Saturday, October 07, 2023


People who think in political science categories often describe the Trump-era GOP as an isolationist party. I've been trying to tell you that this is ridiculous -- all Republicans in good standing want to take on China, and many (most?) seem to want to invade Mexico.

And now we have this:
A variety of presidential candidates have weighed in on the developing conflict between Hamas and Israeli Defense Forces....

Former President Donald Trump ... called the attacks a "disgrace" and insisted that Israel should defend itself with "overwhelming force."

"Time to get back to Peace through strength. Time to get back to American leadership. Time to make sure the terrorists in Hamas and Tehran know .... America Stands With Israel," former Vice President Mike Pence, who served in the Trump administration, said....

"The dastardly terrorist attacks perpetrated against innocent Israeli civilians by Iran-backed terror group Hamas deserve a swift and lethal response," Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida wrote on social media Saturday. "Israel not only has the right to defend itself against these attacks, it has a duty to respond with overwhelming force."
Two candidates who've been at odds over foreign policy sound exactly alike now:
"Make no mistake: Hamas is a bloodthirsty terrorist organization backed by Iran and determined to kill as many innocent lives as possible," former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement Saturday morning. "The reports out of Israel are horrific with a stunning number of dead and wounded and should be universally condemned."

"I am appalled by the barbaric and medieval Hamas attacks," Ramaswamy wrote in a post to X. "Shooting civilians and kidnapping children are war crimes. Israel’s right to exist & defend itself should never be doubted and Iran-backed Hamas & Hezbollah cannot be allowed to prevail. I stand with Israel and the U.S. should too."
The Republican Party didn't become isolationist under Trump. It merely became pro-Putin, largely because the person who has led the party since 2015 is pro-Putin, and also because Republicans can never allow themselves to support hawkishness in any global sphere of interest if the hated Democratic Party seem more hawkish in that sphere.

If Democrats can -- honestly or dishonestly -- be described as weak in a global sphere, then Republicans are all too happy to act like hawks in that sphere:
"Biden’s appeasement of Israel’s enemies has invited this war against Israel. Appeasement anywhere never works. We must do whatever it takes to support the State of Israel in its time of grave danger, and we must end the scourge of Iran-backed terrorism," said former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. "This terrorism is funded by Biden’s idiotic release of $6 billion to the Iranians."

Sen. Tim Scott, on a campaign stop Saturday said the US "didn’t just invite this aggression, we paid for it."
Trumpist Republicans want to have it both ways. Here's a Trump ad I posted in April:

As I said at the time, the ad
attacks "the global elitists" who "send your kids to war." But it also stirs up anger at perceived foreign enemies. Eight seconds in, we see Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, China's Xi Jinping, a Mao poster, and people we're expected to read as jihadists....

At 1:16, we see a clip of Trump from his presidency; he's walking with a military escort. At 1:24, we see him saluting against a blue sky while military helicopters hover in formation overhead. A caption reads: DON'T MESS WITH US.
Modern Republicans don't oppose all interventionism. They just oppose interventions they can describe as Democratic or "global elitist." Their preferred interventions are totally consistent with "America First." Just ask them and they'll tell you that.

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