My friend Robert O’Brien was among Mitt Romney’s senior foreign policy team, a senior official at the U.N. during the Bush years, and is managing partner of the Los Angeles office of the national law firm Arent Fox where he litigates complex commercial disputes and international disputes. You have heard him on my show many times and he has become a good friend over the past few years. In Friday’s National Interest, Robert raises the obvious question about the echoes of the ’30s most sensible people are hearing right now as the authoritarian regimes of Iran, the PRC and Russia and grow stronger and stronger and and more aggressive by the day, with the Crimean snatch by Russia just the latest in a long sequence of foreign policy setbacks to the West against the backdrop of rapidly declining defense budgets at home and among our allies.
Read O’Brien’s piece, and then order Robert Kaplan’s Asia’s Cauldron if you want some details on just the PRC’s role in the gathering storm, or at least read the transcript with my interview with Kaplan, the country’s leading reporter of events in Asia. The leaders of the Congressional GOP have to begin to follow the lead of Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan and, yes, of longtime national security hawks Lindsey Graham and John McCain. A GOP primary like the Senate contest in Georgia that features a defense-savvy candidate like Congressman Jack Kingston shouldn’t even be close, nor should a general election in a place like Arkansas be tight where the GOP has put forward one of the brightest members of the House and a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, Army Ranger Tom Cotton, against a hapless legacy senator like Mark Pryor. Seriousness has to be the approach in the fall at every level, and the neo-isolationism of a handful of very loud fringes rejected. (No, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul isn’t a neo-isolationst, but many of his supporters are and his supporters who stand for a robust defense should work hard to make sure that message is carried everywhere.)