As the United States considers further military action in Syria to fight back against Islamic extremists, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, is warning in a new op-ed that interfering in Syria is what led to the extremist's rise in the first place.
The senator, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, blames both Democrats and Republicans for endorsing policies that amount to "shooting first and asking questions later," but he specifically criticizes his potential 2016 opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"To interventionists like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, we would caution that arming the Islamic rebels in Syria created a haven for the Islamic State," Paul wrote in the Wall Street Journal. "We are lucky Mrs. Clinton didn't get her way and the Obama administration did not bring about regime change in Syria. That new regime might well be ISIS."
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Clinton has attempted to put some space between her policies and those of the Obama administration, recently criticizing the administration's approach to Syria. She has said the U.S. did not do enough to "build up a credible fighting force" against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, leaving a vacuum of power that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) filled.
Paul, however, writes in the Journal that "those who say we should have done more to arm the Syrian rebel groups have it backward."
"This is not to say the U.S. should ally with Assad," he continued. "But we should recognize how regime change in Syria could have helped and emboldened the Islamic State, and recognize that those now calling for war against ISIS are still calling for arms to factions allied with ISIS in the Syrian civil war."
Paul has previously called out Clinton and her party for endorsing interventionist policies. "If you wanna see a transformational election, let the Democrats put forward a war hawk like Hillary Clinton," he recently said about the 2016 election.
As Paul noted in his op-ed, several Republicans are more aligned with Clinton's views on the Syrian crisis than his own.
"ISIS didn't come about from a hurricane or a storm. They filled in a vacuum created three years ago by the president's inaction in Syria," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Fox News this week. "His entire national security team said arm the Syrian rebels that would align with us. He chose not to."