History suggests that American alliances of convenience with unsavory dictators rarely last or turn out well for us, whether it’s Stalin, Marcos, the Shah, Saddam Hussein against the Iranians, Pakistan… these relationships almost always come back to bite us. When the masked cops with sticks start beating the local peasants, we end up rooting for the cops because technically the regime is protecting our interests.

But again, the U.S. establishment foreign policy consensus — a consensus that I often agree with! — is so deeply ingrained that some of its adherents sometimes can’t believe that anyone could honestly disagree; anyone who’s challenging it must be doing so out of bad faith or sinister motives.

Until Hillary Clinton or anyone else generates some actual proof, treat Tulsi Gabbard for what she appears to be — an impassioned isolationist who believes the United States has no business attempting to spread our values or stand up for human rights abroad, and who’s comfortable working with brutal dictators if the end result is fewer American casualties. Not every bad or controversial idea in public life is a sign of a sinister conspiracy.