What is striking is the reluctance of everybody else, Democrats and Republicans alike, to effectively defend the ideals of American global leadership. Since Senator John McCain’s passing, Republicans have lacked a voice willing to consistently defend the importance of democracy, rule of law, and self-governance in guiding U.S. foreign policy decisions – even though individual congressional decisions, including on Russia, have been mostly congruent with that view rather than with Trump’s more dismal approach.
Democrats are not faring much better. “Blame America First” has a long tradition on the left. More recently, crude foreign policy realism captured the imagination of many progressives disheartened with the costs of America’s global leadership. President Obama’s frustration with America’s allies, shared with tThe Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, is close cousin of Trump’s Twitter outbursts. One should not be too surprised by the fact that George Soros is joining forces with the Koch brothers, notorious for their foreign policy isolationism, in an effort to “end endless war.”
If a rethinking of the old tenets of faith and perhaps even a renegotiation of the substance underpinning U.S. alliances is in order, forgetting everything the past has taught us about geopolitics is a mistake.