Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke to Guy Benson this afternoon about the new sanctions from the Trump Administration against Turkey and the latest in Syria. Sen. Paul also discussed his latest book "The Case Against Socialism".
Guy Benson: We'll get to our guests in a moment. Coming up later in this hour Congressman Adam Kinzinger will join me as well. Guy Benson show dot.com is our Web site please subscribe to the podcast if you'd like. That's Guy Benson show dot.com. We begin this hour with Senator Rand Paul a Republican of Kentucky. He has a brand new book out the case against socialism. Senator good to have you back.
Sen. Rand Paul: Glad to be with you Guy.
Sen. Rand Paul: So before we get to the book and we'll definitely delve into that I just want to ask you about your reaction. There was a statement out from the White House today from the president announcing new sanctions against Turkey the redeployment of American troops in the region to monitor what's happening in Syria and to as the president says prevent a repeat of 2014 if ISIS were to reconstitute. Do you favor these sanctions do you favor having troops in the area to possibly intervene if necessary.
Sen. Rand Paul: You know I think our founding fathers were very prescient when they assigned the role of deciding when we go to war to Congress. And so it's sort of a separation of powers issue that has gotten lost over time. But our founding fathers were very clear. You know Madison said that the executive branch is most prone to war. Therefore we delegated that power. You know we vested that power in the branch the legislative branch because they were fearful of having a president that was too powerful and too much war. And so really if people want to be at war in Syria there needs to be a big debate in Congress and that's how you determine whether something's in in one's national interest. People throw that term around loosely and say well it's in our national interest to be in Syria. And like most Americans are scratching their heads saying really to be in the middle of a five sided complicated war where some of these people been fighting more than a hundred years some of these few have been fighting a thousand years where the way we determine whether we should be there is we have a big spirited debate in Congress and the legislature decides whether we should be at war. The problem with Syria is if we had that debate I don't think anybody up here knows who would be at war with or are going to be at war with Turkey our NATO ally Turkey is allied with a Free Syrian Army which was also our ally for seven years but they're now fighting with Turkey. You've got Assad on the other side and the Russians and the Iranians and you've got the Kurds somehow in the middle. And I think one of the ironic things that you've already seen within the first 48 hours here is the Kurds are now appealing to Assad for protection. And it really is probably the best chance of the Syrian Kurds to ever have any autonomy within Syria is probably having the protection of Syrians and having an intact border between Syria and Turkey. So I think we'll see what happens but I'm very hopeful actually that the new twists and turns will lead to a negotiated settlement. I think what's prevented a negotiated settlement previously has been that the neocons and the people who want to stay everywhere forever have insisted that Assad go that we have regime change in Syria and that insistence has meant that Syria and Assad can't be any part of a negotiated settlement. So you can't have a negotiated settlement if you don't have two parties to it.
Guy Benson: OK. And look I understand your point about the separation of powers in your view of presidential power and war powers what the Constitution says but sanctions for example against Turkey. That's something that is being openly discussed and will be debated in Congress. If there were a significant sanctions package against Turkey based on what they are doing on the ground in Syria is that something that you would be willing to support if it's debated and passed through Congress. You mentioned Turkey as a NATO ally. Do you consider them an ally at this point.
Sen. Rand Paul: I consider them sort of a frenemy. I don't think they've been a great ally and I'm not big on sort of this forever commitment to everybody that's in NATO. That's why I haven't wanted to keep adding people to NATO. So no I don't think they I don't think Turkey's been a good ally in recent times. I think their purchase of Russian missiles should exclude them from any of our weapons. And so there are different ways you can try to use our leverage over Turkey to try to get them to behave in a way that is consistent with them being an ally. But the first step I think would be without question withholding weapons and I've been for withholding weapons from Turkey simply because of their purchase of the Russian missiles. This is an additional reason why I withhold weapons. I separate withholding weapons from sanctions for a couple of reasons. I think sanctions work a little more indiscriminately on the on the population of Turkey and often can turn the population of a country against America whereas withholding holding arms then really hurt anybody in Turkey. It just prevents Turkey from doing things ultimately with those arms that we disapprove of. I would have done the same with Saudi Arabia. I greatly object to the crown prince and I would have withheld arms until we got better behavior out of Saudi Arabia. But I wouldn't vote or wouldn't actually really not prefer any way. Sanctions against Saudi Arabia because I think really trade and continuing of trade unless you're at war with somebody is probably the better part of valor.
Guy Benson: Last question on this subject. And it goes to I think one of the arguments that non interventionists make and the president has made this argument as well and I think it appeals to a lot of voters which is we shouldn't be embroiled in these complicated conflicts where our interests are muddy at best. And I understand boots on the ground by the many thousands in a place like Syria is going to have a lot of detractors here in America I'm skeptical of it myself. But when you look at the Kurds these are the type of people that a lot of non interventionists say that's that's what we need people in that region taking care of their own dirty work in this case fighting and taking many casualties against ISIS with our support if we support people and they they die by the thousands fighting ISIS which I think is definitely in the U.S. broader interest isn't it. Isn't it a problem if we then abandon those people forcing them into the arms of Assad and Russia.
Sen. Rand Paul: Well see I'm not so necessarily sure that it's going to be a bad thing that they will be with Assad. I think it's actually their best time and the chance for actually having a homeland unless the U.S. is going to send 10 20 30 40 50 thousand troops over there to create a homeland form and guard them against everybody from around there. So no I don't think it is in their best interests but my obligations to the Constitution and I think it's complicated in the sense that people think go Kurds or Kurds well they're Turkish Kurds who are Iraqi Kurds and are Syrian Kurds. They don't necessarily all like each other. They have different political parties. The Syrian Kurds primary political arm is socialist and has been terrorist within Turkey and they do want part of Turkey they want part of Turkey to be split off into a Greater Kurdistan and Turkey objects to that. They've been fighting over this issue for 50 60 70 maybe even 100 years. So I think we have to look at it that way and decide. But also I think we have to ask what is the best chance for the Kurds. People have written these ridiculous things saying oh the Kurds have been fighting our war for us what a bunch of hogwash. The Kurds have been fighting for their villages and for their towns and for their women and for their families. And we help them but that doesn't mean that we said oh yeah we've been helping you fight against these terrible people ISIS What Should Be thank you not oh we're now so mad that you're not going to stay forever and create a country for us. President Trump said that he would help the Kurds with ISIS to defeat ISIS. We did. And so really the answer should be not oh yo you ungrateful people you won't help us forever it should be thank you so much for helping us kill these awful people we now control these villages but we're in the middle of a country that we're going to have to deal with. And I don't think the Kurds are physically able nor are we ever going to carve out a region of Syria and say This is yours. But there is a semi-autonomous area within Iraq that is working that should be the model. I think if they work with the host government which is Assad for better or worse the war is over people then go. What are we going to do keep battling on. And what would we have done if Lindsey Graham and Hillary Clinton had gotten their way and the Sunni extremists had won in Syria would we be better off. No I think they would have been a calamity for al-Qaeda and al Nusra to win the war. Assad is a bad guy but I think Al Nusra was worse.
Guy Benson: Yeah I mean and that's certainly debatable. I mean one of my biggest concerns is about ISIS. Some of these guys high value guys escaping and reconstituting and at some point posing enough of the threat where America feels like Okay now we have to go back in. But Senator we'll put a pin in that discussion because it's ongoing I want to talk about your book The Case against socialism it's brand new. You had a bit of let's say an eventful appearance on The View this week. I'll play briefly cut 24. This was an argument that Ana Navarro made about socialism and Venezuela. Listen. Well if you vote for a socialist you might get socialism.
Video Clip: Come on. Don't do that.
Guy Benson: And then she says Maduro is not a socialist. He's a corrupt murderous thug who is starving his people. Just if you would Senator. This came as news to me that Maduro isn't a socialist of course he's a socialist and when socialism often is fully implemented you get messy bloody ugliness throughout history all over the world. But what about maybe a kernel of truth in her argument which is there are forms of maybe social democracy that I oppose but are not the type of corrupt violent socialism that we see in a place like Venezuela that some of the American socialists would aspire towards as opposed to the disaster in Caracas.
Sen. Rand Paul: Well we certainly get to that. But her first point is about Venezuela. She's saying Maduro is a thug and a murderer but not a socialist and my response had she let me speak was that. Can't you be both. Can't you be both a socialist and a thug and it's even more than that. One of the themes of our book The Case against socialism is that perhaps it's not just an accident that you get violence and accident that you get thuggery. Maybe it's an inevitability that if you try to completely socialize things if you tried to appropriate the property or the farms and the businesses that ultimately you can't really do that with a kinder gentler dictator. It takes a ruthlessness if you really want to have full and complete socialism. It does take that ruthlessness. You're right. They look at Scandinavia and they say oh well what about democratic socialism in Scandinavia. Well they've got it all wrong. Scandinavia is not socialist in fact the prime minister of Denmark said to Bernie Sanders Pipe down you know we're not socialist you're you're bad for business we don't want the world to think we are socialist. And when you look closely at Scandinavia which my wife and I did in this book what you actually find is they are a welfare state with a lot of so-called free stuff sort of the freebies of socialism. But the interesting thing is what what Bernie Sanders says is a big lie. He says the rich will pay for all of these things if we bring it to America in Scandinavia. The working class pay a 25 percent sales tax and the middle class pays 60 percent income tax. So the dirty little truth about sort of big welfare states.
Guy Benson: Say that again is the middle class pays 60 60 percent income tax.
Sen. Rand Paul: 60 percent income tax starting at around sixty thousand in Scandinavia. So you have these enormous taxes on the middle class and a 25 percent tax on everyone. But that's you know when you talk about a burden as far as your income the poor and the working class paying a 25 percent sales tax is a big burden for the poor. So you can have the so-called welfare state of Scandinavia. It's not socialism but you can have that big welfare state but you cannot have it by just taxing the rich. That is the big lie Bernie and AOC is they say oh we're going to tax the rich. There's only a few of them anyway. They don't have any votes. You know nobody will care. And this is a demagoguery that we have to expose because in reality Scandinavian welfare ism is supported by massive taxes on the working class and the middle class.
Guy Benson: And would that be your criticism of Elizabeth Warren as well because she's trying to distance herself from Bernie saying I'm not a socialist. Into my bones on the capitalists but a lot of her policies look awfully similar to Bernie's.
Sen. Rand Paul: Well she's more Medicare for All which basically would cost 60 trillion dollars. Where's the money going to come from. Some reporters have begun asking her are you going to tax the middle class. Bernie at least admits that he's going have to tax somebody but you'll save a lot of money on the free insurance. Elizabeth Warren has been unwilling to answer the question but it is an important question where's the 60 trillion coming from with Bernie and I see the problem is they say they're going to tax people but what they propose for taxes is not nearly enough to pay for their you know their dreams of this paradise. They want to create.
Guy Benson: Less than a minute to go. Let me pick up on Medicare for All or single payer health care from your perspective as a medical doctor what's the moral case not just the what will it cost price tag issue what's the moral case in your eyes as a doctor against government run health care.
Sen. Rand Paul: Well leads to shortages it leads to terrible quality and leads to doctors you know selling meat out of the back of an ambulance. We tell that story in our book The Case against socialism. So it just doesn't work practically. But it's also this idea that Bernie seems to put out there that somehow he has a right to a doctor services or a nurse's services and that really is an immoral notion to believe that anyone has the right to someone else's labor.
Guy Benson: Senator Rand Paul a Republican from Kentucky. His new book just out the case against socialism Senator thank you. Thank you. We will step aside and be right back as the guy Benson show continues.