A new consensus is forming about the future of U.S. foreign policy. As we noted yesterday, former U.S. Special Envoy Martin Indyk has joined the growing ranks of Democrats who oppose the Administration’s rapprochement with Iran. Dan Drezner, writing in the Washington Post, elaborates on a point we’ve been making for a while here:
First, Obama’s foreign policy is going to have very few defenders over the next two years outside of the White House. With the partial exception of Rand Paul, all of the Republicans are going to be way more hawkish than Obama. This means you’re going to hear variations on this theme from the GOP for the next two years. As for the Democrats, all the extant evidence suggests that Hillary Clinton is more hawkish than Barack Obama.So the criticisms of Obama are all going to come from the same direction, and they’re going to come from both Democrats and Republicans. Furthermore, these criticisms are not going to come just from the candidates — they’re going to come from every foreign policy wonk who’s advising them/aspiring to work for them. This doesn’t mean these critiques are necessarily wrong. The bipartisan nature of the critique is likely to persist, however.
There are many reasons for this absence of support—for instance, Hillary Clinton’s preeminence in the Democratic field, and, some might argue, the hard lessons learned trying “reset” initiatives over the past few years. But the consensus on foreign policy is also trending right, and away from the President, because of the steady re-emergence of the Jacksonian impulse since the ISIS beheadings this summer.This rightward tilt is happening not only at the highest levels of the foreign policy establishment, but also in the wider public as well. As William Galston, an editorial board member here at TAI, points out at Brookings:
The guiding principle of the Obama administration’s policy may be summed up simply: No boots on the ground. Advisors and Special Forces as needed, but no large and long-term deployments of ground forces. That principle has shaped the administration’s response to events in Libya and, more recently, to the rise of ISIS.But according to today’s CBS Poll, the American people have shifted away from their former caution and favor the use of American ground forces to combat ISIS. As recently as last September, only 39% favored that course, while 55% were opposed. Today, 57% favor ground forces; only 39% remain opposed.
The classic mistake of America’s enemies is to confuse the hesitancy and delicacy and half-heartedness of American peacetime and small-war policy with our true nature. Judging by trends in both establishment and public opinion, the time of temporizing may be drawing to a close.