Perhaps not, says Eli Lake, who sees Republican foreign policy splintered among neoconservatives, anti-Islam hawks of the Michele Bachmann and Andrew McCarthy variety, and right-wingers who prioritize budget cuts, including to Defense, over expansive projects overseas. His article almost makes the neocons sound moderate compared to the anti-Islam hawks, but it’s worth remembering that Bachmann and McCarthy have been opposed to the Libyan intervention, while the neocons have been warm to it. Lake also minimizes the realist and noninterventionist camps in the GOP: they’re small, to be sure, but that they exist at all is remarkable. Lake writes,
Except for Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, and Gary Johnson (an ardent libertarian, including on social issues), no candidate has called for cuts in defense spending. Even Bachmann, the candidate most closely aligned with the Tea Party, has warned against cutting the defense budget. But, while there is no mainstream candidate who is calling for austerity on defense, it would be impossible to argue that the penny-pinching mood among Republicans hasn’t influenced the general tenor of GOP foreign policy discussions—and made the candidates less inclined to sound the kinds of grandiose and expensive notes about foreign policy that were considered par for the course in 2008.
An encouraging development — but then, not only do Republicans typically sound less interventionist when their party doesn’t hold the White House, but those budget-cutting principles also tend to manifest only during Democratic administrations. At least, that’s the conclusion one might draw from the last 20-odd years of political history. Perhaps the economic crisis has forged a stronger, more consistent government-cutter; and perhaps the political price exacted by the Iraq and Afghan occupations has chastised all but the most ideologically driven Republican pols. For my part, I’m hoping the realists and noninterventionists continue to gain ground. The rest are unreliable.