I agree with Jesse Walker that the success of non-interventionism inside the GOP remains a very long shot. It seems to me that Andrew has misread Drudge if he detects an undercurrent of antiwar sentiment there. Today’s Drudge headline highlights a Times story reporting declining morale among our soliders in Afghanistan, and the story emphasizes that the soldiers see the war as futile and lacking clear objectives, but there are plenty of ways for a reflexively pro-war audience to reconcile this with continued support for the war. Of course, the war in Iraq has been futile and lacking in clear objectives practically since the beginning, but that has not stopped two-thirds of Republicans and an even higher proportion of self-described conservatives from backing it to this day. Furthermore, as Walker notes, Republican leaders certainly aren’t moving in that direction.
Andrew’s original post referred to a “looming foreign policy war” on the right. That would be very welcome to the extent that it meant that conservatives were beginning to think twice about their foreign policy assumptions, but if it happened right now it would probably be short and not to the advantage of non-interventionists. After all, if there were a “foreign policy war” on the right, who would be on our side? Andrew invokes Hagel and Huntsman, which reminds us of how politically lopsided such a fight would be. I have said in the past that Huntsman might provide a sober, informed foreign policy perspective because of his diplomatic background and experience overseas, but Huntsman already scrapped any ambitions for higher office and party leadership when he accepted the post in Beijing. Hagel abandoned any thoughts of a presidential run and he is now persona non grata on much of the right…because he had the sense to oppose deepening our involvement in Iraq. For that matter, Hagel is a long way away from being a reliably good guide on foreign policy, as I have said many times, and my guess is that Huntsman would prove to be far more conventionally hawkish on policy once we learned more about his views. Ron Paul has done great work making the case against empire and war, and for his troubles he is reviled by much of the rest of his party.
What does seem clear to me is that most of the public will continue to reject conservatives and the GOP in part because of their disastrous foreign policy views. Until most conservatives and Republicans see that they are at odds with most of the public on these questions and recognize that they are in the wrong, it is hard to see how non-interventionism or even a humble “realism” will make much headway on the right.