Rand Paul on Trip To Russia: "Huge Mistake" For U.S. To Sanction Russian Legislators, Who Are We Supposed To Negotiate With?

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Sen. Rand Paul joins his father on this edition of the 'Ron Paul Liberty Report' to discuss his recent trip to Russia and his attempt to "normalize" relations between the two superpowers.

"The sanctions are actually on their legislature," the Kentucky Republican explained. "So we can't even have communications. What I keep trying to tell [supporters of sanctions] is, even if your whole purpose is to complain about Russia, you can't even complain to them because you're not allowed to talk to them because of the sanctions."

"So I believe it is a huge mistake to have sanctions on their legislators," he also said. "The chairman of their foreign relations committee in the Duma and the Federation Council are both banned from traveling here. I'm trying to get that reversed... If not, I am telling them that I am willing to meet in a neutral third country like Switzerland next year."





SEN. RAND PAUL: We were there for about a week. We were lucky enough to get meetings with their Federation Council, which is like the Senate, the upper body of their parliament, and also members of the Duma, which is like their House. We also had an exciting meeting with Gorbachev. I think a lot of Americans have forgotten that Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev got together despite our differences and the long history of human rights violations by the Soviet Union, we still came together because it was important to try to reduce nuclear weapons and lessen nuclear tensions.

I think people have forgotten about that, it is a good idea to remind them that dialogue is important... Apparently, the U.S. and former U.S.S.R. still have about 90% of the nuclear weapons in the world and I think it is incredibly important to have dialogue...

We're at a point where our dialogue is worse than at any time during the Cold War, which is remarkable that it is this bad.

I think there is a group of people, you know them well, the neoconservatives, who really want to diplomatically isolate us, they really are diplomatic isolationists. They want no conversation, they want only sanctions. And now that they have the sanctions, they are talking about trying to limit any interaction between our oil companies and any oil interests in Russia. Russia sees this as basically, economic warfare.

I think this is a tragic turn because as you have always said, we're less likely to fight with people we trade with, and the less we have trade with Russia, the more likely we are to get into a conflict with Russia...

One of the problems with the sanctions is, the sanctions are actually on their legislature, so we can't even have communications. What I keep trying to tell [supporters of sanctions] is, even if your whole purpose is to complain about Russia, you can't even complain to them because you're not allowed to talk to them because of the sanctions.

So I believe it is a huge mistake to have sanctions on their legislators. The chairman of their foreign relations committee in the Duma and in the Federation Council are both banned from traveling here. I'm trying to get that reversed. If I can get that reversed and we can meet in the U.S., that is good. If not, I am telling them that I am willing to meet in a neutral third country like Switzerland next year.

RON PAUL: Yes, isn't it strange that we, who believe in openness and communication are called "isolationists." At the same time, the people who put on the sanctions and won't talk to people, they're the good guys and pro-American, while we're un-American isolationists.

RAND PAUL: Yes, it is a surprise that in Washington things aren't always what they seem. Kind of the opposite of what the say. The true isolationists are the people who don't want to have any diplomatic exchange with Russia, don't want to trade with Russia, and they're involved in military interventions that cause us to get into conflict around the world.

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