Last week, Texas governorRick Perrymade that mistake.Sen. Paulresponded by mocking Gov. Perry’s new hipster glasses and saying that if the governor remains so stubbornly ignorant, “I’ll make it my personal policy to ignore Rick Perry’s opinions.”
In a recent issue of the Weekly Standard, I ask somequestionsabout Rand Paul and isolationism, but the only response from Sen. Paul’s office has been the hurried removal of embarrassing material from the senator’s website.
That material comprised a recommended reading list for students, whose foreign policy section consisted entirely of books that blame the United States for the rise of Islamic extremism, even attributing the attacks of September 11 to American folly rather than al Qaeda’s murderous ideology.
Some of the authors on the list are outright isolationists, like Pat Buchanan and Rep. Ron Paul, the senator’s father. Some assert that pro-Israel forces secretly manipulate American foreign policy. Some go on at length about the sins of the American “empire.” In short, the list is a complete embarrassment for a senator whoconsistently invokesRonald Reaganas the inspiration for his foreign policy.
To protect his reputation, there was no choice but to disown the list. But where did it come from? How long was it up on Paul’s website before its sudden disappearance? I don’t know, buthis father’s fanshave been praising it for at least a year.
Did Senator Paul compose the list personally? Has he actually read all the books he recommends? Is he willing to share the story behind the list? I don’t know, but perhaps an enterprising journalist will ask him those questions.
For the moment, I’d just like to help out the students who will turn to the senator’s website in search of high-quality summer reading, only to find that its advicenowconsists of the brief admonition, “For Student Assistance, please see the Tour Requests, Page Programs, Internships, and Academy Nominations tabs listed under the 'Services' Tab on the Homepage.”
To fill that void, here is a list of ten books about the past, present and future of American foreign and defense policy which any elected official should be proud to have on their website:
3.Lynne Olson,Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941(2013). A page-turner for those who actually want to understand what isolationism was all about. A New York Times bestseller.
4.E.B. Sledge,With the Old Breed(1981). A Marine’s classic account of the brutality, suffering and courage of Americans in the war against Japan. A primary inspirations for HBO’s mini-series, The Pacific.
5.Sir Max Hastings,The Korean War(1987). A study of the “Forgotten War” by one of the UK’s top military historians and war correspondents.
6.John Lewis Gaddis,We Now Know(1997). The Pulitzer-winning Yale historian explores how documents emerging from Communist archives have reshaped our understanding of the Cold War.
7.Kiron Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson, eds.,Reagan: In His Own Hand(2001). For all those seeking to emulate the Gipper, there’s no better source material than his handwritten letters and essays. Also a New York Times bestseller.
9.Donovan Campbell,Joker One(2009). A Marine lieutenant’s story of his platoon’s frustration and heroism in Iraq. A New York Times bestseller.
10.Robert Kagan,The World America Made(2012). A brief argument for the necessity of American leadership. Kagan is a conservative,yet President Obama has immersed himself in Kagan’s writingon U.S. leadership. Another New York Times bestseller.