It was also the opening round of a fight that has many more to go in the years leading to the 2016 Republican nomination.
The dueling opinion columns by Perry and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky suggested that the next GOP contest will have all the niceties of a championship bout, particularly when it comes to a subject which has surfaced in the last several Republican nominating contests: foreign policy.
There are two strands of thought. Most of the prospective presidential candidates adhere to the type of muscularly interventionist approach that defined, for good or ill, the George W. Bush administration. For generations that has been the majority GOP view, and one with which the party routinely has clubbed Democrats, including President Obama, as wimps.
Paul has stood largely alone among the possible candidates in his repudiation of that approach, and for that has been cast as a soft-headed isolationist.