Don't call Sen. Rand Paul an "isolationist."
In an op-ed published Thursday by Time, Paul pushes back against that characterization of his foreign policy, which has been used by many of his critics in the Republican Party, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
"I’ve said since I began public life that I am not an isolationist, nor am I an interventionist," Paul wrote. "I look at the world, and consider war, realistically and constitutionally."
"I still see war as the last resort," Paul continued. "But I agree with [former President] Reagan’s idea that no country should mistake U.S. reluctance for war for a lack of resolve."
"If I had been in President Obama’s shoes, I would have acted more decisively and strongly against ISIS," Paul wrote. "I would have called Congress back into session — even during recess."
But Paul still does not advocate for military escalation against ISIS beyond the current strategy of airstrikes. Instead, he proposes arming the Kurds, and other defensive measures, including securing the U.S. border to prevent "ISIS infiltration."
"There’s no point in taking military action just for the sake of it, something Washington leaders can’t seem to understand," Paul wrote.
Other potential Republican presidential contenders have been more hawkish than Paul in their response to ISIS and its growing threat. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently suggested the U.S. should “bomb [ISIS] back to the Stone Age.”