Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., faulted fellow Republicans for banging the “drums of war” with China, saying his new bill, the End Endless Wars Act, would replace a post-9/11 law.
Since 2001, the law known as Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, has been used by presidents to legally justify multiple military ventures without congressional input.
“It’s a pretty darn important vote. We should vote on whether we have war,” Paul said Wednesday, speaking at The American Conservative magazine’s 10th annual Foreign Policy Conference.
“This has been an ongoing battle, and today we are introducing the End Endless Wars resolution,” the Kentucky Republican added. “That is once again to repeal the 9/11 AUMF. We [would] repeal [it] in six months. The reason we give them six months—and maybe six months after 22 years—but we do that simply because some of us simply argue we have to have some ability to plan the transition.”
Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican, spoke at the conference organized by The American Conservative magazine, which was founded in 2002 by conservative writers. Those writers were opposed to going to war in Iraq at a time when most other conservative commentators backed President George W. Bush’s war effort after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Paul said he anticipates it will be difficult to draw support for his measure even among Republicans.
“This is a sort of the standard ploy in Washington,” Paul said. “They would say, you know, that’s a really good idea, but this is just not the time or the place to do that.”
Paul criticized fellow Republicans’ desire for more military spending.
“If you come to my Republican caucus, you will hear the beating of drums,” Paul said, patting the lectern in front of him. “These are drums for war with whomever, primarily with China. Everything is about war with China.”
During a recent trip to Hawaii, he said, he met with members of the military who told him: “Take this message back to your fellow senators, war with China is not inevitable.”
“We’ve had an uneasy peace with China. We have an uneasy relationship between the U.S., China, and Taiwan,” Paul said. “It’s uneasy because it’s confusing to explain to people and the more you explain to people, the less ambiguous it becomes.”
Every week as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he said, he sees a new bill related to Taiwan with harsh language for China.
“We ought to be very careful. Some say if your language isn’t loud, you don’t hate communism enough,” Paul said, adding:
I don’t know anybody who hates communism more than me. I wrote a book against socialism. I’ve been the leading voice out here saying that in all likelihood, the pandemic started in Wuhan [at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research facility in China]. I met with the representatives of the Chinese Embassy the other day and said, ‘This isn’t just about attacking China. This is about trying to preventing the next pandemic.’”
Paul went on to talk about funding to help Ukrainians fend off the 15-month-old invasion by Russia.
“Even if you did think that Ukraine was the last, best bastion of liberty, does it make sense to borrow money from China to send it to Ukraine? There is no fiscal sense in this,” Paul said.
The Kentucky Republican went on to say:
The other thing is, even if your best concern … is for the well-being of Ukraine, the country is getting destroyed. Give it another year. It will be more destroyed. …
There has to ultimately be peace. The realist point of view is this: that if you expect unconditional surrender, you’re not realistic. If you think wars are going to end by the good defeating the evil, it’s not very realistic. The end of the war in Ukraine will be a negotiated peace.
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