"Democrats Are as Screwed Up as Republicans."
Yes. Republicans aren't the only ones who have some soul-searching to do in the coming years. The growing chasm between classical liberal internationalists and ardent realpolitikniks affects both parties these days.
The Arab Spring brought into high definition the difference between those who believed the overthrow of the Middle East's sclerotic dictators was a hopeful sign for the evolution of a region almost untouched by reform, and those who saw the devil we don't know as a far greater menace than the stability with which we have grown comfortable. A nasty spat erupted within the Democratic administration over the Libya intervention in which "harpies" -- coincidentally, three senior female Obama officials -- were accused of dragging a reluctant president into an unnecessary war in which America had few interests. Obama found allies on the right, and plenty of opponents on the left. The opposite is true as well.
Now, the question of what to do about the war in Syria has divided those who think the humanitarian and strategic imperatives for greater U.S. involvement are clear from those who believe Syria is a maelstrom that will suck the United States into an Iraq-like war. Senior scholars from the centrist Brookings Institution find themselves agreeing with my colleagues at the conservative American Enterprise Institute that America must do more to overthrow dictator Bashar al-Assad; the libertarian Cato Institute has climbed under the ideological covers with the liberal Center for American Progress to oppose greater U.S. involvement.
Ditto the battle over the Muslim Brotherhood's coming to power in Egypt and the question of U.S. support for "moderate" Islamist governments there and elsewhere. Is Obama facilitating the rise of Islamist extremists, an al Qaeda-lite, that will result in a new era of hostility toward Americans, Christians, Jews, and moderate Muslims? Or is he patiently waiting through the inevitable rocky transition that all countries make from dictatorship to democracy? Suffice it to say, those who see the former rather than the latter are not all to be found in the Republican Party. Far from it.
It is less heralded than the GOP's struggles, but a battle is going on for the soul of the Democratic Party as well. It's unclear whether the future will be driven by the party's internationalist wing or by the protectionism and America-first instincts of labor unions and groups like Code Pink. Yes, Republicans need to get their act together. But so do Democrats.
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