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A Revealing Reading List

Rand Paul’s book recommendations.

Jul 21, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 42 • By DAVID ADESNIK
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The one work of genuine scholarship on Senator Paul’s foreign policy list is Silent Night, by Stanley Weintraub, an account of the unplanned truce on the Western Front to honor Christmas in December 1914. Although not especially political, Silent Night portrays war as a futile enterprise, in which the machinations of uncaring governments on all sides result in the horrific death of soldier pawns. The author goes so far as to suggest that there was no reason to fear a German victory in the Great War, since “a relatively benign, German-led commonwealth of Europe might have developed decades earlier than the European Community” while sparing Europe the horrors of the Second World War. 

Of course, it would be patently unfair to hold a compiler responsible for every word in every book on a list of recommended reading. Yet Rand Paul should be held responsible for the core message that is repeated again and again by each of his recommended works on foreign policy. According to the New York Times, Paul’s “skepticism of military intervention” has made him the target of “powerful elements of the Republican base who have undertaken a campaign to portray Mr. Paul as dangerously misguided.” While conservative voters may not agree with the Times editorial board on what constitutes being misguided, that adjective seems appropriate for the indoctrination of young minds with the belief that American perfidy is responsible for the mass murder of 9/11 and the continuing loss of innocent lives to al Qaeda and its associates. That misguided notion is already popular on campus. It does not need an advocate in the White House. 

David Adesnik is a visiting fellow at AEI’s Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies.

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