The expected Election Day Republican wave that broke over our heads is a disaster for the anti-interventionist cause in the immediate sense — but there may be a silver lining.
The disaster is embodied in the various GOP warmongers who will be placed in key positions in Congress, and a good case could be made that among the worst of the worst will be the probable majority leader in the House: Eric Cantor.
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Cantor is a walking, breathing stereotype, a neocon through and through, who pays lip service to the tea party-ish idea of limiting government spending, but is in reality committed to lavishing tax dollars on any project as long as it can be somehow construed as contributing to US security. Thus, ForeignPolicy.com references his views on foreign aid and the budget:
Cantor told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the president’s proposed budget might have to be rejected outright if Republicans take power — after separating out U.S. aid for Israel, of course.
Cantor is a big fan of Israel’s, and has gone so far as to say that, in the context of tensions between Washington and Tel Aviv over the settlements and other issues, Israel is not the problem — leaving unspoken the presumption the US is at fault. In line with the Israel lobby’s campaign to goad us into war with Iran, he demands that the US cease negotiations with Tehran, impose draconian sanctions unilaterally, and openly threaten the use of force.
Another rabid Republican interventionist is Sen. John Kyl, the junior Senator from Arizona, and currently the minority whip. If the Republicans take the Senate, he’ll be in a position to stake out his claim on foreign policy issues, in which he has taken an inordinate interest in the past. His major shtick is opposition to the START treaty, and he shares this opposition with his Senate Republican colleague, Jim DeMint, of South Carolina. As ForeignPolicy.com puts it:
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Most incoming Tea Party candidates don’t focus on foreign policy, but many will owe allegiance to DeMint because he has been filling their campaign coffers. They could be inclined to follow suit with his unilateralist, militaristic worldview, which many see as based on his neoconservative ideology rather than a realistic pursuit of U.S. interests in [a] multipolar world order.
One example of his influence over the tea party candidates: DeMint was an early endorser of Rand Paul, whose move toward neoconnish foreign policy positions provoked my ire in this column. Now that Rand has been elected, will he embrace the neocons, or will he stay true to his nationwide libertarian constituency? Of course, if we were talking about his father, Ron Paul, we would have nothing to worry about. As it is, however
Senator John McCain will retain his position on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and, if the GOP wave is big enough to take the Senate, he’ll be the chairman. Together with Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), who is slated to become chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the two of them will be pressuring President Obama to keep capitulating to Gen. David Petraeus and the hawks in the Pentagon. The crunch will come when it comes time to draw down the troops in Afghanistan, in the summer of 2011.