Magazine July 18, 2011, Issue

Imaginary Isolationism

Pat Buchanan continues not to be the Republican party

John McCain watched the first big Republican presidential-primary debate, and he didn’t like what he saw. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) was saying that America had no vital interest in Libya. Herman Cain seemed to say the same thing. Rep. Ron Paul (R., Tex.) said, “I’d bring [the troops] home as quickly as possible.” Mitt Romney’s answer to a question about Afghanistan emphasized his desire to bring the troops home, too. A few days later, on This Week with Christiane Amanpour, McCain said, “This is isolationism.”

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, another of the candidates in that debate, echoed McCain’s comments.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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