American Conservatives Against John McCain’s Foreign Policy

A few sessions from now we’ll analyze international relations from a state-level perspective.  The great debate in IR, with respect to the state level, is whether state level characteristics such as economic system, political regime, etc., are determinative in explaining and predicting state behavior at the international level.  As we have already discussed, the neorealists have a ready answer: the only state-level characteristic that matters in foreign affairs is power.  The liberals, of course, have a different viewpoint, as do radicals and constructivists.   Notice one word that was absent from the preceding two sentences–conservative.  What are the elements of a conservative foreign policy?  [There is, of course, a neoconservative approach (or theory) in IR, but what about conservative, with the neo prefix?  Moreover, does the ideological viewpoint of the U.S. President matter in the way that foreign policy decisions in the White House are made?

To help answer the second question, I would like to introduce you to a group of self-professed American conservatives, who banded together in 2002 and created The American Conservative magazine.  How do those in charge of the magazine define conservatism and what are their views of the upcoming presidential election?

We believe conservatism to be the most natural political tendency, rooted in man’s taste for the familiar, for family, for faith in God. We believe that true conservatism has a predisposition for the institutions and mores that exist. So much of what passes for contemporary conservatism is wedded to a kind of radicalism—fantasies of global hegemony, the hubristic notion of America as a universal nation for all the world’s peoples, a hyperglobal economy. In combination with an increasingly unveiled contempt for America’s long-standing allies, this is more a recipe for disaster.

Against it, we take our stand.

Consistent with their view of conservatism, they are worried (terrified?) with the prospect of a McCain presidency.  Rather than excerpt from a recent article in the magazine that assesses what a President McCain means for the future of American foreign policy, I’ll provide a link to the article and give you the title and a shot of the cover:

“The Madness of John McCain–A militarist suffering from acute narcissism and armed with the Bush Doctrine is not fit to be commander in chief.”