Monday, June 13, 2011

Anti-interventionist right: new principled policy or hyperpartisan anti-Obamaism?

Pat Buchanan's latest column gives some interesting insights into how the debate about the wars in Afganistan and Lybia(the latter which is slowly sliding into oblivion with the former all but there already) in the US Congress and in the public in general has shaped up and gives us some amazing, not too well known facts.

One could hardly imagine a Dennis Kucinich resolution getting "Yays" in double figures so the news that 148 members of the house voted in favour of it certainly gets attention, to say the least. That the majority of those were Republicans propably left most people speechless. And when they heard that among those Republicans were people such as Allen West and Michele Bachmann they almost certainly went to their windows to check if there is a pig or two flying by. Who says Obama can not produce miracles?

As if that was not enough of a surprise, Buchanan also tells us that finally a prominent relatively mainstream politician decided to openly advocate a full and complete withdrawal from Afganistan. The politician in question? Sarah Palin. It seems that her firing of McCainite foreign policy advisers and replacing them with more realistic people was not just for show. I suppose that jumping early-on and without thinking on the anti-Ghaddafi bandwagon was a bit imprudent, especially while ignoring the precarious financial state of America as well as the fact that even her supporters were far from gung-ho for that war. Oh, and there was the small matter of some unsavoury facts about Lybian "rebels" surfacing in the meantime...Now, in the true fashion of a politician, she tries to tiptoe away from the issue hoping that the public will forget her initial belligerent enthusiasm(and sadly, a great many will). Come on, Sarah, how difficult is it to say:"I made a mistake, we should never have gotten involved"?

In all this some questions loom large: how much of this new-found Republican/right anti-war sentiment is a result of a thought process based on principles and how much is it simply knee-jerk opposition to President Obama? Would we see something similar happening if McCain were elected in 2008? The answer to the latter is most likely "no way". But paradoxically this does not mean that pure partisanship motivates the Republican opponents of war. Quite the opposite, released from the obligation of having to support "their man", many Republican congressman opened their eyes for facts that have been suppressed by the establishment and saw that the picture of the world was far from simple and straightforward. Besides, time has not stood still and many things that have happened over the past decade contradicted the elated mood policymakers in Washington tried to exibit when describing the results of their adventures in Iraq and Afganistan. Ideology was at total odds with reality and no amount of canard-repeating could change that.

While it may be to early to state it for sure, it is likely that the anti-war sentiment grasping the GOP is more of a principled then partisan nature, especially since many of the Republican House members that voted for the Kucinich resolution would not be elected or would not have gained prominence had John McCain won in 2008.

One thing is sure though, just like the issue of excess governement spending, principled opposition to war has gained momentum and entered the mainstream of the US politics. It is important to keep it going and drag as many people in it as it is possible. And converts, such as the above mentioned Sarah Palin, should be welcomed. Yes, I might have sneered somewhat at her apparent change of heart, but it was about the fact that she would not admit the error of her ways, not the conversion itself. In fact, having been a close associate of one of the ultimate proponents of perpetual war and bearing in mind her popularity, she has the potential to utterly crush the pro-war establishment if she would openly refudiate(pun intentional) their position.

As I started this entry with surprises, I'll end it with one. The pioneering anti-war sentiments among Republicans began almost a year ago when an author wrote this:

But now I hear it is the official policy of the Republican Party to be for all wars, irrespective of our national interest.
Nonetheless, Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney have demanded that Steele resign as head of the RNC for saying Afghanistan is now Obama's war--and a badly thought-out one at that. (Didn't liberals warn us that neoconservatives want permanent war?)

I thought the irreducible requirements of Republicanism were being for life, small government and a strong national defense, but I guess permanent war is on the platter now, too.

Who was this? Ron Paul? Nope. It was Ann Coulter, believe it or not!

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