The GOP foreign policy civil war is real

The newcomers will likely gain reinforcements in J.D. Vance, who has to be considered the favorite to replace retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman, and perhaps even Blake Masters in Arizona. That’s not enough to put McConnell in the minority, but it is a caucus within the caucus.

There is also a case that the newcomers are not so new. They can trace their lineage back to Pat Buchanan, Robert Taft, all the way to Calvin Coolidge. Some would even dispute how much Ronald Reagan really belonged to the neoconservatives.

Since the end of the Cold War, whenever conservatives have started to have an argument over foreign policy, the dialogue was short-lived. Consider how the 1990s Buchanan presidential bids gave way to the nomination of George W. Bush in 2000, followed by John McCain eight years later. Similarly, conservative opposition to the Kosovo war fell to the desire for a more activist foreign policy after 9/11 and the Republicans who opposed Barack Obama on Libya and Syria were once again sidelined when Mitt Romney won the presidential nomination in 2012.

It remains to be seen whether this time is different and where other rising Republicans — think Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — take their stand. But the GOP’s Mitch and Rand Show isn’t going off the air anytime soon.

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