Cutting through the noise and chatter that has become a characteristic feature of American political life in the age of social media can prove to be a difficult task if one is not astute. As a young American living abroad (25-years old) in the United Kingdom for the past four years, and being able to see the country transform over that time, I was able to see two different perspectives simultaneously: the domestic, via my family, friends and social media, and the foreign through the lens of both the British media and other people from countless European countries I interact with daily.
This has given me the ability to examine the political discord from a distance while being informed on what the prevailing narrative is back home.
As a registered voter in Kentucky, one thing I have noticed from abroad is the increasing prevalence of Senator Rand Paul in the international affairs. In the lead up to the twin American and British attacks on Syria in 2017 and 2018, for alleged chemical weapons use, one of the only dissenting voices amid the cries for war against Syria, was that of Senator Paul.
As a concerned citizen abroad, I am more exposed to the blunders and missteps of American foreign policy as Europe deals with the immediate fallout from US actions in the Middle East and North Africa – like the refugee crisis that has destabilized the European Union.
Whenever there is a bellicose drive for war, knowing Senator Paul’s track record for anti-intervention, I do my part by reaching out to his offices in Kentucky or Washington to voice my concerns.
Each time I was pleased to see him take up the voice of calm amid the rabid windstorm, not only taking up a moral argument against American involvement in the quagmire, but also calling into question the legality of the president’s authority to order strikes against a country that the United States is not at war with. The second time, Senator Paul was even joined by Bernie Sanders.
But his actions are not just limited to speaking out against illegal strikes on a sovereign nation, Senator Paul has quickly taken up the banner as one of the senior members of the Republican Party. He has thrust himself to the forefront of the anti-war movement in the country and has called for a return to diplomacy to resolve our conflicts.
From my perspective, one of the most impressive initiatives Rand has taken up is his questioning of the Russiagate narrative and anti-Russian hysteria. He even went so far as to make a diplomatic trip to Moscow to meet with his counterparts in the Russian Duma. He delivered a letter from President Trump to his counterpart President Putin, and even extended an invitation for open dialogue by inviting a Russian diplomatic delegation to the United States.
For this he was excoriated by the media and as well as Russia-hawks in Congress, who went as far as to suggest that he was committing some act of subversion against the country.
While not going so far as to exonerate or even suggest any kind of innocence on the part of the Russian state, Senator Paul recognizes the need for dialogue amid the threat of direct military confrontation with Russia on several fronts such as Syria and Ukraine.
The threat of inaction in the sea of this current iteration of the Red Scare, might carry dire consequences. Paul has recognized the importance of his role and has began asserting that role in the face of overwhelming opposition domestically.
As someone living in the crosshairs of Russian nuclear missiles in Europe, I am admittedly more concerned now than I would be if I were still living in the States. I am constantly exposed to the sensationalized British media fears of nuclear war, so it is encouraging to hear that of the many senators jostling for the ear of President Trump, between the perennial warmongering Lindsey Graham, (who was quoted as saying about a potential war with North Korea “If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here”) and Rand Paul (who rightfully criticized, and in my opinion out-argued, Senator Graham on his position in support of the indefinite detention of Americans abroad), it is the voice of Senator Paul that is winning Trump’s attention. .
Without the constant partisan noise that most Americans are pummeled by daily, Rand Paul has been a source of pride for me as I glance back at my home state of Kentucky.