The Future Is Realism,

Anthony J. Constantini, writing his Ph.D. on populism and early American democracy at the University of Vienna in Austria

Recent Republican primary elections have made one thing clear: The future of Republican foreign policy is based on the world as it is, not as one wishes it to be. This may seem like an obvious concept to many normal Americans, but for decades successive administrations made policy based on what they wished reality would be instead of on reality as it was. Bill Clinton desired to “enlarge” the democratic sphere of influence, and in 2000, political scientist Kenneth Waltz wrote that he expected “the United States [would soon] take measures to enhance democracy around the world” and that the “task, one fears, will be taken up by the American military with some enthusiasm.”

He was correct, as any reader of The American Conservative knows. What followed was a series of wars of ideals, overseen by presidents from both parties. The initial invasion of Afghanistan under George W. Bush was clearly a result of 9/11, but the following 20-year occupation was bent on building a liberal democracy in a place which did not want one. […]

Over the course of the war in Ukraine, it has become clear which way the cookie is crumbling. Members of the establishment, especially the Democrats, have accelerated their previous foreign policy of idealism into one of utter fantasy. Meanwhile, the future of GOP foreign policy appears primed for reality.

Consider the case of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent statement that the war in Ukraine “must end with [Crimea’s] liberation.” Such a goal is effectively impossible; for Russia to relinquish Crimea it would have to face total state collapse and forget that its has nuclear weapons. But in the midst of war, it is understandable for a statesman to give his soldiers something aspirational to fight for; he can work toward a palatable agreement during the inevitable negotiations. What is not understandable is the Biden administration’s reaction, or lack thereof, to these pronouncements. Far from quietly trying to reel in Ukraine’s president, this administration has effectively given Ukraine the go-ahead, implying that support for Ukraine will go as long as Ukraine wishes to fight, regardless of whether it aids U.S. interests. Läs artikel