Speaking today at The Heritage Foundation, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called for Congress to reassert itself in foreign policy.

“Since the Korean War, Congress has ignored its responsibility to restrain the President,” Paul explained to a packed crowd in Heritage’s Allison Auditorium. “Congress has abdicated its role in declaring war.”

He outlined his vision of America’s role in the world:

What the United States needs now is a foreign policy that finds a middle path. A policy that is not rash or reckless. A foreign policy that is reluctant, restrained by Constitutional checks and balances but does not appease.

Paul cited the American intervention in Libya as a recent example of Congressional neglect of foreign policy:

We did not declare war or authorize force to begin war with Libya. This is a dangerous precedent. In our foreign policy, Congress has become not even a rubber stamp but an irrelevancy. With Libya, the President sought permission from the UN, from NATO, from the Arab League–everyone but the US Congress! And how did Congress react? Congress let him get away with it.

While Congress does have the power to cut off funds for a war, he said this is not enough of a threat to fall back on. In fact, there is no historical example of this ever happening.

Paul advocated a strategy of containment toward radical Islam, which he acknowledged to be a real threat. This containment policy would be similar to what the U.S. adopted towards the Soviet Union for much of the Cold War.

Some libertarians argue that western occupation and intervention fans the flames of radical Islam. I agree. But I don’t agree that absent western occupation that radical Islam “goes quietly into that good night.”… Containment, though, should be discussed as an option with regard to the more generalized threat from radical Islam. Radical Islam, like communism, is an ideology with far reach and will require a firm and patient opposition.

Paul also explained the link between our foreign and domestic policies. The runaway debt poses a threat to our national security, he said. And, he added, “The looming debt crisis will force us to reassess our role in the world.”

Do you think Congress should reassert itself in foreign policy?

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