Daniel DePetris observes that most of the Republican platform on foreign policy and national security shows that the hawks remain firmly in charge of the party’s agenda, and I agree. It is worth noting, though, that the Trump campaign has gone against the hawkish consensus on at least one issue. Josh Rogin reports that Trump campaign operatives managed to work with pro-Trump delegates to delete language that called for sending weapons to Ukraine:
The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.
This is not much of a dissent from the hawkish line on foreign policy, but it is a rejection of one of the more thoughtless and irresponsible foreign policy proposals out there. The report predictably puts the most negative spin possible on this move, perhaps because this is the first sign in months that Trump and his allies aren’t just going to roll over for whatever the most hawkish Republicans want. Whatever their reasons for doing this, it happens to be the right call as a matter of policy.
Nothing good for Ukraine or the U.S. would come from sending them weapons, and in general it is irresponsible to stoke a foreign conflict, especially when it has died down and might still be resolved. It is even more irresponsible to stoke a conflict when it has little or nothing to do with us. The Republicans that should be embarrassed by this episode are the ones that wanted to insist on throwing more weapons at a foreign problem.