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The GOP’s Next Problem

by coldwarrior ( 42 Comments › )
Filed under Special Report at January 11th, 2013 - 5:53 pm

An interesting analysis. the comments at the end are also worth some time to review.

 

READ THE WHOLE ESSAY HERE.

 

How to Fix the GOP’s Foreign-Policy Problem

Republicans will lose wars and elections alike until they stop treating world affairs as an arena for ideology.

 

Dan Drezner has written a valuable essay for Foreign Affairs on the need to repair Republican foreign policy thinking. He argues that Republican credibility on foreign policy has been badly damaged by the party’s fixation on the “war on terror,” the tendency to hype and inflate threats, its refusal to come to grips with complexity in international affairs, and a bad habit of treating foreign policy issues as extensions of domestic political and cultural fights. Here is the core of his thesis:

Since 9/11, however, Republicans have known only one big thing — the “global war on terror” — and have remained stubbornly committed to a narrow militarized approach. Since the fall of Baghdad, moreover, this approach has produced at least as much failure as success, leading the American public to be increasingly skeptical of the bellicosity that now defines the party’s foreign policy.

Republicans need to start taking international relations more seriously, addressing the true complexities and requirements of the issues rather than allowing the subject to be a plaything for right-wing interest groups. And if they don’t act quickly, they might cede this ground to the Democrats for the next generation.

The essay is mostly a diagnosis of the party’s ailments and a recounting of how it came to be in its current predicament, but there are some suggestions for how Republicans might start to climb out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves. As the things that created the Republican advantage on foreign policy have gradually disappeared or been abandoned, not surprisingly the advantage has vanished along with them. That is why there is now a good chance that the Democrats’ newfound edge on these issues may be an enduring one.

The three main things that Drezner believes went wrong with the GOP on foreign policy can be summed up as excessive militarization of foreign policy, insufficient flexibility in responding and adapting to events and changing circumstances, and a lack of specialized knowledge among the party’s would-be political leaders. To correct these imbalances, Drezner urges Republicans to start “relearning flexibility and nuance,” employing a wider range of foreign policy tools, and scaling back their bellicose rhetoric (which, Drezner notes, is the only thing that the party can fully control while it is out of power). Most important, he writes that “Republican politicians need to start caring about foreign policy because it is important, not because it is a cheap way to rally their supporters.”

Drezner’s recommendations are good ones, and some of them can be put into practice fairly easily if Republican elites are willing to follow this advice. While the party out of power has some short-term incentives to engage in cheap demagoguery and threat inflation in order to embarrass the incumbent, these things erode the party’s credibility with the public and with foreign policy professionals over time. They ultimately make it harder for the party to hold office and influence policymaking, and they virtually guarantee that the party’s time in the wilderness will be longer than it otherwise has to be.

Unfortunately for the party, many of the people most interested in foreign policy end to favor the very absolutist, hard-line, and demagogic arguments that do the party’s reputation and its ability to conduct foreign policy competently the most harm. In other words, many of the Republicans that believe foreign policy is important have also been the ones inflicting much of the damage on the party. One way for Republicans to start remedying this is for the party’s younger elected officials to realize that foreign policy is too important to be left to the enthusiasts and ideologues and to make the effort to understand these issues on their own.

Reducing the triumphalist and bellicose rhetoric is the easiest repair to make, and that in turn should reduce threat-inflating arguments, since these rely heavily on rhetorical excess. Relearning flexibility and nuance will be much more difficult, because there is a built-in antagonism to both concepts in contemporary movement conservatism. That is part of the detritus left behind from the Bush-era GOP’s disastrous attachment to the Iraq war and Bush’s “freedom agenda,” both of which Republican hawks defended in absolutist, moralizing terms while treating the words flexibility and nuance as terms of abuse. Undoing the distortions of the Bush era will begin when most Republicans stop treating the resort to coercive policies as evidence of “moral clarity” and a preference for diplomacy as evidence that one “lacks a moral compass.” Until that starts to change, advocates for flexibility and nuance will continue to be ridiculed as appeasers.

One of the larger obstacles to repairing Republican foreign policy thinking is that the party has had little else to offer its voters other than its candidates’ assertions of national greatness, which makes it more difficult to give up on aggressive and hard-line policies and exorbitant spending on the military that are supposedly dedicated to advancing that greatness. As Noah Millman said in late 2011, “foreign policy, at least on the GOP side, is now basically a branch of the culture war: a way of convincing the white working class to support a party that is not pursuing their economic interests by flattering them with the implication that, in the memorable words of Edward Wilson, they’ve got the United States of America.” Especially because conservatives have been losing the culture war at home, the temptation to continue treating foreign policy issues as culture war battles will likely grow, and as a result there will be even less interest in flexibility and nuance than before.

The initial reaction to Chuck Hagel’s nomination from many movement conservatives and elected Republicans suggests that there is not much more room inside the party for deviations from hard-line positions than there was five or ten years ago. The natural response to such a stifling environment has been for people to abandon the party, which is one reason why Hagel will be serving in a Democratic administration rather than in a Republican one. If the party’s hawks do not make substantial room for the ideas of the skeptics, realists, and non-interventionists that they have spent the last decade condemning, the GOP will keep losing supporters it already has as well as alienating new voters for years and perhaps decades to come.

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42 Responses to “The GOP’s Next Problem”
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  1. Mars
    1 | January 11, 2013 6:02 pm

    “relearning flexibility and nuance,”

    The initial reaction to Chuck Hagel’s nomination from many movement conservatives and elected Republicans suggests that there is not much more room inside the party for deviations from hard-line positions than there was five or ten years ago. The natural response to such a stifling environment has been for people to abandon the party, which is one reason why Hagel will be serving in a Democratic administration rather than in a Republican one. If the party’s hawks do not make substantial room for the ideas of the skeptics, realists, and non-interventionists that they have spent the last decade condemning, the GOP will keep losing supporters it already has as well as alienating new voters for years and perhaps decades to come.

    Another Israel hating liberal. Why am I not surprised. This article is worse than the smell at the bottom of the cesspool.

    When Republicans are in office we have the support of our allies and generally the fear of our enemies. Nuance gets people killed at home and abroad.

    We have a “nuanced” president. It’s doing us so much good isn’t it?


  2. Mars
    2 | January 11, 2013 6:08 pm

    Our current complainer in chief has utilized exactly what this article calls for. What has it gained? We have offended and alienated almost all of our allies. We are an embarrassment on the world stage. We receive the acclaim and love of Dinnerjacket, Chavez, and Castro.


  3. Mars
    3 | January 11, 2013 6:11 pm

    Under both president bushes, no matter how incompetent or progressive they were we were able to bring together coalitions of most of the free countries in the world. Our enemies hated us and said nothing good about us, our allies knew we supported their goals and general freedom.

    Under Klinton we worked with an organization that hates us in order to support our enemies in an illegal and undeclared war.

    Under the Won we have offended Great Britian at every turn, have denigrated people who share our belief in freedom and have empowered, supported, and agreed with those who would see this country fall.


  4. Mars
    4 | January 11, 2013 6:23 pm

    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2012/01/laughingstock-of-the-world.html
    Last year.

    “Obama’s letter has several parts. Part of it is about this, (namely) that using international waterways is the right of all countries and all should benefit from them. And in this letter, he has described it as the United States’ red line.”

    “In the letter, Obama has mentioned cooperation and negotiation based on the interests of the two countries,” Ebrahimi, who is the deputy chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told the Nasimonline news website.

    “He has stated in the letter that they will not take any hostile action against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added.

    “relearning flexibility and nuance,”

    Nuance!


  5. eaglesoars
    5 | January 11, 2013 6:25 pm

    What utter crap.


  6. Mars
    6 | January 11, 2013 6:27 pm

    http://www.westernjournalism.com/obamas-giveaway-oil-rich-islands-to-russia/

    Last year.

    Part of Obama’s apparent war against U.S. energy independence includes a foreign-aid program that directly threatens my state’s sovereign territory. Obama’s State Department is giving away seven strategic, resource-laden Alaskan islands to the Russians.

    Drill here, drill now, just not us.

    NUANCE!


  7. yenta-fada
    7 | January 11, 2013 6:33 pm

    eaglesoars wrote:

    What utter crap.

    “Foreign Affairs” is the journal for the Council on Foreign Relations.
    That group IS one of the global elitist policy groups that wants international World Government.

    Explains a lot about their point of view. They ARE Agenda 21, along with a bunch of other groups of DIGNITARIES.


  8. yenta-fada
    8 | January 11, 2013 6:36 pm

    @ yenta-fada:

    You don’t need a tin foil hat to look up the members who are on the Council On Foreign Relations. I hope I have that name accurately.
    There is also the Trilateral Commission, the Bilder-cheese-burgers, and a bunch of other movers and shakers attached to the media, the Governments, and the International Monetary organizations. It’s not all happening by accident. These people know each other and are insiders in almost every area of modern life.


  9. Mars
    9 | January 11, 2013 6:39 pm

    http://usamericanfreedom.com/2012/01/16/harry-reid-republicans-need-to-ditch-the-tea-party-extremism/

    Here’s another guy with ideas on how to help our party. Maybe we should listen to him?

    NUANCE!


  10. yenta-fada
    10 | January 11, 2013 6:41 pm

    @ yenta-fada:

    Tim Geithner, the outgoing Secy of the Treasury used to work for the IMF or the World Bank, as well as Goldman Sachs. It’s no accident that Susan Rice is the daughter of a Federal Reserve Governor and ended up at the UN. These people and their families go to school together, marry into each other’s families, know the CORRECT people to get the power they attain. I don’t call it a conspiracy, but an international club of insiders who are above the laws they make for other people.


  11. yenta-fada
    11 | January 11, 2013 6:42 pm

    Mars wrote:

    http://usamericanfreedom.com/2012/01/16/harry-reid-republicans-need-to-ditch-the-tea-party-extremism/
    Here’s another guy with ideas on how to help our party. Maybe we should listen to him?
    NUANCE!

    I’m glad I’m talking to somebody. I was about to change my name to “Lily”. lol


  12. yenta-fada
    12 | January 11, 2013 6:43 pm

    Mars wrote:

    http://usamericanfreedom.com/2012/01/16/harry-reid-republicans-need-to-ditch-the-tea-party-extremism/
    Here’s another guy with ideas on how to help our party. Maybe we should listen to him?
    NUANCE!

    Harry Reid got exemptions from Obamacare for his constituents. I’ll look around for my link.


  13. Mars
    13 | January 11, 2013 6:52 pm

    yenta-fada wrote:

    @ yenta-fada:
    Tim Geithner, the outgoing Secy of the Treasury used to work for the IMF or the World Bank, as well as Goldman Sachs. It’s no accident that Susan Rice is the daughter of a Federal Reserve Governor and ended up at the UN. These people and their families go to school together, marry into each other’s families, know the CORRECT people to get the power they attain. I don’t call it a conspiracy, but an international club of insiders who are above the laws they make for other people.

    Let’s not forget that we have Jarrett/Jarrett/Davis/al-Monsour/Sutton/Khalidi/Rezko/Ayers/Obama/Saudi connections too. Libs love these huge inbred setups.


  14. Mars
    14 | January 11, 2013 6:57 pm

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324081704578234010962821032.html

    By this week, the elites were calling for a gun-control agenda unmatched in modern times. The closing of the gun-show “loophole”? Restrictions on large-capacity clips? An “assault weapons” ban? They want all that, plus a national gun database, and a background check for every gun sale, and similar checks for ammunition sales, and regulation of Internet transactions, and Michael Bloomberg crowned emperor. (A position for which Mr. Bloomberg no doubt believes himself suited.) The media have reported all this as rational, reasonable and doable.

    Lol


  15. 15 | January 11, 2013 6:58 pm

    @ Mars:

    at PJTV they Israel’s foreign ministry head on for an interview, and his statement went something like this, they can not understand why we hear in America would believe that Hagel hates Israel.

    He may, or may not, but the Israelis that I’ve heard talking, and mostly from Israel’s conservatives by the way, seem to be cool with it. Remember that the rap on Nixon was that he was an anti-Semite, and he was the guy who formalized Israel’s official status as an ally, against by the way the advice of his Jewish National Security Adviser.


  16. yenta-fada
    16 | January 11, 2013 6:59 pm

    This site is just too long for my computer to go through properly. There are a wild number of exemptions to Zerocare.

    http://www.thedailysheeple.com/if-obamacare-is-so-great-why-the-waivers-for-unions-mega-insurance-companies_072012


  17. yenta-fada
    17 | January 11, 2013 7:15 pm

    Mars wrote:

    yenta-fada wrote:
    @ yenta-fada:
    Tim Geithner, the outgoing Secy of the Treasury used to work for the IMF or the World Bank, as well as Goldman Sachs. It’s no accident that Susan Rice is the daughter of a Federal Reserve Governor and ended up at the UN. These people and their families go to school together, marry into each other’s families, know the CORRECT people to get the power they attain. I don’t call it a conspiracy, but an international club of insiders who are above the laws they make for other people.
    Let’s not forget that we have Jarrett/Jarrett/Davis/al-Monsour/Sutton/Khalidi/Rezko/Ayers/Obama/Saudi connections too. Libs love these huge inbred setups.

    As Rodan always points out, there is a real leftist/Islamist alliance. That starts at the top, from all these indications. As tfk pointed out today, it also takes place with the drug cartels and Islamic radical groups. It’s all business, and it crosses borders everywhere. Money travels around the world in a second.


  18. yenta-fada
    18 | January 11, 2013 7:20 pm

    Flyovercountry wrote:

    @ Mars:
    at PJTV they Israel’s foreign ministry head on for an interview, and his statement went something like this, they can not understand why we hear in America would believe that Hagel hates Israel.
    He may, or may not, but the Israelis that I’ve heard talking, and mostly from Israel’s conservatives by the way, seem to be cool with it. Remember that the rap on Nixon was that he was an anti-Semite, and he was the guy who formalized Israel’s official status as an ally, against by the way the advice of his Jewish National Security Adviser.

    This is from Debka, BUT you cannot ignore internal politics & posturing before a close election.

    “• Right-of-center bloc gaining 12 days before Israeli vote
    Less than two weeks before the Jan. 22 general election, the 120 Knesset seats divide roughly between 71 seats for the right-of-center plus religious parties bloc versus 49 for the left-of-center factions plus Arab parties, according to a new opinion poll broadcast by Kol Israel national radio Thursday.
    Nettanyahu’s Likud-Israel Beitenu is shown to be lleveling out of its decline with the prospect of 34-35 seats. It is followed by Labor under Shelly Yacimovitch steady at 17; Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi with 14+ ; the ultra-Orthodox Shas dropping to 9 – level with rising Yair Lapid’s new Future; and Tzipi Livni’s Hatenua down to 7 -- matched by the second ultra-Orthodox Torah Judaism party.
    The former ruling Kadima and right-wing Otzma are both down to two mandates each and battling for the threshold minimum of three. Left-wing Meretz may expect four seats while the Arab parties are stable at a total of ten.”


  19. yenta-fada
    19 | January 11, 2013 7:20 pm

    There’s definitely an echo in here, and it’s me. /


  20. lobo91
    20 | January 11, 2013 7:26 pm

    @ yenta-fada:

    Geithner was also the head of the NY Fed during the financial meltdown.

    Which explains the promotion, obviously.
    //


  21. Mars
    21 | January 11, 2013 7:31 pm

    The O admin is run just like old mafia Chicago. Everything is about paying people back for favors done. Or granting favors in exchange for other favors.


  22. yenta-fada
    22 | January 11, 2013 7:50 pm

    Mars wrote:

    The O admin is run just like old mafia Chicago. Everything is about paying people back for favors done. Or granting favors in exchange for other favors.

    Like this? :-)

    By Lisa Myers and Mike Brunker
    NBC News
    Two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents “facilitated a sexual encounter” between a prostitute and a U.S. Secret Service agent days before President Barack Obama visited Colombia for a summit meeting in April 2012, according to a Justice Department investigation obtained exclusively by NBC News.

    A summary of the findings of the investigation, included in a Dec. 20 letter from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General to Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins, indicated that a third DEA agent present on the night of the incident was not involved in procuring the prostitute for the Secret Service agent.


  23. coldwarrior
    23 | January 11, 2013 7:53 pm

    @ Mars:

    you missed the point.

    If the party’s hawks do not make substantial room for the ideas of the skeptics, realists, and non-interventionists that they have spent the last decade condemning, the GOP will keep losing supporters it already has as well as alienating new voters for years and perhaps decades to come.

    frankly, the bush nation building never ending quest for democracy is crap that gets american gi’s killed, for what?

    i am a jacksonian realist. and if i go to war i want utter destruction of the enemy, not coddling and rebuilding. and there better damn well be a great reason that war is in our national interest. the war in afghanistan hasnt been in our national interest for years now. and iraq? wtf is that? we got USED like lackies to settle old scores now the christians are driven out and iraq is falling into the hands of the radical islamists. how is that good for america?

    the gop foreign policy is a joke. nation building is a failure and spreading democracy to those who neither want it or deserve it is a fools errand.

    destroy the enemy and leave with the threat that if they act up again we will exterminate their entire country. hows that for nuance?


  24. Mars
    24 | January 11, 2013 7:54 pm

    yenta-fada wrote:

    Mars wrote:
    The O admin is run just like old mafia Chicago. Everything is about paying people back for favors done. Or granting favors in exchange for other favors.
    Like this?
    By Lisa Myers and Mike Brunker
    NBC News
    Two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents “facilitated a sexual encounter” between a prostitute and a U.S. Secret Service agent days before President Barack Obama visited Colombia for a summit meeting in April 2012, according to a Justice Department investigation obtained exclusively by NBC News.
    A summary of the findings of the investigation, included in a Dec. 20 letter from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General to Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins, indicated that a third DEA agent present on the night of the incident was not involved in procuring the prostitute for the Secret Service agent.

    Yep, that’s at least part of it.


  25. yenta-fada
    25 | January 11, 2013 7:54 pm

    Mars wrote:

    The O admin is run just like old mafia Chicago. Everything is about paying people back for favors done. Or granting favors in exchange for other favors.

    You know what I don’t understand? How is it sane to remain unaware of the possible consequences of messing around with radicals who own nuclear weapons? Do they think they won’t have to drink the water and breathe the air if things go out of control?


  26. lobo91
    26 | January 11, 2013 7:54 pm

    Hurry and ban knives!

    DOJ Report: Youths 6 Times More Likely To Be Victimized By A Knife Than A Gun

    A new Justice Department study looking at violent crimes committed against “youth”—defined as Americans from 12 to 17 years of age—discovered that the rate of “serious violent crime” committed against youth by a perpetrator using a firearm dropped 95 percent from 1994 to 2010.

    The study—“Violent Crime Against Youth, 1994-2010”–also discovered that American youth who were victims of a serious violent crime in 2010 were six times more likely to have been attacked by a perpetrator wielding a knife than one wielding a gun.

    Serious violent crimes against youth perpetrated at schools dropped 62 percent from 1994 to 2010, said the study, and students were less likely to become victims of a serious violent crime at school than they were away from school. In 2010, 6.6 out of every 1,000 youth became victims of a serious violent crime at school while 7.4 of every 1,000 became victims of a serious violent crime away from school.


  27. Mars
    27 | January 11, 2013 7:56 pm

    coldwarrior wrote:

    @ Mars:
    you missed the point.

    If the party’s hawks do not make substantial room for the ideas of the skeptics, realists, and non-interventionists that they have spent the last decade condemning, the GOP will keep losing supporters it already has as well as alienating new voters for years and perhaps decades to come.
    frankly, the bush nation building never ending quest for democracy is crap that gets american gi’s killed, for what?
    i am a jacksonian realist. and if i go to war i want utter destruction of the enemy, not coddling and rebuilding. and there better damn well be a great reason that war is in our national interest. the war in afghanistan hasnt been in our national interest for years now. and iraq? wtf is that? we got USED like lackies to settle old scores now the christians are driven out and iraq is falling into the hands of the radical islamists. how is that good for america?
    the gop foreign policy is a joke. nation building is a failure and spreading democracy to those who neither want it or deserve it is a fools errand.
    destroy the enemy and leave with the threat that if they act up again we will exterminate their entire country. hows that for nuance?

    I love how you always say I missed the point. Then you single out one tiny little bit of logic in a steaming pile of shit and try to say that’s the point. Bullshit. That wasn’t the point of the article and you’re fooling yourself if you think it was.

    Read everyone else, I’m not the only one. I singled out the actual point of the article. You’re looking for the pony in a stocking full of horse crap.


  28. Mars
    28 | January 11, 2013 7:57 pm

    yenta-fada wrote:

    Mars wrote:
    The O admin is run just like old mafia Chicago. Everything is about paying people back for favors done. Or granting favors in exchange for other favors.
    You know what I don’t understand? How is it sane to remain unaware of the possible consequences of messing around with radicals who own nuclear weapons? Do they think they won’t have to drink the water and breathe the air if things go out of control?

    They could care less, they are too cool and too hip to even consider that anyone would do this to them. They are just too well liked by our enemies for this to possibly happen.


  29. lobo91
    29 | January 11, 2013 8:00 pm

    @ Mars:

    They could care less, they are too cool and too hip to even consider that anyone would do this to them. They are just too well liked by our enemies for this to possibly happen.

    Remember after 9/11 when Michael Moore complained about al Qaeda’s choice of target, since nobody in NYC even voted for Bush?


  30. Mars
    30 | January 11, 2013 8:02 pm

    Don’t get me wrong ColdWarrior. I’m not disagreeing with what you said in your comment. You are exactly right. But, that has nothing to do with the article you posted. This is just another crap article by a liberal giving us the “secret” to saving the GOP by becoming them.

    Look at the examples I posted. The one mistake both Bushes made in those examples, they didn’t fight to win. Too much hearts and minds crap. Destroy your enemy and ensure they no longer have the capacity to wage war against us.

    The author of the article makes it perfectly clear that in his world there is all happiness and rainbows. We need to see more grey areas and less black and white.

    I would say our problem is the opposite. We try too damn hard to see the good in our enemies and we don’t draw the line between good and evil clear enough. There is nothing to be saved in the ME. If we must go to war with them, ensure that they don’t have the capability to act up for another hundred years or more.


  31. Mars
    31 | January 11, 2013 8:03 pm

    lobo91 wrote:

    @ Mars:
    They could care less, they are too cool and too hip to even consider that anyone would do this to them. They are just too well liked by our enemies for this to possibly happen.
    Remember after 9/11 when Michael Moore complained about al Qaeda’s choice of target, since nobody in NYC even voted for Bush?

    Yep, that’s actually the crap they believe. They also fail to recognize that it’s the liberals own total lack of morals and Hollywood lifestyles that the Muzz use as justification on why to hate the US.


  32. Mars
    32 | January 11, 2013 8:06 pm

    http://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2012/01/federal-serfdom-and-food-freedom/

    Read the dem response here and tell me what exactly they have to offer us?


  33. coldwarrior
    33 | January 11, 2013 8:11 pm

    @ Mars:

    lets go to the actual essay itself:

    BUILDING THE BRAND

    Republican presidents from the 1950s through the early 1990s had variegated records, but they had one thing in common: they left behind favorable legacies on foreign policy. Eisenhower stabilized the rivalry with the Soviet Union, preventing it from escalating into a violent conflagration. He dramatically improved the U.S. foreign-policy-making process, strengthened domestic infrastructure, extricated the United States from the Korean War, and limited U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Nixon improved relations with the Soviet Union, opened relations with China, and extricated the United States from Vietnam. Reagan spoke truth to power by railing against the Soviet Union as an “evil empire,” but when faced with a genuine negotiating partner in Mikhail Gorbachev, he did not hesitate to sign numerous treaties, reduce Cold War tensions, and cut nuclear stockpiles. George H. W. Bush adroitly seized the opportunities afforded by the end of the Cold War to expand the West’s liberal order to the world at large, as well as overseeing German reunification, rebuffing Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and locking in Mexico’s path toward economic liberalization.

    Each president built his reputation as a foreign policy hawk, and none was afraid to talk tough or act forcefully when dealing with adversaries. But the key to their success was the ability to combine principled beliefs at the strategic level with prudence and flexibility at the tactical level. Eisenhower took great care to prevent small crises from distracting the United States from its main goal of containing the Soviet Union. Nixon built his political career on anticommunism but recognized the strategic advantage of opening relations with Maoist China. Reagan talked tough on terrorism, but after 241 U.S. marines were killed in a suicide attack in Beirut, he did not hesitate to draw down U.S. forces from a peripheral conflict in Lebanon. And rather than do a sack dance at the end of the Cold War, Bush 41 took care to respond tactfully and nimbly, pocketing and building on an extraordinary strategic windfall.

    TOWARD 2016

    The Republican Party has a long and distinguished foreign policy lineage that currently lies in tatters. The ghosts of Iraq haunt the GOP’s foreign policy mandarins, and the antics of right-wing pundits and politicians have further delegitimized the party. As a result, the GOP has frittered away a partisan advantage in foreign policy and national security that took half a century to accumulate.

    Absent an Obama foreign policy fiasco — a real one that commands the country’s attention, not the sort of trumped-up ones that resonate only on Fox News and in the fever swamps of the Republican base — the only way to repair the damage will be for the GOP to take foreign policy seriously again, in Congress and in the 2016 election. This does not mean railing against the isolationists in the party; in truth, their numbers are small. Nor does it mean purging the neoconservatives or any other ideological faction; no group has a lock on sense or wisdom, and there will and should be vigorous policy debate within both parties.

    Rather, it means rejecting the ideological absolutism that has consumed the GOP’s foreign policy rhetoric in recent years. It means recognizing that foreign policy has nonmilitary dimensions as well as military ones. And it means focusing on the threats and priorities that matter, rather than hyping every picayune concern. Most of all, it means that Republican politicians need to start caring about foreign policy because it is important, not because it is a cheap way to rally their supporters. The GOP has a venerated tradition of foreign policy competence; it is long past time to discover that tradition anew.

    it is as i said an interesting analysis, something to think about.


  34. yenta-fada
    34 | January 11, 2013 8:13 pm

    @ coldwarrior:

    I’ve been saving this classic for you.


  35. coldwarrior
    35 | January 11, 2013 8:13 pm

    @ Mars:

    the actual essay is worth the read.


  36. coldwarrior
    36 | January 11, 2013 8:14 pm

    @ yenta-fada:

    a classic indeed.


  37. Mars
    37 | January 11, 2013 8:17 pm

    Rather, it means rejecting the ideological absolutism that has consumed the GOP’s foreign policy rhetoric in recent years. It means recognizing that foreign policy has nonmilitary dimensions as well as military ones. And it means focusing on the threats and priorities that matter, rather than hyping every picayune concern. Most of all, it means that Republican politicians need to start caring about foreign policy because it is important, not because it is a cheap way to rally their supporters. The GOP has a venerated tradition of foreign policy competence; it is long past time to discover that tradition anew.

    That’s an awful small pony to ride.

    The rest of the article is the same old hate that I read and see every day in the media. Finishing the article by trying to sound reasonable doesn’t repair the discredit the author did to himself with the parts I’ve already quoted, plus this gem of sterling decency.

    Absent an Obama foreign policy fiasco — a real one that commands the country’s attention, not the sort of trumped-up ones that resonate only on Fox News and in the fever swamps of the Republican base —

    If this author truly believes that O is a great foreign policy genius and hasn’t had any fiascoes, then frankly the discussion is over.


  38. yenta-fada
    38 | January 11, 2013 8:17 pm

    coldwarrior wrote:

    @ yenta-fada:
    a classic indeed.

    Timely. :-) bbl


  39. coldwarrior
    39 | January 11, 2013 8:19 pm

    @ Mars:

    just because your political foes point something out does not mean they are wrong. that is why i always post these sorts of articles that go against the grain of the blog. gets people thinking, shakes the trees a little.


  40. Mars
    40 | January 11, 2013 8:20 pm

    coldwarrior wrote:

    @ Mars:
    the actual essay is worth the read.

    I would recommend a different section of the article for the excerpt above then. The section you put up did not say anything that you wanted to say. Anyone who based their perception on the excerpt you provided would have the same reaction I did, and would not have any interest in further pursuing anything else in the article.


  41. Mars
    41 | January 11, 2013 8:40 pm

    This past fall was not kind to U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. It became increasingly clear that Afghan security forces were not going to be ready for the 2014 transition. The New York Times highlighted the administration’s failure to persuade the Iraqi government to allow a residual U.S. force to stay in the country, leaving Baghdad ever more at the mercy of Tehran. Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fought publicly over how to respond to Iran’s advancing nuclear program. The administration’s much-touted “pivot” to the Pacific seemed like more talk than action, as the United States passively watched tensions rise between China and Japan. And then, the administration tripped over itself repeatedly in trying to explain the fiasco in Benghazi, Libya.

    This would have helped.

    The excerpt in your comment would have helped.

    It also doesn’t help that the author is pretty clearly a nation builder.

    Unbowed by Iraq, prominent neoconservatives called for aggressive military action against Iran. Popular party figures strongly opposed the construction of a mosque in Manhattan. Major Republican politicians held congressional hearings about whether American Muslims could be trusted. Right-wing columnists demanded that the Obama administration resuscitate the use of torture. Leading Senate Republicans opposed any new international treaty as a matter of principle, resisting the relatively uncontroversial New START treaty with Russia and flatly opposing the Law of the Sea Treaty, despite endorsements from every living former Republican secretary of state, big business, and the U.S. Navy. A few, such as Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, placed country over party and tried to find some common ground with Obama. The reward for his troubles was a primary challenge by a Tea Party favorite, who managed to defeat Lugar before self-destructing during the general election.

    Stand by conservative principles? No problem just eject them.

    Former Representative Newt Gingrich of Georgia became obsessed with the minute chances of an electromagnetic pulse targeting the United States, even as he disputed the actual threats posed by climate change.

    Apparently we are going to be attacked by a giant aerosol can.

    And at various points during the campaign, Romney insulted the Japanese, the Italians, the Spanish, the British, and the Palestinians.

    Oh, NOES we insulted the Palestinians.

    and in the aftermath of the attacks on U.S. installations in Cairo and Benghazi — Romney used rhetoric that was ham-handed and politicized.

    Yep, nothing to see here.

    By the time Romney was selected as the nominee, Republicans had come to talk about foreign policy almost entirely as an offshoot of domestic politics or ideology.

    Our foreign policy should be an offshoot of our domestic policy. WTF does he think it should be, an offshoot of UN policy?

    a 2012 PIPA (Program on International Policy Attitudes) poll found that Americans would strongly prefer to cut defense spending rather than Medicare or Social Security.

    Another brilliant nugget. Let’s cut the one thing the fed is responsible for and keep funneling money into things that they have no responsibility for.

    Also he has gone to three separate Chicago think tanks to write this article. Seems odd that there aren’t any other foreign policy sources.

    and several years in office during the Clinton administration to develop new cadres of competent midcareer professionals.

    Seriously? Yep because getting us into a war under UN orders supporting our enemies was a great professional thing to do.

    After 9/11, the political logic for threat inflation was clear: politicians would be punished far more for downplaying a real security threat than for exaggerating a false one.

    Bullshit, all the won does is downplay threats.

    Republicans continually attempt to justify extremely high levels of defense spending, for example, on the grounds that the United States supposedly faces greater threats now than during the Cold War. Romney claimed during the campaign that the world was more “dangerous, destructive, chaotic” than ever before.

    Damn Republicans are seeing Unicorns and Rainbows as threats.

    Today’s threats may be more numerous and varied, but even combined, they are significantly smaller and less grave.

    Must be nice on his planet.

    A good grand strategy prioritizes threats and interests, and that is a habit the Republicans need to relearn.

    There’s the pony.

    But, I’m not going to ride it, it’s covered in horse crap.


  42. 42 | January 12, 2013 9:12 pm

    @ Mars:

    This article is very truthful though. Leaving Hagel aside all the GOP calls for is nation building. It’s a turnoff even to many Conservatives.


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