The Right And War: Jacksonians vs JeffersoniansSubmitted by LatinsforPaul on Wed, 12/09/2009 - 12:14
The Right And War
by Daniel Larison
There’s not a “dove” movement of significance on the American Right. But there is a strong sentiment among Republicans toward a Jacksonian view of war and an antipathy toward “nation building,” though. Indeed, George W. Bush campaigned hard on that platform. Both Afghanistan and Iraq were sold in Realist national security terms, with a bit of National Greatness neoconservative Idealism thrown in for flavor. But, over time, the latter overtook the former.
There’s also a significant paleocon wing of the Republican Party, which has no moral qualms about war but nonetheless is very reluctant to intervene militarily. And when they are roused, they tend to want to pursue the enemy hammer and tong with none of the niceties of limited war. ~James Joyner
James is right that there is no “dove” movement on the right, and unfortunately Ron Paul’s primary results showed us how few non-interventionists there were in the GOP, but I can’t completely agree with this description. To take the last point first, paleocons arrive at non-interventionist conclusions for a number of reasons, and our view of how wars should be conducted and how limited they should be is not uniform. Almost all paleocons would agree that wars should be defensive and should be fought only when the national interest, which is usually very narrowly defined, requires it, but once such a war is being fought there is no single view of how limited it should be. Opposition to starting wars may not be universal, but it is close enough that one can generalize about paleocon opposition to aggressive warfare. To the extent that there is consensus among paleocons on this question, there is probably more opposition to total and unlimited warfare than there is support for it. It is common for some mainstream conservatives to invoke mass bombing campaigns in WWII as examples of tactics they find acceptable and would have no problem seeing employed again, and there is an enduring strain of Vietnam revisionism on the right that claims that Vietnam could have been won if the military had been allowed to use everything at its disposal, but for the most part paleocons don’t agree with this and often we find such arguments to be appalling.
Continue reading: http://www.amconmag.com/larison/2009/12/07/the-right-and-war/