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Resurgent Republicans Call for More of the Good Old Stuff
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A revived GOP is definitely a bad thing if the party leadership is intent on embracing the same old ideas that lost them power in the first place. Some Republicans, buoyed by their victory in the midterm election, appear to actually believe that the results were an endorsement of the foreign and security policies of George W. Bush. As few candidates even mentioned America’s wars the assumption that the vote was an endorsement of the Bush doctrine is more than a bit of a stretch. Congressman Buck McKeon of California (I did not make that name up) has already called for developing “appropriate metrics” to reassess the timing of the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan, presumably to permit the engagement there to morph into a series of surges and become the longest in history, exceeding the ten years the Greeks spent in front of Ilium. Buck will likely head the House Armed Services Committee. He and other leading GOPers are defining “success” as eliminating use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base, the same objective as Barack Obama, avoiding the fact that the terrorists are actually in neighboring Pakistan and the war is only being fought to prop up a corrupt regime possessing little popular support. They are ignoring at their peril the domestic opinion polls that suggest that Afghanistan is both unpopular and increasingly regarded as a mistake, like the equally protracted involvement in Iraq. And Republicans are also bundling an assertive policy on Afghanistan with a more belligerent approach to solving other problem areas to include Iran, the increasingly popular Yemen, and the always entertaining Somalia. And then there is Cuba.

It is to be hoped that some of the Tea Party Republicans will put the brake on such policies but agitation by zealots like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who will chair the Foreign Relations Committee, will be hard to resist, particularly as she cares passionately about putting Cuba and Iran in their respective places while most other congressmen could care less and will go with the flow. Many Republicans in the House will reflexively support any policy that involves shooting guns and dropping bombs on mud huts somewhere in the third world.

And the Republicans will inevitably wrap their foreign policy into a new phase of the global war on terror, which means that the extralegal warfare taking place wherever Central Command and CIA deem it appropriate will get a new lease on life, not that Obama has been a laggard in that regard. But the mystery element in the mix is the Tea Party GOPers. Will they wake up to the fact that American empire is the driving force for budget deficits, big government, and infringement of constitutional liberties – all the things that they despise? What is the possible educational process that one can use to inform them of that linkage? Who will explain that the war on terrorism that has been taking place over the past nine years has been counterproductive, creating more terrorists than it is eliminating because of the heavy handed American presence overseas? Who indeed. Some believe that a natural cognitive process will somehow reveal to one and all that the whole system is broken, not just the part that does not relate to national security, but I fear that the thinking on the issue is already compartmentalized to such an extent that the obvious connection will never be made. Such a pity. Two more years of Republican obstruction and saber rattling before the party again disappears into the darkness will be succeeded by some Democrat like Hillary Clinton who will in turn make the GOP look good. And so the cycle continues on and on. It’s change you can believe in.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Republicans 
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  1. Robert says:

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall hearing too many Tea Party candidates or their supporters say anything about being anti-war or anti-empire. I do, however, remember hearing a number of them, and this includes Rand Paul, criticizing the Democrats for being weak on defense. To be fair, the younger Paul didn’t say the Democrats were weak of defense; rather, he chose to repeatedly make the asinine claim that president Obama has spent the last two years apologizing to the rest of the world for America’s greatness.

    While the Tea Party movement may have started out with the best of intentions, I think its energies were quickly co-opted by the Republicans. Hopefully I woll have to eat crow at some point, but I tend to think there will be no crow in my future.

  2. tbraton says:

    “presumably to permit the engagement there to morph into a series of surges and become the longest in history, exceeding the ten years the Greeks spent in front of Ilium.”

    PG, you may have inadvertently stumbled upon the solution to victory in Afghanistan. Taking a page out of the lliad (the Odyssey, actually), we can build an enormous Trojan Horse and leave it as offering while we pull all of our troops out of Afghanistan. I am certain that the experts at the Pentagon can design a very high-tech version with enormous cost over-runs factored in (we have to get the economy stimulated, after all). I’m not sure what we should fill it up with, but perhaps we can load it up with a lot of Greek warriors, who,upon emerging from the Horse can reestablish the ancient Greek kingdom of Bactria. (If I am not mistaken, Alexander the Great established the city of Kandahar)

    However, Afghanistan soon may not be dominating the headlines if that crazed Republican Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, has his way. He is calling not just for launching a few missiles into Iran, but for a complete obliteration of that country. With talk like that being freely indulged in in this country and in Israel, does anybody wonder why Iran may desire to possess a nuclear weapon or two just as a defensive measure?

  3. The madness contnues as the ignorant and dumbed down masses vote for Big Brothers two faced image from Left to Right, caught between a rock and a hardplace but too stupid to see any of it.

    One is forced to hope for a complete socio-economic breakdown to create the instability needed for new politcal awareness and energy against the Ruling Class. Then just maybe we have…Ron Paul 2012 or someone akin to him although I don’t know even where to look.

  4. Newly-elected members will receive looks of dark foreboding mixed with condescension in the cloakrooms, the antechambers to committee rooms, and closed caucus luncheons.

    The message will go like this: “We can’t afford to be radical now, because the American people expect so much from us on the fundamental issues. Our party has to prove it can responsibly lead. One dent in our message — audit the fed, pull out of Afghanistan, and other futile forays will just make us look like nuts. Don’t worry, the folks back home are just mad at Obama. We’ll fight him enough without sinking the lifeboat.”

    Foreign policy was virtually ignored during the campaign. For the new members, it will be easy to sign on to American Exceptionalism, wars and all, without having to learn anything: no one will challenge them. But if they actually take on the Pentagon, the Fed, or the bureaucracy, they will have to stay up nights doing their own homework, because they will be assailed and attacked nonstop. And the GOP “Leadership” will not lift a finger to help them.

    Lastly: I hear there will be a “Tea Party” representative in the leadership. As Howard Baker used to say, “Does that door swing both ways?”

    No it doesn’t. That “representative” will represent the leadership to the unruly newcomers, and not vice-versa. Her job will be to “shut up her people” or else – at Boehner’s command. Boehner will be transmitting, not receiving, when it comes to the people who made him Speaker.

  5. Joe Dark says: • Website

    Buck McKeon seems like someone I am gonna grow to dislike with a passion

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