Remember that the bitterest opponents of the Clinton-era U.S. interventions in Kosovo and Haiti were conservatives like Tom DeLay, who condemned the Clinton administration for treating “foreign policy as social work,” in Michael Mandelbaum’s evocative phrase. The post-9/11 moment represented a departure from this conservative suspicion of nation-building, as Jacksonian sentiments were yoked to the ambitious project of building democracies in the Muslim world. But now that Obama, a man most conservatives dislike and distrust, is the steward of that effort, those conservative instincts are making a comeback. Jason Chaffetz represents the beginning of a wave—and it’s not obvious that Obama can do anything to stop it.
Instincts my ass. What do Clinton and Obama have in common that separates them from Bush?
I already told you what is going to happen. There will be a growing right flank that opposes the escalation in Afghanistan that will become more vocal in the next couple of months. And then, after the “surge,” when Obama starts to draw down forces in Afghanistan, this right flank will become noticeably quieter and then start to yell “defeatist” and “soft on national security” and “Obama wants to lose” along with the rank and file.
We all know what is going on here. Chaffetz might be an outlier, and may honestly believe in bringing home the troops, but anyone who thinks there is a growing legitimate “dove” movement in the GOP is smoking crack rock.