Senator Rand Paul recently challenged the new Secretary of State nominee Anthony Blinken on his history of pushing regime change in the Middle East and North Africa:
“Regime change in the Middle East has led to chaos, instability and more terrorism,” Sen. Paul argued.
“Like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton you’ve been a supporter of military intervention in the Middle East from the Iraq war to the Libyan war to the Syrian civil war…” he introduced in his Tuesday questoning of Blinken.
Sen. Paul began his argument by questioning Blinken’s role in the NATO intervention of Libya in 2001 and his support for the US military invasion of Iraq in 2003, which the Kentucky congressman said was a major disaster that paved the way for a stronger Iran.
The congressman argued that Blinken continued to push regime change in Syria, which he said was a significant blunder, especially with the amount of money spent training “moderate rebel forces”.
Sen. Paul said the administration of former President Barack Obama spent $250 million (USD) on training 60 rebels [as part of the DoD side; the CIA program was much more expansive], which he said was a waste of money.
He would go on to question why Blinken would support the Syrian opposition groups on the ground, as he pointed out the most powerful fighters are those from the jihadist groups like the Al-Nusra Front.
“Even after Libya you guys went on to Syria wanting to do the same thing again… it’s a disaster. The lesson of these wars is that regime change doesn’t work!” Paul said.
“You got rid of one ‘bad guy’ and another ‘bad guy’ got stronger,” Paul added while lambasting the US strategy of going after Iran while Iraq is still weakened by Bush’s regime change war there.
“Maybe we shouldn’t be ‘choosing’ governments in the Middle East,” Paul continued.
Watch the full exchange here:
Blinken claimed in response that he wasn’t supportive of a full-scale ‘Iraq-style’ regime change war in Syria while vaguely claiming that he’s done “deep thinking” and reflection on the issue. Blinken never repudiated the policy of regime change in the Middle East, however.
Sen. Paul then shifted his attention to NATO, which he said Blinken was trying to strengthen for the purpose of combatting Russia. The senator said Blinken’s policy on NATO would lead to war with Russia, which the latter responded would have the opposite effect.