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.

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Read more at Axios

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

 

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship