As you have probably noticed Republican/conservative foreign policy has been taken over by the neoconservatives. What you may not know is that until about 1972 the neoconservatives were part of the Democratic Party – the Scoop Jackson wing. The “real” conservatives over at The American Conservative magazine would like to bring back the old conservative foreign policy.
The cover story of the magazine this month is by Andrew Bacevich, Counterculture Conservatism where he writes as one of his bullet points:
Exposing the excesses of American militarism and the futility of the neo-imperialist impulses to which Washington has succumbed since the end of the Cold War. When it comes to foreign policy, the conservative position should promote modesty, realism, and self-sufficiency. To the maximum extent possible, Americans should “live within,” abandoning the conceit that the United States is called upon to exercise “global leadership,” which has become a euphemism for making mischief and for demanding prerogatives allowed to no other nation. Here the potential exists for conservatives to make common cause with members of the impassioned antiwar left.
Now Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol aren’t going to like this very much but Daniel Larison, a blogger at the same magazine, does.
In practical terms, it should go without saying that this rules out preventive war. Few things better reflect the belief that the U.S. should enjoy “prerogatives allowed to no other nation” than the idea that the U.S. has the right to attack other countries for what they might do in the future. The U.S. should also be less involved in supporting other states’ internal political opposition, which is often the very definition of “making mischief” and meddling where we aren’t wanted by most of the people in these countries. The U.S. should be reducing how much it spends to subsidize the defense of countries that can readily provide for their own defense, and it should be cutting back on the overseas commitments it already has instead of adding to them. Specifically, that would mean no more NATO expansion, no new security guarantees to other states elsewhere in the world, and a review of the existing guarantees that the U.S. has made to determine whether or not they are outdated and irrelevant to American security today. Conservatives in the U.S. should be interested in trying as much as possible to get the United States back to the position of being at least a normal major power that has no special obligations and assumes no special authority or rights.
I think this is right, our interventions since WWII have brought us nothing but blow back and pain. When talking about why we are so hated in the Middle East Pat Buchanan, said it best:
They don’t hate us because of who we are they hate because of where we are.
Now I don’t agree with Buchanan on much of anything but he called that right. bin-Laden himself said the reason for 911 was American troops stationed in Saudi Arabia. Most of our foreign policy difficulties today are the result of meddling to protect the interests of multi-national corporations since the end of WWII. Case in point is Iran where the CIA overthrew a Democratically elected prime minister because he was going to nationalize the country’s oil resources. They put the much hated Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in charge and helped him create his secret police to hold onto his power.
Being the world’s bad cop is not something that benefits the citizens of the United States and in addition we can’t afford it anymore.