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The Republican Party Is Losing Its Grip on Foreign Policy

Author: Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow
November 27, 2011
The Daily Beast


Americans can learn more about foreign policy from The Real Housewives of New Jersey than from Republican presidential hopefuls. At least the shrieks of the housewives speak to reality. The Republican wolves howl about a mostly bygone world of dire military threats, a world inhabited by global ghosts to be thwarted by waterboarding and wars. Most of them just don't see that the old right-wing rhetorical bromides that once scared Americans and dominated campaigning won't win future elections.

Today, most Americans are fed up with unending wars in uncertain places without vital purpose. Most rightly demand to hear how international affairs will affect their economy and their jobs. But today's Republicans—with the exception of Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul—still preach fire and brimstone to a congregation that's barely listening to the Bush-Cheney and Cold War anthems. Even many, if not most, Republican voters, including many Tea Partiers, have had it with calls to increase military spending, keep U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and start a new war with Iran—just like most other Americans. To be sure, promises to hang China from the nearest lamppost bring cheers from most voters, but at least this hysteria relates to the reality of trade and jobs.

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