Republicans Isolationist, Insulationist Power-Projectors?
Chuck Hagel was on “Face the Nation” yesterday and left open the option of an independent big for the White House, perhaps sharing a ticket with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He’s been flirting with that possibility for a while, and is a perfect match for the Unity08 concept, so it’s not that newsworthy (despite substantial blogger commentary for a Sunday).
This, however, stood out:
“I am not happy with the Republican Party today,” Hagel said. “It’s been hijacked by a group of single-minded almost isolationists, insulationists, power-projectors.”
Now, I’m not particularly happy with the Republican Party these days, either. And, with notable exceptions like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudy Giuliani, and Bloomberg, one could reasonably argue that it is single-minded in a lot of ways. It is not, however, definitionally possible for it to be simultaneously isolationist and power-projecting.
Aside from the virtually non-existent Pat Buchanan wing, which seems to have no sway over our foreign affairs, there isn’t much isolationism in the modern Republican Party. Indeed, the strongest advocates for pulling inward on matters of trade and military policy are Democrats. None of the plausible presidential candidates of either party, though, fit the isolationist mold.
Regardless, isolationism and a belief in power projection are diametrically opposite. Isolationists believe in staying to ourselves rather than interjecting ourselves in matters abroad that aren’t an immediate and direct threat to our national security. Power projectionists believe that, as the Lone Remaining Superpower, little that happens in the world is outside our concern and that a proactive approach is more desirable than a reactionary one.
I’m not sure what an “insulationist” is, exactly, since it’s not a term of art. Perhaps it’s just another word for “isolationist” and a redundancy used for purposes of alliteration. Or maybe he’s talking about the radical closed border types. If the latter, it’s only true among the voting base, not among the serious candidates.