Reagan clearly believed in a strong national defense and in "Peace through Strength." He stood up to the Soviet Union, and he led a world that pushed back against Communism.
But Reagan also believed in diplomacy and demonstrated a reasoned approach to our nuclear negotiations with the Soviets. Reagan’s shrewd diplomacy would eventually lessen the nuclear arsenals of both countries.
Perhaps Rand Paul can explain what the point of lessening the nuclear arsenals was, aside from the cost savings, considering the overwhelming destructive power on both sides.
Reagan certainly wasn't deluded on the subject, but he understood that such negotiations helped keep American liberals and Europe on the right side. It was more about image than substance.
Rand Paul emphasizes that some Republicans accused Reagan of appeasement for meeting with Gorbachev. He forgets however that his father blasted Reagan as a warmonger in his resignation letter from the Republican Party.
"Knowing this administration’s record, I wasn’t surprised by its Libyan disinformation campaign, Israeli-Iranian arms-for-hostages swap, or illegal funding of the Contras," Ron Paul wrote, while blasting Reagan for "indiscriminate military spending" and "an irrational and unconstitutional foreign policy".
While there's always someone to the right of you, Rand Paul might acknowledge that Reagan was largely criticized for being too aggressive, not for not being aggressive enough.
Rand Paul writes, in a likely dig at Cruz, "I will remind anyone who thinks we will win elections by trashing previous Republican nominees or holding oneself out as some paragon in the mold of Reagan, that splintering the party is not the route to victory."
That's funny considering that minus the Reagan part, this was his father's entire election campaign. Over and over again.
There is a time for military action, such as after 9/11. There is a time for diplomacy and the strategic use of soft power, such as now with Russia. Diplomacy requires resolve but also thoughtfulness and intelligence.
This is something Reagan always knew...
I also greatly admire that Reagan was not rash or reckless with regard to war. Reagan advised potential foreign adversaries not to mistake our reluctance for war for a lack of resolve.
Reagan was willing to negotiate, but he was also willing to use force. As a little reminder of that, Ron Paul criticized Reagan on Libya...
"The U.S. policy toward Libya further confirms our irrational foreign policy. Under Reagan we have been determined to pick a fight with Khadafi, defying him with naval and air maneuvers in the Gulf of Sidra. As we try to emphasize our right to navigate in international waters near Libya, we totally reject the territorial waters of Nicaragua by mining their harbors. The World Court rulings against the U.S. were ignored by the Reagan Administration..."
And on Grenada...
"The invasion of Grenada is hardly the victory the American people were led to believe."
Not to mention Cuba
"Actually, I believe we're at a time where we even ought to talk to Cuba and trade and travel to Cuba."
Suffice it to say, Reagan did not agree.
After Reagan's death, the Paul camp tried to reinvent him as a new Reagan. Considering Ron Paul's foreign policy, the results were awkward at best.
Just about every Republican and Democrat, even Obama, has tried to claim the Reagan mantle, but Reagan's foreign policy was deemed aggressive, interventionist and unconstitutional based on the political stands of the Pauls.