Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul on Sunday warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has a “neoconservative” foreign policy outlook and advocates big-government internationalism.
Mr. Paul, a Kentucky Republican who has a strong libertarian streak and is one of the more isolationist candidates in the Republican presidential field, said Mrs. Clinton’s neoconservative views are the same as those of his rival Marco Rubio.
“I see her as a neoconservative,” Mr. Paul said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“A neoconservative?” said host Jake Tapper.
“I see her and Rubio as being the same person,” Mr. Paul said.
He said Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Rubio both support imposing a no-fly zone over Syria to contain Russian military involvement and both supported the Iraq War, the U.S. intervention that helped topple Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and the arming of rebels to fight Syrian President Bashar Assad.
He said the Iraq and Libya interventions were mistakes that allowed the Islamic State to strengthen its terrorist army.
As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was a chief advocate for the U.S. effort to oust Gadhafi and arm rebels, which ultimately flooded the region with weapons and increased instability in the Middle East that fueled the rise of the Islamic State.
Mr. Paul defined a neoconservative as someone who believes big government is the best answer to domestic and international challenges.
“Many of the big neoconservatives came out of a movement — they were Democrats mostly,” he said. “They were some Marxists and socialists. But they were people who ultimately came to believe that we needed a big government involved internationally as well. So a neoconservative often is a big-government person for domestic policy and a big-government person for internationalism. And I think, actually, Hillary Clinton fits the bill probably better than any.”
Mr. Paul said Mrs. Clinton is more inclined to go to war than any other 2016 presidential candidate.
“I think she’s also the most likely of all the candidates to get us back involved in another war in the Middle East,” he said.