America Needs No More Neo-Imperial Nonsense by Patrick J. Buchanan

Having learnt from his father’s defeat, George W. Bush offered a “more humble” policy. But after September 11, he had a Damascene conversion, went nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq, and declared the US’s goal was “to end tyranny in our world”. Americans responded by relieving the Republican party of both houses of Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008.

Triumphant in the first Gulf war, George H.W. Bush, in October 1991, went before the UN to declare that the US’s goal was now to build a “New World Order”.

Rejecting this as Wilsonian utopianism, my 1992 presidential campaign called for an end to US military intervention where no vital interest was imperilled, for federal action to secure our southern border and for a halt to the outsourcing of US manufacturing jobs.

We advocated a Hamiltonian policy to support industry and a Jeffersonian foreign policy of peaceful commerce with all nations but entangling alliances with none. And we were denounced as isolationists and protectionists.

We lost. But Mr Bush lost too, when Ross Perot, running on the same theme – putting America first – stripped away a third of the coalition Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan put together, leaving Mr Bush with an incumbent’s smallest share of the vote since William Howard Taft.

Mr Bush’s foreign policy record could not save him. The US was looking inward in 1992, as it does today. As Mitt Romney burnishes his foreign policy credentials this week, he should keep this lesson in mind.


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