Sunday, July 03, 2011

Tim Pawlenty’s Foreign Policy Speech And The Neocon Distortion Of Ronald Reagan’s Legacy

In a speech this morning before the Council on Foreign Relations, Tim Pawlenty made it clear where he stands in the ongoing foreign policy debate among the Republican candidates for President:

Tim Pawlenty laid out a tough, hawkish vision of foreign policy Tuesday, slamming President Barack Obama as failing on Middle East policy and accusing fellow Republicans of a retreat of their own.

In other words, the version of 80′s history that Pawlenty and many other Republican hawks like to tell themselves isn’t really all that true. Yes, Reagan built up our defenses, and yes he talked tough when necessary. At the same time, though, he was actively looking to resume arms control negotiations with the Soviets, he wanted to ultimately reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world, when American troops were attacked by terrorists in Lebanon, and he withdrew and disengaged rather than getting us involved in a Lebanese Civil War. Most importantly, though, Reagan recognized something that Pawlenty doesn’t, that there’s nothing wrong with talking to your enemy and, in fact, that’s exactly who you should be talking to because the only alternative is that you end up fighting them.

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