While the president “wants to back away from some of the interventions that have been dragging [on] for many, many years,” Paul said there are “different factions in our country” that put up fierce resistance to even the prospect of non-intervention.

If [Trump] does move in this direction, there are neocons here who would get hysterical over it and they do not think that we should give an inch. It is a battle.

In addition to the neocons – who wield a powerful network of influential think tanks and media organizations – Paul pointed to a number of other forces that come together to propel Washington’s lust for war, singling out “pressure from Saudi Arabia” and Israel, as well as arms manufacturers who profit immensely from continued conflicts overseas.

It is difficult because of all the warmongers and people who like to sell weapons – they have to have an enemy and all that nonsense – they believe that they could make a lot of money out of it.

Even with the president’s “favorable” foreign policy instincts, his decisions have been erratic under the influence of the Washington establishment, Paul said, citing Trump’s premature Syria withdrawal announcement, which has largely been reversed since it was made in October for the sake of defending oil fields.

“That is a confusing and unpredictable position,” Paul said. “I would like him to stick to his guns when he says that it is time to leave Syria and for us to just leave.”

On Afghanistan, too, the president’s rhetoric has been encouraging for those seeking an end to America’s longest war – stuck in mission creep for nearly two decades – but beyond mere lip service, his policies there have ultimately served the hawks.

“He talked about leaving Afghanistan – so often his talk does not match his actions, and his actions are what is important,” Paul said. “We are still building up our forces over there.”

Talks with the Taliban resumed last week after President Trump scrapped nearly a year of negotiations with the group in September, perhaps the closest the United States ever came to finally ending the conflict. The fresh round of talks was announced just as a trove of internal government documents were published in a report at the Washington Post, detailing how senior officials spun lies and falsehoods about the war for years, at times even fabricating data to suggest “victory” was within reach.

Insisting the United States can no longer be a “global policeman,” threatening the rest of the planet with everything from sanctions to drone strikes, Paul called for a clean break in foreign policy thinking in Washington and urged for a total withdrawal of American soldiers from the Middle East.

“So our position is: stay out of it, there is nothing to be gained and nobody from that part of the world is going to come and bomb or attack us, so we do not see any benefit in staying there,” he said.

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