November 17, 2014

Realism Returns

The most remarkable aspect of Senator Rand Paul’s “conservative realism” speech on October 23 in New York was that it was seen as remarkable at all. For the fact is that, despite the hubbub about the speech in outlets such as Vox and the Washington Post, much of the case that Paul was making would have fallen squarely within the broad mainstream of Republican thinking in the pre-9/11 era. A GOP politician’s making similar points even 15 years ago, let alone 30 or 40, would have been hardly worth mentioning.

Thus Paul’s statement that “America shouldn’t fight wars when there is no plan for victory,” for instance, echoes the Weinberger/Powell Doctrine formulated by Republicans in the post-Vietnam era to distinguish themselves from the Democrats who they (and many Americans) believed had allowed the nation to be drawn into a searingly painful war without any real vision for how to end it.

Read the full piece on the National Review.