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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Damon LIllard holds ball as he tries to get past NY Knicks defenders

Goran Dragic scored 31 points, Channing Frye added 25 and the Phoenix Suns used their up-tempo style to recover from a poor start and beat Portland 120-106 Wednesday night and snap the Trail Blazers' 11-game winning streak.

Markieff Morris scored 19 and twin Marcus Morris 15 for the Suns, who wiped out a 16-point second-quarter deficit to hand the Blazers their first loss since Nov. 5 against Houston. Two of Portland's three defeats have come to the Suns, who shot 52 percent from the field behind the speedy Dragic, who was one point shy of his career-high and added 10 assists.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and Damian Lillard scored 16 points for the Blazers, who had also won six straight on the road.

Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said before the game that he wanted to push the pace, adding, "We're not good when we hold the ball." But the Suns looked sluggish early and Portland looked poised to match the third-longest win streak in franchise history.

But then Dragic picked up the pace.

Playing without backcourt mate Eric Bledsoe (bruised shin) for a sixth straight game, Dragic fueled a 40-point second-quarter with a variety of 3-pointers, midrange jumpers and nifty passes for buckets on the fast break. Frye helped by heating up from the outside. Portland turned a 39-23 deficit into a 61-58 halftime lead.

Frye's 3 to start the second half was the beginning of a 10-0 spurt and he hit another 3 to start the fourth quarter as the Suns built a 97-78 lead.

The Blazers would turn out to have no answer. And it comes as no surprise based on the teams' history.

It was Portland's 22nd loss in the past 26 trips to Phoenix, including a loss on opening night. Not even Bledsoe's continued absence could stop the surprising Suns from moving to a game over .500.

After limping through the morning shootaround, Bledsoe had an MRI that Hornacek said "didn't show anything besides what they knew already, which is a contusion." Bledsoe has been sidelined since colliding with teammate P.J. Tucker in practice Nov. 17.

The Blazers haven't had the same uncertainty, starting the same five players all 16 games. And Portland came out with much more energy early, racing to a commanding lead early in the second quarter behind Aldridge's play inside and ex-Sun Robin Lopez's work on the boards.

But the Blazers struggled to contain Dragic. After Lillard struggled to stay in front of him, Nicolas Batum took a turn on Dragic, who added five rebounds and four turnovers as Phoenix set a season-high in points.

NOTES: Hornacek said they plan each game that Bledsoe won't play so they'll be "surprised" when he does. "I thought he'd miss one game or maybe two games. But he's got to be able to push off and if he can't then he doesn't play." . Blazers coach Terry Stotts said there's a simple reason for his team's 3-point shooting success - 42 percent entering the game: "We have five excellent 3-point shooters shooting all of our 3-pointers. It's not far-reaching to think that each one of those guys could shoot 40 percent or better on the season. So is 42 percent sustainable? I think it is." Ex-Suns F Grant Hill attended the game.

Blazers Mo Williams (three points) returned after serving a one-game suspension for his role in a scuffle Saturday against Golden State.

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