Is Paul Ryan a neocon?
But there is another, more compelling reasonâ??apart from these Kremlinological tidbitsâ??to surmise that Ryan is sympathetic to neocon views. It is this: the surprising thing would be if Ryan rejected neocon theology. The doctrine is dominant in the GOP. It offers a useful cudgel with which to bash Democrats as pussyfooting when it comes to national security. There is no conceivable incentive, in other words, for Ryan to embrace realist views on foreign affairs. It would cause him no end of grief and make Ryan an object of suspicion on the Right, which currently reveres him. So it is almost axiomatic that Ryan, who likely has no more than a passing familiarity with foreign-affairs issues, is inclined towards neoconservatism.
It would also jibe with Ryan's legislative record. Ryan, we must remember, voted for the budget-busting bills of Bush-era, so it's only natural that he would endorse a foreign policy doctrine that puts its faith in the federal government's power abroad.
However, given that Ryan is now posing as a paragon of fiscal restraint it is a bit odd that this sensibility is apparently stopping at the water's edge.
Update: Larison has more:
Itâ??s important to understand that Ryan thinks about the U.S. role in the world in highly idealized and ideological terms. Even if Ryan had a record as a fiscal conservative at home, his vision for Americaâ??s role in the world is so expansive that it simply overrides any concerns about what the U.S. can afford. Ryan assumes that U.S. hegemony is essential, and any diminution of it would simply lead to â??chaos.â? As far as Ryan is concerned, subsidizing the defense of other wealthy countries in perpetuity is something the U.S. just has to keep doing.