Jim Antle looks at the record of Bob Corker (R-TN), the new Republican ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee, and reviews the current foreign policy views of Senate Republicans:
Despite an infusion of Tea Party freshmen who expressed at least some willingness to scrutinize the Pentagon budget and the interventions it funds, the Hagel fight suggests many Republicans have barely moved from their Bush-era positions. McCain used much of Hagel’s committee testimony to relitigate the Iraq war, while Texas Republican freshman senator Ted Cruz was surprisingly hawkish in his questioning [bold mine-DL] as a candidate who had been endorsed by fellow Texan—and strict noninterventionist—Ron Paul.
Cruz’s hawkishness is one thing that shouldn’t have been a surprise. I understood the Paul endorsements of as evidence of their agreement with him on domestic policy, but there was never much reason to think that Cruz sympathized with either one on foreign policy issues. While foreign policy rarely came up during Cruz’s primary contest with Dewhurst or during the general election, Cruz’s public statements hinted strongly that he was going to adopt hard-line positions. When it comes to hyping foreign threats or calling for preventive war and regime change in Iran and North Korea, Cruz seems scarcely distinguishable from Santorum.
The Cruz example is a useful reminder that many elected Republicans aligned or identified with Tea Party activists remain by and large conventional Republicans. While some may be willing to criticize “nation-building” policies and excessive military spending, and a few are willing to challenge and question certain anti-terrorism tactics, many of them have no strong objections to most of what the U.S. is doing around the world. If anything, many of them seem more inclined temperamentally to support hard-line policies abroad because they see these as the least “compromising” or “accommodating” policies available.