Rand Paul Disappoints

Rand Paul is good on some things, and not so good on others.

Earlier this week, Paul was detained in Nashville for refusing a pat down after an “anomaly” was spotted during his full body scan. The T.S.A. denies that he was detained citing some Orwellian semantics. His refusal was noble and deserves applause, especially when considering his standing as an American Senator.

But just because Rand is good on some issues of the warfare-police state should not give him a free pass from scrutiny. Case in point: Rand Paul voted for the Kirk-Menendez amendment on December 1, 2011. Equally disappointing is that his vote flew straight under the radar. Whether unnoticed or ignored, antiwar vigilantes failed on this one.

The Kirk-Menendez amendment (#1414) seeks “To require the imposition of sanctions with respect to the financial sector of  Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran.” The amendment’s main focus is on Iran’s oil industry: “Sanctions imposed…shall apply with respect to a foreign financial institution owned or controlled by the government of a foreign country including a central bank of a foreign country, only insofar as it engages in transactions for the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products to or from Iran.”

This particular amendment could be seen as an act of war by itself, never mind the assassinations of nuclear scientiststhe mysterious explosions at Iranian military facilities, or the drone flights over Iran’s territory. To understand the gravity of the sanctions, just remember that oil accounts for 80% of Iran’s foreign currency revenues and 60% of the nation’s budget.

It is this type of financial suffocation that has many comparing these sanctions to those placed on Japan before World War II. Pat Buchanan recalls:

When France capitulated in June 1940, Japan moved into northern French Indochina. And though the United States had no interest there, we imposed an embargo on steel and scrap metal. After Hitler invaded Russia in June 1941, Japan moved into southern Indochina. FDR ordered all Japanese assets frozen.

But FDR did not want to cut off oil. As he told his Cabinet on July 18, an embargo meant war, for that would force oil-starved Japan to seize the oil fields of the Dutch East Indies. But a State Department lawyer named Dean Acheson drew up the sanctions in such a way as to block any Japanese purchases of U.S. oil. By the time FDR found out, in September, he could not back down.


Facing a choice between death of the empire or fighting for its life, Japan decided to seize the oil fields of the Indies. And the only force capable of interfering was the U.S. fleet that FDR had conveniently moved from San Diego out to Honolulu.

And so Japan attacked. And so she was crushed and forced out of Vietnam, out of China, out of Manchuria.

Iran is quickly being backed into a corner with no way out. The Islamic Republic has shown incredible restraint, but patience is wearing thin.

The EU, following America’s lead, just passed an oil embargo on Iran. Mohammad Kossari, deputy head of parliament’s foreign affairs and national security committee, responded, “If any disruption happens regarding the sale of Iranian oil, the Strait of Hormuz will definitely be closed.” Closing the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated by the West for a mere nanosecond. Bombs would immediately start to fly.

A dog can only be poked in the eye so many times before it bites back.

Rand Paul certainly disappointed on this one.

Cross posted at the Come Home America blog. 

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