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responses of Rand Paul, Tucker, vs. Orban

Reader comment on item: Take Vladimir Putin's Nuclear Threats Seriously

Submitted by David (United States), May 13, 2022 at 18:18

In a recent tweet you commented with dismay at the behavior of Rand Paul, Tucker Carlson, and Victor Orban on this issue.

I think you did not assess their motives correctly. Sen. Paul's motive is not about "getting back" at the left, he's a true, die-hard isolationist as was his father, and this has revealed itself many, many times. For another example, his vote against Iron Dome funding, at one point even blocking passage of the Defense Appropriations bill a few months ago for this reason, for at least several days. This is a matter of his doctrinal approach to foreign affairs. And is an increasingly popular strain of thinking among the Republican electorate, although within limits. Tucker Carlson appeals to the same sentiment, but he's been inconstant on foreign affairs in his life, so I don't know whether this reflects any genuine sentiment on his part or simply posturing. But he played a prominent role, fatefully, in convincing former President Trump to desist from striking Iran in the immediate aftermath of the Iranian reprisal for the killing of Soleimani, in Jan 2020. The decision not to strike may haunt us for many years if not decades to come.

As for PM Orban, one cannot think of him in the same context as domestic American political players. It seems by all accounts of some people who've spent time interviewing him, that he doesn't act on whims. For good or for ill, he does not share the strategic opinions regarding Russia or Putin, that are currently dominant in Washington. Part of this may be his belief that Putin is an ally of global conservatism, but I think the thinking is likely geopolitical and is out of national considerations, much like India's decision to remain allied with its historic Cold War partner. Personally, I don't share the view that the current position of the United States to prioritize absolute Russian defeat over other strategic considerations is wise, because there are trade-offs for other international issues, and there are very significant consequences for turning a superpower into a North-Korea style pariah. It would seem more justified if Russia were indeed North Korea-like in its behavior, and I question whether that is actually so. Nonetheless, Orban is acting from his own perceptions of national interest. Rand Paul and Tucker Carlson are doing the same from an American domestic standpoint, with varying degrees of honesty and with different motives. Neither of the latter are world leaders and neither are thinking in those terms.

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Daniel Pipes replies:

You are referring to my tweet here: https://twitter.com/DanielPipes/status/1524921436426600449

Tweets don't allow for much subtlety but I ascribed two reasons to these conservatives: "It appears to be a combination of self-interest & saying no to the liberals." Self-interest extends to Paul.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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