Greg Scoblete wonders why so many Republicans embrace hegemonism:
What’s always interested me is why Republicans have chosen to ignore the tradition of Eisenhower and Nixon (presidents who stepped in to end the failed or stalemated wars initiated by their Democratic predecessors) and instead run as the amplified id of America’s quasi-imperial foreign policy. Rather than step back and question some basic premises of America’s global footprint or set of “interests” in need of a global nanny state funded by U.S. taxpayers, most Republicans run on a platform of global activism and big government.
The simplest answer is that Republicans are the more nationalist major party, and that leads them to endorse a more confrontational and aggressive foreign policy and military posture than would otherwise be the case. Republicans cannot get back to the kind of foreign policy that Republican administrations conducted between 1953 and 1977 because the composition of the GOP changed. The association of Eisenhower with moderate, “me-too” Republicanism and that of Nixon with detente have made their records useless for post-Reagan Republicans. Reagan’s rhetorical rejection of detente has made it impossible for modern conservatives to identify with the sort of foreign policy that detente under Nixon represented. Because conservatism has (wrongly) been identified with power projection, interventionism, and the regular use of force overseas, Republicans ignore those parts of their modern history that contradict these things.