June 22, 2014 2:58 PM EDT

Dick Cheney bit back at Sen. Rand Paul’s criticism of his foreign policy stance on Sunday, after Paul responded to the former vice president’s recent editorial accusing President Barack Obama of mishandling Iraq.

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Paul criticized Cheney’s support of the Iraq war and accused its supporters of “emboldening Iran.” On CNN’s State of the Union, Paul also said intervention in Iraq is to blame for its current conflict, the Washington Post reports.

During an appearance on ABC’s This Week, Cheney defended himself.

“If we spend our time debating what happened 11 or 12 years ago, we’re going to miss the threat that is growing and that we do face,” Cheney said. “Rand Paul, with all due respect, is basically an isolationist. He doesn’t believe we ought to be involved in that part of the world. I think it’s absolutely essential.”

Cheney said “there are no good, easy answers in Iraq,” but he argued for an increased military presence in the wake of the expansion of extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which Obama has called a “destabilizing” force in the region.

“What I would do now is, among other things, be realistic about the nature of the threat,” Cheney said. “I’m not sure we’ve really addressed the problem. I would definitely be helping the resistance up in Syria, in ISIS’s back yard, with training and weapons and so forth, in order to be able to do a more effective job on that end of the party.”

[Washington Post]

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Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com.

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