We know what has happened to the Republican party in foreign policy. Neoconservatism now has undisputed intellectual hegemony. The campaign of John McCain, and the emergence of the blank slate of Sarah Palin (a blank slate currently being filled in by AIPAC) reinforces this view. McCain is much, much more neoconservative than even Bush. What this means is that those of us who still believe in a conservative foreign policy - reality-based, idealistic within clear realist boundaries, cognizant of America's mounting fiscal collapse, aware of the fact that power politics never ends, chastened by the Iraq fiasco, concerned about reinforcing alliances and maintaining a solid military - have our work cut out.
The very promising new conservative online magazine, Culture 11, is beginning the task of reconstructing a conservative foreign policy in the wake of the Bush-Cheney fiasco and McCain's belligerence. Here's a great essay trying to re-think foreign policy from the perspective of America's founders. Money quote:
There are two Washingtonian principles which I believe should serve as the basis for a long overdue audit of U.S. foreign policy, certainly since the end of the Cold War. The first is Washington’s admonition that “permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded.”
The second (and here perhaps the Address should be updated from merely referring to Europe to every region of the world) is for the United States to reconsider the level of involvement in the affairs of others: “it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.” Are American interests served by involving the United States in a multitude of regional problems that do not touch directly on our affairs? And do we need to continue to divide the world into categories of “friend” or “foe”, into leagues of “democracies” versus “the autocracies?” Such is alien to the Washingtonian ethos.
The first president took as his guide the following: “Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations are recommended by policy, humanity and interest.”