He’s not for containment, he now says, but nor is he irrevocably against it. What he’s for is strategic ambiguity, not telegraphing your intentions towards a bad actor lest you inadvertently limit your options later. Does America have any recent experience with that?
I am not for containment in Iran. Let me repeat that, since no one seems to be listening closely: I am unequivocally not for containing Iran.
I am also not for announcing that the United States should never contain Iran. That was the choice I was given a few months ago and is the scenario being misunderstood by some in the news…
Ronald Reagan was once criticized for not announcing in advance his policy toward particular situations. He was accused of not having a concrete foreign policy. His response was that he simply chose not to announce his policies in advance…
In fact, Reagan often practiced strategic ambiguity. He thought, as many other presidents have, that we should not announce to our enemies what we might do in every conceivable hypothetical situation.
Fair enough, but Reagan was a staunch cold warrior running for the nomination of a party that was full of them. He could afford to be coy on foreign policy as needed since his hawkish bona fides wasn’t in doubt. Rand’s in the opposite position, a guy who’s suspected of not only being more dovish than he lets on but of overlapping with his father’s world view to a degree greater than most righties are comfortable with. “Elect me if you want to know the answer” won’t cut it in his case.
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