Peggy Noonan considers what the GOP has lost from the Iraq war:
Iraq and Afghanistan have ended badly for the Republicans, and the party won’t really right itself until it has candidates for national office who can present a new definition of what a realistic and well-grounded Republican foreign policy is, means and seeks to do. That will take debate. The party is now stuck more or less in domestic issues. As for foreign policy, they oppose Obama. In the future more will be needed [bold mine-DL].
Noonan’s summary of what the GOP has lost because of Iraq is fine as far as it goes, and she’s right that Republican recovery depends in part on foreign policy reform to produce “a realistic and well-grounded Republican foreign policy.” She’s also right that more than anti-Obama rejectionism will be required, but it’s telling that she doesn’t make any proposals for what that “more” might be. I have floated various ideas for what a reformed Republican and conservative foreign policy would look like. As I’ve said before, it is necessary but insufficient to recognize that the Iraq war was a mistake. It is just as important that Republicans recognize why it was a mistake and to reject those policies that risk repeating the blunder of waging preventive war. If conservatives are interested in a foreign policy of humility and restraint, they’ll need to be precise about what that means in practice. This was my suggestion for what foreign policy humility means:
Humility in foreign policy should imply that the U.S. should acknowledge and respect other states’ legitimate interests, refrain from interfering in their affairs, adhere to the requirements of international law as much as possible, and as often as possible avoid trying to dictate the outcomes of other states’ internal political quarrels and conflicts. It would obviously imply that the U.S. wouldn’t wage “preventive” wars, but it would also mean that the scale and number of U.S. commitments overseas would be reduced significantly. A humble foreign policy wouldn’t absolutely rule out future expeditionary wars, but it would set the bar for such conflicts much higher than it has been for the last twenty years.