17 June 2011

Neocons and Republican foreign policy

An interesting post at The Desk of Brian suggests that the foreign policy espoused by the Republican party is undergoing changes from within:
Nearly ten years after seizing control of Republican foreign policy, neoconservatives and other hawks appear to be losing it.

That is at least the tentative conclusion of a number of political analysts following Monday’s first nationally televised debate of the party’s declared Republican candidates — none of whom defended the current U.S. engagement in Libya, while several suggested it was time to pare down Washington’s global military engagements, including in Afghanistan.

This sure isn’t the Republican Party of George Bush, [former Vice President] Dick Cheney, and [former Pentagon chief] Donald Rumsfeld,” exulted one liberal commentator, Michael Tomasky, in the Daily Beast. “The neocons are gone.”..

Of particular note during the debate was a comment about Afghanistan by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who is widely acknowledged to be the current front-runner in the Republican field.

“It’s time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can, consistent with the word that comes to our generals that we can hand the country over to the [Afghan] military in a way that they’re able to defend themselves,” Romney said, adding, perhaps fatefully, “I also think we’ve learned that our troops shouldn’t go off and try and fight a war of independence for another nation.”

What precisely he meant by the latter sentence was left unclear, but it was sufficiently negative for one prominent neoconservative, Danielle Pletka, to tell Politico that her inbox had been flooded Tuesday morning with emails calling Romney’s remarks a “disaster.”..

Since the mid-1970′s, Republicans have been divided between aggressive nationalists, like Cheney, and Israel-centered neoconservatives — who also enjoyed the support of the Christian Right — on the one hand, and isolationists and foreign-policy realists on the other. The balance of power between the two groups has shifted more than once in the nearly four decades since...

But the Sep 2008 financial crisis — and the economic distress it caused — laid the groundwork for the resurgence of the party’s realist-isolationist wing, according to political analysts.

“The economic duress is undermining the national greatness project of Bill Kristol and the neocons,” according to Steve Clemons, a national-security expert at the New America Foundation (NAF), whose washingtonnote.com blog is widely read here.

What we are seeing evolve among Republicans is a hybrid realism with some isolationist strains that believes the costs of American intervention in the world at the rate of the last decade simply can’t be sustained,” wrote Clemons...

Just last week, the Pew Research Center released its latest poll on U.S. foreign policy attitudes which found that “the current measure of isolationist sentiment is among the highest recorded” in more than 50 years..."
More at the link.


  1. If Bush were still in office, he would have reacted to the Arab Spring by invading Libya, Yemen, Syria and Egypt.

    His fellow Republicans would be cheering and stomping their feet, saying he doesn't need their approval, but pressing Dems to give it to him or be painted as anti-American surrender monkeys.

    GOP foreign policy is based on the opposite of whatever Obama says. All of a sudden, they are for faster withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan? His plans were painted as radical during the campaign.

  2. Number one, the neocons drove the GOP into the ground, and drove libertarians and classical conservatives from the party. They have had thier way for far too long.

    Second, the term "Isolationist" is a weasel word used to imply that anyone who does not favor aggressive foreign policy (or aggressive protectionism) is somehow wanting to close down all foreign exchange, akin to Japanese Sakoku.

    This is the big lie, proclaimed loudly and often by neocons.Violence is isolating, not peaceful exchange.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...