National Review’s Byron York offers some useful reflections on the intraparty debate going on the GOP right now in "Same Old Party: Tranquility in the Ranks" in the latest issue of World Affairs (unfortunately only the abstract is available online to non-subscribers).
On the surface, Byron notes that the fault line between neoconservatives and other varieties seems not to be opening up as many have predicted (and hoped for). By Byron wonders whether the seeming reluctance to think more openly and critically about the Iraq War is a good thing.
I detect another subtext in his article that he may not have intended. Byron notes that on the campaign trail last year, most rank-and-file Republicans (and some candidates, especially Huckabee) were distinctly uninterested in foreign affairs. Is this simply a function of war weariness over Iraq, or might it be a sign that a large part of the Republican base is reverting slowly back to its isolationism of the pre-Cold War era? It used to be in the late years of the Cold War that it was liberals and Democrats who were uninterested or unserious about foreign affairs. Is the shoe now on the other foot?
Back in 1985 John P. Roche wrote (in my mind) one of the most memorable features in NR’s history lamenting the decline of liberal internationalism. It would be a pity if someone a few years hence has to write the companion feature on the decline of conservative internationalism.
(Cross-posted at The Corner.)