Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Party of Hawks?

I don’t pretend to be a political expert, but it occurs to me that Marco Rubio took himself out of the presidential sweepstakes when he angrily attacked President Obama for his decision to normalize relations with Cuba. And those Republicans who fulminate against the Administration for the decision to support the Congressional report on Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (read torture) may effectively brand their party the Party of Hawks and seal their defeat in 2016.

Now, I am an unabashed conservative, one who instinctively opposes most of the economic tendencies of President Obama. I am convinced that he is no friend of business, and the more successful a business, the less likely it will find favor at the White House. But on Cuba and on foreign policy, the President, it seems to me, is on the right side of history – and of the American electorate.

The hawkish wing of the Republican Party, which is in control of their party, argues for a “more muscular” foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, and they have enough supporters to persuade them that their position is popular. Dick Cheney has famously supported torture, and Marco Rubio has a position paper in today’s Journal attacking the thawing of relations with Cuba. Both receive standing ovations from what they see as their base.

They should be careful.  If they are successful in derailing the normalization of relations with Cuba and in promoting American boots on the ground in the Middle East, they will be setting up a Democratic landslide in 2016. Most Americans are war-weary, and the reaction of most of my friends on Cuba is “about time.”  Of course, I could be wrong, and Americans could be spoiling for a fight.  Time will tell.