Robert Golan-Vilella also noticed the main flaw in the Hanson article I discussed yesterday:

What is most odd about the piece, however, is how poorly the “neo-isolationist” label appears to fit Obama’s foreign policy—even as Hanson describes it [bold mine-DL].

This is part of what I was trying to say yesterday. Describing Obama’s fairly activist foreign policy as “neo-isolationist” is an absurd exercise in trying to shift the boundaries of foreign policy debate in order to make Obama’s activism seem like a form of radical “disengagement” and “retreat” from the world. We saw much the same thing during the Hagel confirmation spectacle, when we were supposed to believe that someone with a long history of mainstream Republican internationalism was suddenly a “fringe” figure.

Like Golan-Vilella, I think “neo-isolationist” is a meaningless term, and I would add that it has a pernicious and distorting effect on all of our foreign policy debates. If hawks feel compelled to use it, they should at the very least not apply it to someone whose foreign policy is one of largely conventional and fairly hawkish liberal internationalism. Golan-Vilella continues:

The fact is that almost no significant political figure within America’s two major parties holds any views that can fairly be described as “isolationist” or “neo-isolationist.” Democrats and Republicans alike want the United States to have the world’s most powerful military, maintain its alliances and trade with other nations.