I’m suggesting (we) change our posture … from a military superpower to a humanitarian superpower.–Howard Zinn
A thirst among many conservative activists for a more muscular U.S. foreign policy was clear over the weekend at a meeting of Americans for Prosperity, the tea-party-affiliated group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers. The loudest applause came when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a potential presidential candidate, called for bombing the Islamic State “back to the Stone Age.”
“If I were president, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily,” (Senator Rand) Paul said in a statement released by his office.
Grass-roots favorite Ben Carson, a doctor-turned-political activist, drew cheers when he declared, “when we get through with ISIS, it should be IS-was.”
The opening for a hawk in the GOP field has even enticed former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, who advocated for a muscular foreign policy during the George W. Bush administration, to consider a White House bid.
According to a Pew Research Center poll released last week, 46 percent of Republicans said the United States does “too little” to help solve global problems — a 28-point increase from the previous poll, last November. The percentage of Republicans who believe the U.S. does “too much” abroad has dropped from 52 percent to 37 percent.
These people, perhaps even Rand Paul, seem to have forgotten how poorly a foreign policy based primarily on militarism has worked for us in the recent past. Fortunately, President Obama favors a broader, more cautious policy which does not rely primarily on military force. This deserves public support.
NY-23 Representative Tom Reed, together with other Republicans, took a strong anti-war stand over the chemical weapons in Syria. He has had nothing of substance to say yet about the current crisis. It will be interesting to see which way he turns.
© William Hungerford – September 2014