What the heck is “near-isolationism“? So will it be okay next time the leftists call us near-racists or near-homophobes? It’s not even that it’s a bad word, necessarily (though it’s obviously meant that way); it’s just that, as Ramesh pointed out last month in the magazine, it’s not accurate in describing any of the major presidential candidates. In fact, I’m not sure I’d even classify Ron Paul as an isolationist, though you can make an argument for it in his case given his ideological commitment to non-interventionism as dogma rather than a pragmatic choice that could change with changed circumstances. But if you want real isolationism, look to Japan’s Sakoku period starting in the 17th century, when it was a capital crime to leave Japan or for a foreigner to enter. Short of that, we’re just debating the nature and extent of America’s interests in the world, and how best to promote and defend them. Let’s skip the name-calling.