The bigger problem, as my colleague Ben Domenech points out, is that the Republican debate as presently formulated is a false choice. Do Republicans have to pick between perpetual war or never war? The media focuses on an intra-party squabble between isolationists and neocons, when the real fight should pit realists against isolationists and neocons.

What’s achievable in the Ukraine and how far should the United State be willing to go? Have we had this debate? Because I feel like I’ve missed it. Seems to me there’s little if anything we can do about the Russia’s impending annexation of Crimea. Economic sanctions? Offering missile defense to Eastern European nations? Seizing the assets of Putin’s plutocratic buddies? Giving the Ukrainians (who aren’t exactly chaste in this entire affair) more foreign aid? OK. Go for it. The reality is we’re not going to war over Crimea. That view, it seems, is enough to make me an isolationist. Here’s McCain ripping the GOP this week for not moving fast enough to implement sanctions in the Senate:

“I will say to my friends who were objecting to this – and there are a number of them on my side – you can call yourself Republicans; that’s fine because that’s your voter registration. Don’t call yourself Reagan Republicans. Ronald Reagan would never – would never – let this kind of aggression go responded to by the American people.”