Is Rand Paul-Style Foreign Policy Restraint on the Ascendency in the GOP?

John Glaser, January 29, 2014

Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of The National Interest, spoke with Chicago University professor and renowned international relations theorist John Mearsheimer about the apparent shifts in attitudes in both the country and in Washington on foreign policy issues:

I would submit two points of caution. First of all, whatever hospitality the broader GOP has afforded more libertarian-leaning Republicans like Rand Paul and Justin Amash on national security issues is very likely to dissipate once the party regains power in the White House. The party out of power typically does things in the opposition that it later backtracks on once in power again.

Secondly, public opinion tends to ebb and flow on the issue of war and peace. Like in the aftermath of Vietnam, a majority of the country is currently opposed to excessive U.S. meddling around the world and overwhelmingly opposed to another lengthy war. The Bush administration’s excesses, particularly in Iraq, pushed the electorate in this direction. But this could also be just another fluctuation. Public opinion tends to be fickle and could easily flip back in the war fever mode given the right (or wrong) circumstances.

The question is whether this popular lean towards less muscular foreign policy and the small GOP faction that opposes excessive interventionism can be sustained for the longer term and whether it can then manifest itself in actual policymaking (which is a whole other obstacle given the entrenched interests in the foreign policy community in Washington). I’m agnostic on that question.




11 Responses to “Is Rand Paul-Style Foreign Policy Restraint on the Ascendency in the GOP?”

  1. "Like in the aftermath of Vietnam, a majority of the country is currently opposed to excessive U.S. meddling around the world and overwhelmingly opposed to another lengthy war."

    True but the government continued to intervene anyway. The result? 9/11.

  2. I used to listen to what the Senator's father had to say regarding foreign interventionism. By choice, I have not listened to what the Senator has to say about this subject. But, I cannot recall ever hearing whether the Senator has included ending the military adventurism currently underway in his speeches. In fact, all I can remember Sen. Paul talking about is ending the extrajudicial droning of Americans. Selective foreign interventionism is not going to sell to an electorate that is tired of seeing our tax dollars leave the country and the dead American military coming home.

    If the Senator took a stand against all interference in the affairs of other nations, he might just get my vote…maybe.

  3. […] my post yesterday pondering whether or not Paul’s foreign policy views are on the ascendancy in the […]

  4. […] Is Rand Paul-Style Foreign Policy Restraint on the Ascendency in the GOP? I would submit two points of caution. First of all, whatever hospitality the broader GOP has afforded more libertarian-leaning Republicans like Rand Paul and Justin Amash on national security issues is very likely to dissipate once the party regains … Read more on Antiwar.com (blog) […]

  5. It kills me when people like Mearsheimer continue to call those against more foreign wars "isolationists." Please sir, the correct word is "non-interventionist." No one can be an isolationist today.

  6. […] my post yesterday pondering whether or not Paul’s foreign policy views are on the ascendancy in the […]

  7. "Is Rand Paul-Style Foreign Policy Restraint on the Ascendency in the GOP?"

    If that's true then it will only last until they're in power. Why? They're politicians which means they're parasites. They're not suddenly going to turn benevolent.

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  10. Snowden also seems eerily resigned to the likely consequences of his actions — namely that he may never see his home country again, and that government officials may come for him at any time.

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