Embracing incoherence: Pawlenty's foreign-policy problem

As Pawlenty put it, pandering to his receptive CFR audience, “parts of the Republican party now seem to be trying to out-bid the Democrats in appealing to isolationist sentiments. This is no time for uncertain leadership in either party.” Or, as Graham eloquently reasons, “Shut up, already.”

This is about as cockamamie as it gets. Yes, there is a Ron Paul wing of the GOP that would have America retreat from the world. But it is a small wing. The rest of us are not opposed to interventions. We’re opposed to stupid interventions — the kind that make Representative Paul’s critique sound persuasive until you start thinking about how prosperous the United States stands to be once we radically slash the armed forces that guarantee global trade and stability.

The “uncertain leadership” that Governor Pawlenty decries can be avoided only when leaders have certainty and the gumption to act on it. We do not have much certainty at the moment, except when it comes to that which our leaders have no stomach to face: mainstream Islam is anti-freedom, it is not a “radical” fringe, and it is on the rise in today’s Islamic Middle East. It is also rabidly anti-American, which is why America-bashing has become the daily political rhetoric of nascent Islamic “democracies,” where popular elections are a poor substitute for real democratic culture.