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The GOP's foreign policy platform isn't worried about the debt.


I spent some time reading the GOP foreign policy platform yesterday. Like any campaign document, there's a limit to how much stock we can put in such things, but it is a useful bellwether for party thinking on such matters. So what does it tell us?

The most striking thing to me is the platform's complete repudiation of the kind of limited government principles espoused in the domestic chapters of the platform. The title of the foreign policy platform is "American Exceptionalism," so you can already tell where this is going: the same federal government that the party does not trust to manage the domestic economy, or whose actions have a distorting and largely negative effect when acting at home, suddenly transforms itself into God's appointed deputy for spreading freedom to the world's peoples.

It's a breathtaking transformation and one that is, ideologically at least, nonsensical. The national security state is the antithesis of limited government.

At one point, rather amazingly, the platform slams President Obama's national security strategy as "budget-constrained." In other words, when it comes to the federal government's obligation to American citizen's welfare, education, infrastructure, etc. there must be a strict accounting (something, incidentally, I agree with), but at the water's edge, any and all budgetary concerns are literally not operable. It's a subversion of the very idea of strategy - i.e. the matching of means and ends.

A strategy that is not "budget-constrained" is what's known in polite company as a "fantasy."

(AP Photo)