qaida.
The younger Paul concluded, “If I were President, I wouldn’t let Vladimir Putin get away with it.”
In another move that leads some to question the libertarian slant of Rand Paul, RawStory.com reports, the Senator from Kentucky has thrown his support behind legislation that Republicans could use to force President Barack Obama to crack down on legal marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington. The bill, which recently passed through the House, would allow Congress to sue the President for failing to faithfully execute laws.
Paul said that Obama appeared to be “writing his own laws whenever he feels like it.” Adding, he needs “to enforce the law. We write laws and he is just deciding willy-nilly if he likes it he enforces it, if he doesn’t, he won’t enforce it, and we really think he needs to be chastened, rebuked, and told that he needs to obey the constitution.”
Some in the GOP are saying the bill would force President Obama to enforce immigration laws, and crack down on marijuana in states that have legalized its possession and sale.
While Rand Paul has been seen as a supporter of reforming drug laws, he has remained quiet on the legislation’s potential effects on states’ marijuana laws. In my opinion, Paul is taking the opportunity to differentiate himself from President Obama in hopes of generating support from his Republican base.