GOP foreign policy elite still clueless

On foreign policy, Obama is trying to undo the damage of the Bush years. Why do David Frum and other Republicans want to stop him?

Daniel Larison

Republican criticism of President Obama's foreign policy is increasingly divorced from reality. David Frum's recent column outlining Obama's alleged failures is a prime example. Indeed, it's part of a pattern of behavior in which Republicans have tried to transform their greatest weakness—the conduct of foreign affairs—into a political weapon against Obama. It is scarcely nine months since the end of an era marked by some of the greatest foreign policy failures in postwar history. Yet the perpetrators and their supporters are now condemning Obama's attempts to undo the damage. Even when these critiques are not factually false, they reflect the bankruptcy of mainstream Republican foreign policy thinking and demonstrate that many Republicans still have no idea why the country turned against them.

Frum begins his catalogue of Obama's alleged mistakes by claiming that the administration is cutting military spending. This is not true; the Defense Department's budget grew well beyond the rate of inflation this year and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, Republicans made this charge freely during the campaign last year and they have continued to level it against Obama ever since.

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