Rand Paul: 'I Think We Have to Learn From History...Regime Change Hasn't Worked'

By Susan Jones | December 7, 2015 | 11:07am EST
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - "I think we have to learn from history," particularly the Middle East -- "regime change hasn't worked," Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday.

"You've got people like Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio who have advocated regime change in Libya, Syria, Iraq, you name it -- but it hasn't worked. Every time we've toppled a secular dictator, we've gotten chaos and the rise of radical Islam."

Paul said there are "variations of evil" on both sides of the Syrian civil war, with Bashar Assad on one side and radical Islamists on the other side.

"If we had toppled Assad a year or two ago, like Obama wanted, McCain wanted, everybody wanted, ISIS would be in charge of all of Syria now," Paul said.

Sen. Paul was responding to "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, who asked him about Ted Cruz's comments last week that "we have no dog" in the Syrian civil war. Scarborough pointed to a new Gallup Poll showing that over 60 percent of Americans now support sending ground troops to defeat ISIS.

When it comes to the toppling of dictators, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) holds views very similar to Rand Paul's.

Two years ago, as CNSNews.com reported at the time, Cruz warned that a U.S. military attack on the Assad regime would be a "mistake."

"[J]ust because Assad is a murderous tyrant doesn't mean his opponents are any better," Cruz told ABC's "This Week" on Sept. 8, 2013. He pointed to U.S. intelligence showing that of the nine major rebel groups in Syria, at least seven appear to have significant ties to al Qaeda.

Cruz said the problem with attacking Syria is that it might weaken the Assad regime, "and the result is, the rebels are able to succeed. And if what happens there is al-Qaida taking over or al-Nusra taking over and extremist terrorists getting access to those chemical weapons -- that hurts U.S. national security."

Last week, in an interview with Bloomberg News, Cruz critized his Republican rival Marco Rubio for supporting a no-fly zone over Syria and for wanting to arm Syria rebels, who may not be as moderate as they are sometimes portrayed to be.

“I think none of that makes any sense," Cruz said. "In my view, we have no dog in the fight of the Syrian civil war.” Cruz said Rubio and Clinton “are repeating the very same mistakes they made in Libya. They've demonstrated they've learned nothing.”

“The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend,” Bloomberg quoted Cruz as saying “If the Obama administration and the Washington neo-cons succeed in toppling Assad, Syria will be handed over to radical Islamic terrorists. ISIS will rule Syria.”

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