On Monday, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney offered his foreign policy vision in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute. But that speech, according to conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, was a little too close to the “neocon” agenda for comfort.
In an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s radio show on Tuesday, Buchanan, the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?,” said Romney ought to distance himself from former President George W. Bush’s hawkish record on foreign policy, which came to define neoconservative ideology.
“I’m afraid some of the neocons are pushing [Romney] back toward this same agenda, the ‘freedom agenda,’ or ‘we’re going to end tyranny in the world’ — this Manichean view of the Middle East where the good guys are on our side and the bad guys on the other side. There are bad guys, and frankly there are probably good guys on both sides of these struggles. And the United States has no vital interests in who rules in Damascus. … Do we really want to go to war and get ourselves involved there and overthrow a regime and what we get is what we have in Egypt?”
Buchanan reminded listeners of former President Ronald Reagan’s decision to intervene in Lebanon in 1983, which resulted in the deaths of 241 American servicemen after the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was bombed. Reagan immediately withdrew the U.S. presence in Lebanon and carried the burden with him until he left office in 1989, according to Buchanan.
“He learned from that, and good heavens, we ought to have learned from these last two wars,” Buchanan said.
Ingraham, the host, said Americans are weary about interventionist policies and proposed putting forth a “war tax” to gauge if Americans would support military action in Syria.
“America is — what are we, 25 percent of the world’s economy?” Buchanan said. “You cannot be isolationist. The question is, do you want to endlessly intervene in these struggles to sort these affairs out? To put in power governments that are not only friendly to you, but are going to have values like yours? That is an impossibility in that part of the world.”
Buchanan pointed out that China, which has avoided recent military conflicts, is thriving economically.
“Will somebody explain to me how China has suffered from not having involved itself in three wars in the last decade? They have stayed out. They’ve got people all over these places trading with everyone, dealing with everyone. They’re making money, making profits. They got plenty of trade over there. But they don’t involve themselves in the internal political affairs of these countries.”