There has been much discussion in the right-wing blogosphere on the movement of such prominent conservatives as Joseph Farah and Anne Coulter toward a more skeptical of war perspective. The problem with embracing their movement our way unequivocally is that they have not become “full-throated non-interventionists” (see Antle link). What they are expressing is a “Jacksonian” skepticism of nation building and long wars and maybe (we hope) a skepticism about war as a type of do-gooder project (spreading democracy, policing the world, etc.). Here are a few links that I think hash out what our reaction should be pretty well.
Larison is largely right on the facts, but I question the wisdom of publicly slapping down movement in our direction. This seems counter-productive. Who is going to want to join us if they think they will be chastised if they do? They are more likely to just keep their new found reservations to themselves. Farah’s change of heart took courage. It seems to me more helpful to cheer on such public movement our way.
My reason for some optimism on foreign policy is that all the movement, whether great or slight, has been in our direction. Are there any former non-interventionists being won to uber-hawkish militarism these days? It is a shrinking faction that only speaks to itself. There is no audience, except the choir, for fear peddling militarism these days. Not that all its former audience has become principled non-interventionists. They haven’t. They have just moved on to other concerns and priorities.
I also agree with Larison that Iran remains a kind of litmus test. Second thoughts on Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t particularly helpful if the person still wants to plunge us into a much more potentially disastrous war with Iran. But I also believe that a lot of the current discussion about Iran is just rhetorical posturing. Wiser heads realize that we can’t attack Iran even if we wanted to. We are overextend militarily, economically and politically and an attack on Iran would be utterly disastrous, so they saber-rattle as a substitute for action. Kind of like the guy at the bar who talks trash because he knows his friends will “hold him back.” Later he can say, “If it wasn’t for my friends holding me back I would have clobbered that guy. Really, I would have.”