04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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(CNN) -- What do NSA leaker Edward Snowden and a red panda at the National Zoo in Washington have in common? Absolutely nothing. Except that both mysteriously vanished. And both were the subjects of high-profile searches -- at least for a little while, in the case of the panda.

But a little while was all Twitter needed to engage in a flurry of jokes, including the creation of several parody accounts for Rusty, the red panda.

There were a few, tenuous parallels.

Both are male. Both are relatively young -- Rusty is 1, Snowden is 28. And both have connections to China: Red pandas are native to southwestern China while Snowden recently traveled to Hong Kong, off southeastern China.

OK, perhaps that last one is a bit of a stretch. But social media transcends all boundaries.

@InvisibleObama tweeted, "Somewhere, Edward Snowden is stroking a Red Panda laughing at us all."

@BCAppelbaum posted, "Since China won't hold on to Snowden, we're going to start releasing panda bears."

First reported missing at 8 a.m. Monday, Rusty was finally captured around 2:30 p.m. about a mile away from his enclosure, zoo officials posted to Facebook.

The zoo had tweeted several facts about Rusty, warning zoo visitors that he is still a wild animal and would bite if cornered or scared. The search began inside the zoo since red pandas are known to be territorial.

For at least a few hours, Rusty's whereabouts proved as intriguing to many as Edward Snowden's.

Snowden made news recently for releasing information about secret surveillance programs conducted by the National Security Administration. He initially fled to Hong Kong. Russian officials confirmed he had flown to Moscow over the weekend. Although WikiLeaks claims to know his exact location, no one else seems sure. His reserved seat aboard a plane to Cuba was reportedly empty.

The United States has publicly announced it is seeking to extradite Snowden on charges of espionage and theft of government property. No such announcement was made regarding Rusty.

"Operation Rusty: Washington engages in another frantic search," read the headline to the Washington Wire post.

"Now Putin has a Super Bowl ring, Ed Snowden AND a red panda," tweeted @MicahGrimes. Putin has been accused by the owner of the New England Patriots of taking his Super Bowl ring during a visit.

Although parody accounts have come under fire recently as being unnecessary and lacking humor, @RustyThePanda was undeterred. "Is there bamboo in Ecuador?" it asked. Its Twitter bio also included being a fan of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Snowden story. Greenwald, presumably busy with other things, had not tweeted anything panda-related at the time of this writing.

Some tweets appeared to confuse red pandas with the black-and-white giant pandas, also called panda bears. Red pandas look more like a cross between a raccoon and a small fox. Both enjoy a good meal of bamboo, however.

This isn't the first escaped zoo animal to inspire an attention-getting parody account. In 2011 @BronxZoosCobra chronicled the seven-day imagined adventures of the escaped snake. That account amassed 187,533 followers and still tweets. In response to Rusty's escape it on Monday it posted, "I have an alibi!"

The @NationalZoo account thanked its fans on Twitter and Facebook for helping recover Rusty. No word if @BarackObama will do the same when Snowden is officially located.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


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