National Security & Defense

Rand Paul: Downed Russian Jet Could Lead to Nuclear War

(File photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Senator Rand Paul thinks that Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet on Tuesday could draw the United States into nuclear war.

“The shooting down of a Russian fighter jet illustrates precisely why we need open lines of communication with Russia and should resist calls from some presidential candidates to isolate ourselves from discussions with our adversaries,” Paul said in a statement released by his presidential campaign.

Paul’s relatively dovish foreign-policy views have left him in a lonely political position of late, as international crises and terrorist attacks created an opening for hawkish rivals such as Senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R., Texas).

But this morning, Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 near the Syrian border, and Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that there would be consequences, leading Paul to argue that aggressive U.S. intervention in the Syrian Civil War would put the country at risk of a full-scale military confrontation with Russia — or worse.

“Those who are calling for a no-fly zone need to realize that shooting down other countries’ fighter jets will be the result and a war between nuclear superpowers a possibility,” Paul said.

— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.

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