While the Republicans who are running for president seem to have grasped the truth about the economic abyss that the country is peering into, there continues to be an air of unreality whenever the discussions turn to foreign policy and national security issues. Perhaps it is fortunate that the leading candidates rarely venture into those uncharted waters except in the form of simplistic slogans that could well be placed on bumper stickers.
Sen. John “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” McCain has been expending most of his strangled rhetoric on defending the indefensible by talking up the “success” of the Libyan adventure, so he has left it to his colleague from Arizona Sen. John Kyl to do the heavy lifting on other national security issues. Kyl has already announced that Republicans will block any defense cuts in the $1.2 trillion in overall spending reductions being negotiated by a bipartisan commission. It is also reported that some previously agreed-upon budget reductions at the Pentagon are already being shifted to other parts of the government, so military spending will essentially remain untouched.
Is there any doubt that pervasive militarism has now become a core value of the Republican Party? If there is any confusion, check out the positions being taken by the presidential candidates, with the sole exception of Ron Paul. Front-runner Rick Perry has this to say: “We must renew our commitment to taking the fight to the enemy wherever they are before they strike at home,” an assertion that is not too different from what President Barack Obama is doing, which in turns derives from the Bush Doctrine that the U.S. can respond to any perceived security threat anywhere, at any time, and in any fashion. Perry is also being advised on foreign policy by neoconservatives including Doug Feith, and he identifies strongly with evangelicals. He is also a strong supporter of Israel.