In Republican debate after Republican debate, Americans of all political stripes have received radioactive levels of exposure to almost as many GOP candidates as Mitt Romney has had policy positions.
We have seen Michele Bachmann’s numb brain blame mental retardation on HPV vaccines, Rick Perry’s inebriated speeches extol the benefits of tax plans on index cards and Rick Santorum’s moral crusading against, well, santorum.
Last week, the Republicans held their national security debate, in which these seemingly simple-minded simians tried with earnest to articulate a presidential-sounding foreign policy agenda, pizza-man-related sex scandals aside. On stage last week was not a coherent ideology of well-conceived positions, but an inchoate cacophony of saber-rattling and flag-waving by the GOP.
The fall of the Berlin Wall and an abrupt conclusion of the Cold War at the end of the 20th century brought to a close the previously established foreign policy with which the Republican Party once governed America’s foreign relations.
With the defeat of the U.S.S.R. due to the internal weakness of the Soviet economy as well as its military overstretch — and not Ronald Regan’s superfluous defense buildup, which only prolonged the Cold War and amassed enormous deficits — the GOP no longer had a distant bogeyman to rally the nation against in order to preserve our military empire abroad and bloated defense budget at home.
The neoconservatives’ conquest of the Republican party came as the United States emerged from the Cold War victorious as the world’s last superpower. Neoconservative politicians (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz) and organizations (Project for a New American Century, American Enterprise Institute and the Hudson Institute) began articulating a new foreign policy.
It was no longer based on the bipartisan consensus of old, in which the United States and its allies would contain communism, but, rather, one predicated upon unilateral American diplomacy seeking to export liberal democratic capitalism abroad, behind the barrel of a gun if necessary. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, neoconservatives sold to the American public the false promise that the only hope for peace was through war in a media tour bordering on that of a propaganda blitz.
The neoconservative-dominated Republican Party, after having kowtowed lukewarm Democrats, plunged the U.S. military into two quagmires across the sand dunes of the Middle East. The crowning achievement of our collective efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan this past decade have been to bring about the deaths of over 6,300 American soldiers, 30,000 Afghanis and 100,000 Iraqi civilians after spending more than $3 trillion.
The blood and treasure that has been spent in the name of freedom and security have managed to bring us neither. Our national security has never been weaker in recent history, despite bombastic claims from the GOP that they would make the world safe for democracy.
At home, deployment of our national guardsmen to die in foreign lands has reduced our ability to protect our southern border against drug trafficking and illegal immigration. Overseas, the elimination of our formerly treasured Iraqi strongman during the Iran-Iraq war created a power vacuum in the Middle East that a newly emboldened Iran eagerly filled.
Massive suffering and exploitation on the part of millions of innocent Iraqis and Afghanis since the invasions of their countries have undermined the good will that the United States fostered after the Cold War, endangering Americans at home and abroad ever since.
The menagerie of GOP candidates today are a lot of old chickenhawks eager to send young doves to die. Republicans are not the party of peace and liberty that they claim themselves to be. The GOP is a party of torture and war.
Construction of our overseas penal colonies, from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to Abu Ghraib in Iraq, has led to systematic torture and flagrant human rights abuses. Declaration of our two unconstitutional wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has plunged us into a state of perpetual war where we continue to frivolously pour American life and wealth into the abyss.