Although the 2016 election is a year-and-a-half away, the verdict is already in on the continuation of post-World War II interventionism as the policy of choice. After the hysteria in the media induced by ISIS’s beheading of a few Americans in retaliation for U.S. bombing of the group in the Middle East, American public sentiment, still exhausted by the long counterproductive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, demanded some action against ISIS – as long as it didn’t involve another protracted war or any US military personnel getting killed.
Thus, President Barack Obama gave the public an ineffective air war against the group and a few thousand "non-combat" military advisers. However, president’s restrained posture has allowed all of the Republican candidates to posture that they would be tougher than Obama on ISIS – and on most other foreign policy issues. And of course, Democrat Hillary Clinton – who would like to be the first woman leader of the United States since Edith Wilson took over for her medically incapacitated husband from late 1919 to early 1921 – has long believed that she has to be as foolishly macho and jingoistic in foreign policy as the men. Hillary voted for George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. Also, as Secretary of States, she couldn’t resist the opportunity created by Arab Spring unrest in Libya to advocate taking out Muammar Gaddafi, a dictator who had actually made nice with the West. The result has been chaos, tribal warfare, and new Islamist terrorist bases, including those of ISIS – all fueled with the huge quantities of weapons in Gaddafi’s stores.
Even Rand Paul, a libertarianesque Republican who is supposed to be somewhat less hawkish than the other serious candidates, was recently quoted in the American Conservative magazine, "The enemy is Radical Islam and not only will I name the enemy, I will do whatever it takes to defend America from these haters of mankind."
Although Mr. Paul (The Younger) has a better recognition of the ill-effects of and blowback from unnecessary overseas wars than the rest of the pack, he still needs to get through Republican primaries that likely will be more jingoistic than the last few election cycles in which hawks were chastised because of their cataclysmic failure in Iraq. Not lasting very long, the more restrained foreign policy views of about half of the Tea Party have now gone out of style after the ISIS beheading hysteria.
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