National Journal: Foreign Policy Opens Fissures in GOPSubmitted by telepathic on Wed, 06/29/2011 - 08:02
Ron Paul is winning even when this kind of articles completely exclude him. This is because GOP is finally again debating about foreign policy.
What’s driving the sudden fissures between Republican presidential candidates on foreign policy?
Whether history, deficits, or politics, the foreign policy splits amount to the most substantive disagreements among the candidates on any policy issue. Even as economic concerns remain paramount, those differences could go a long way toward determining which candidate wins the nomination.
“It’s actually the makings of a big debate in the party,” said Charlie Black, a longtime GOP political operative.
Consider how two of the field’s top candidates have treated Afghanistan: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty criticized President Obama for withdrawing troops from the Middle East country before the military had won the war outright. But ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman flanked the president on his left, saying Obama made a mistake by not cutting troops faster.
The president, whose own candidacy was propelled by his opposition to the Iraq war, suddenly finds his own foreign policy representing a middle ground of sorts in the GOP primary. Such a reality was unthinkable as recently as 2008, when the GOP candidates—led by eventual nominee John McCain—each espoused a decidedly hawkish view of America’s role in the world.
But the shattering of that consensus isn’t revealing new divisions within the party as much as laying bare old ones. Dating back to Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, R-Mass.—who took on Democratic President Wilson over the League of Nations and won—an isolationist strain has always run through the party, even if it remained on the fringes. The more prominent battle within the GOP, however, has been between Republicans arguing for aggressive foreign intervention, as President Reagan did, or those wary of overseas involvement and promoting a more pragmatic view, like President Nixon.