What Republicans need now is a vigorous contest of ideas on national security and foreign policy. This contest can and should be conducted respectfully and without name-calling, which is something that even an old whacko-bird like me must remember from time to time. …

I cannot recall another time when our international challenges have been more complex or more uncertain. The project of European integration is facing existential pressures. The global economy continues its rapid shift toward the Pacific. The rise of China, India, and other great powers is shifting the balance of power in Asia and the world. North Korea and Iran are developing nuclear and missile capabilities that constitute a direct threat to the United States and our allies. The old geopolitical order in the Middle East and North Africa continues to collapse and an epic struggle is underway to define what takes its place. …

Protecting our national security, as always, requires American leadership and an internationalist foreign policy. But the American people today want to do less, not more. So the key question, especially for Republicans like me, is: How do we make internationalism viable and sustainable amid today’s political realities?

Right now, the political momentum among Republicans is with those who want to do less — who want to slash foreign aid, cut defense spending, pull back from the world, and constrain the president. These positions haven’t triumphed, but support for them is building. And that support will continue to build among Republicans if the only options they have are a status quo they don’t like — and the politically popular position to cut more, do less, and disengage from the world. It is incumbent upon internationalists like me to offer my fellow Republicans and all Americans a better alternative — to fashion a new Republican internationalism.