Jesse Walker comments on Martin O’Malley’s mildly hawkish foreign policy:

Declaring that “our country’s security—and our children’s prosperity—demand that we be more engaged with the world around us, not less,” the former Maryland governor put himself firmly in the liberal-interventionist tradition.

Walker notes that O’Malley is “much less warlike” than Clinton, but then that isn’t saying very much. He makes some of the right noises about being reluctant to send American ground forces against ISIS, and he says that we should think through what will happen after toppling a foreign government, but this doesn’t amount to much of an alternative to what Clinton represents on foreign policy. Like many Republicans have before him, O’Malley tries to score points against Clinton on Benghazi without offering a substantive argument against the Libyan intervention itself. It wouldn’t be necessary to prepare for what comes after regime change if the U.S. weren’t involved in overthrowing the regime by force.

O’Malley’s view that we need to “know in advance” who will likely take power following the fall of a regime is a fairly odd one, since one of the many dangers of launching a war for regime change is that we can’t know this with a high degree of certainty. It would seem to be a better bet not to seek the overthrow of other governments through military intervention. That would make more sense, but it isn’t something that his audience at the Truman Project is likely to appreciate. O’Malley’s choice of venue for the speech is revealing in itself, since it suggests that he wants to be associated with the more hawkish side of the Democratic Party. Instead of offering a clear or interesting alternative to Clinton on these issues, he is more likely to offer a faint echo of her views.