The Washington-based Republican Party has reverted to isolationist tendencies that are harmful to U.S. national security. This variant of isolationism is very different than the kind the Grand Old Party practiced during the years between the First and Second World War, but it has the same practical effect of distancing the United States from its international partners. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, senior figures in the Republican Party sought to keep the United States away from Europe’s troubles by opposing military preparedness measures. Now, many Republican Senators and Representatives are all for beefing up defense spending and inserting U.S. forces into trouble spots – while eschewing the value of diplomacy. This instinct has been highlighted on the Iran deal. Military options and diplomacy are both needed for hard cases. Favoring the former while disparaging the latter constitutes a new form of isolationism, creating growing distances between Washington and most of America’s friends and allies who value diplomatic settlements over kinetic options.
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