Paul Miller badly misreads Mollie Hemingway on foreign policy:

The paleo-conservative reading (like Hemmingway’s) is no better. It will not build the lasting peace Hemmingway calls for. Killing lots of people and going home isn’t war; it is murder, and it is the way to replicate the failures of Versailles after World War I.

Miller gets some important things wrong here. First, the “paleo” position isn’t the one he describes, since conservatives that hold this view are generally wary of or flatly opposed to all foreign wars unless they are being waged in self-defense. Even then, one will struggle to find support for “killing lots of people and going home” among these people. This was more or less the position that many of the proponents of the Iraq war initially held when they were selling the war as a short, brief, and cheap operation, which is what interventionists typically do in order to minimize what war will cost the country. Based on the post-invasion planning (or lack thereof), it was also the position held by no less than Secretary Rumsfeld.

In general, non-interventionist conservatives are attentive to the obligations that the U.S. has to the countries that the government has chosen to invade and/or bomb over their objections. That is why we are consistently against waging unnecessary wars, because we know that in doing so the U.S. assumes some responsibility for repairing the damage that it has done. The trouble is that the U.S. truly does lack the competence to repair most of the damage caused by wars of regime change, and it tends to compound the original error of intervention the longer that it stays behind to “fix” things. The U.S. owes these countries debts that it cannot repay, which is all the more reason to be extremely cautious about resorting to the use of force in the first place.

It’s true that non-interference in the affairs of other nations doesn’t amount to a foreign policy by itself, but it is a good general principle for guiding policymakers when faced with foreign civil wars that the U.S. can’t and shouldn’t be trying to police.