Congressional Republicans Increasingly Champion a Restrained Foreign Policy

Last week, the Senate voted 86 to 11 in favor of a nearly $40 billion military- and humanitarian-aid package for Ukraine. The House of Representatives had passed the bill by a vote of 368 to 57 the week before. All of the opposing votes, in both houses, were cast by Republicans. And while the normal partisan dynamics of one party opposing a measure supported by a president of the other can partially explain some of the Republican vote, Lachlan Markay believes that an ideological shift is also at play. He examines the small but growing GOP coalition urging a more timid approach to foreign-policy spending and intervention.

Republican lawmakers—following President Trump’s lead—are working with a wide range of conservative groups to pull back American support for Ukraine, the Middle East, and Europe. . . . Trump is backing candidates who’ve explicitly broken with Republican foreign-policy orthodoxy.

Senator Rand Paul, who led the Senate opposition [to the Ukraine aid package], huddled in his office with several of the coalition’s key players before the House voted on the measure earlier this month. . . . They discussed messaging and strategy on Ukraine but also U.S. foreign policy more generally.

Objections to the Ukraine bill fell into three categories: strategic differences over America’s policy role in world affairs, procedural objections to the bill’s speedy passage through Congress, and concerns the money could be better put to use domestically.

“We’re going to come out on the back end of this—probably in a period of months, but certainly by 2024—with a strong conservative and libertarian consensus about a more restrained, but still very robust, American foreign policy,” said Kevin Roberts, who late last year took over as president of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The Heritage Foundation, once a bastion of Reaganism, itself released a statement criticizing the Ukraine bill. While the authors of this particular manifesto for American weakness all come from the political right, their arguments don’t sound very different from those recently proffered by the progressive Democratic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her recent complaints about U.S. aid to Israel.

Read more at Axios

More about: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Isolationism, Republicans, U.S. Foreign policy, U.S. Politics

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security