Republicans Want A New Foreign Policy. But Will They Get One?

There’s now a proper debate brewing over that question, including the likes of Dan Drezner, Danielle Pletka, and Ben Domenech. Over at Forbes I take the plunge:

Almost nobody, especially at the elite level, thinks in terms of a world where the US doesn’t lend any hand to those who strive to live more like we do. It’s always the how and the when that complicates that. But if you really think the GOP is in danger of losing a foundation broad enough to command electoral support, there’s no time to settle in advance the complexities of squaring our foreign policy actions with our international moral politics. The ultimate reason the GOP needs a new foreign policy, by those lights, has more to do with the GOP than it does with foreign policy. Or at least that’s an accusation it’s tremendously hard to escape in practice, even if, in principle, the GOP is simply the best available means to approximate the right foreign policy.

I also offer up a few big objectives that could ground a new, Republican-friendly grand strategy — oriented around the idea that a liberty-inspired agenda has to grasp that being pro-liberty largely requires the US to support real independence for our friends and allies around the world.

This is a big conversation to have, and though it shouldn’t be rushed, Republicans are obliged to hop to.

  1. Jeff

    What do you mean by “support real independence for our friends and allies around the world?”

    What does this support look like? Sending middle class tax dollars to foreign fighters? Trying to build nations where there is no nationalistic tradition?

    What does ‘support’ mean?

  2. John Grant
    C

    James,

    How does your advice differ from the conventional wisdom of Obama and Romney in the campaign? They may be failing in attaining the objectives you mention, but would either one of them disagree with what you say?

  3. James Poulos
    C
    Jeff: What do you mean by “support real independence for our friends and allies around the world?”

    What does this support look like? Sending middle class tax dollars to foreign fighters? Trying to build nations where there is no nationalistic tradition?

    What does ‘support’ mean? · 2 hours ago

    I mean we’ve got to start ensuring that South Korea, Japan, Israel, and Europe, for instance, can increase their military independence. Putting this off until later, I suspect, won’t end particularly well.

  4. James Poulos
    C
    John Grant: James,

    How does your advice differ from the conventional wisdom of Obama and Romney in the campaign? They may be failing in attaining the objectives you mention, but would either one of them disagree with what you say? · 22 minutes ago

    Romney on Russia was a mess. Obama on executive war by fiat leaves much to be desired, and Romney was nowhere near hard enough on this. Neither party seems to have much of a plan for how to help Europe control its own destiny. The China issue is obviously complex, but did either campaign make clear to America what the big picture is there? Also both parties are just incoherent on the Mideast. If the idea is to just take it ad hoc, people should come out and say so. Just a few examples.

  5. Crow

    James: why France instead of Germany as the leader of mainland Europe on defense issues?

  6. Jeff
    James Poulos

    Jeff: What do you mean by “support real independence for our friends and allies around the world?”

    What does this support look like? Sending middle class tax dollars to foreign fighters? Trying to build nations where there is no nationalistic tradition?

    What does ‘support’ mean? · 2 hours ago

    I mean we’ve got to start ensuring that South Korea, Japan, Israel, and Europe, for instance, can increase their military independence. Putting this off until later, I suspect, won’t end particularly well. · 7 hours ago

    Great answer. I’m behind that 100%.

  7. genferei

    How about not squandering good will by bullying allies to squeeze a few extra tax dollars for the IRS (e.g. Switzerland) or chase supposed ‘pirates’ for the Hollywood lobby (e.g. New Zealand)?