Moreover there are competing impulses.
As Robert Merry notes in the article below, the Democratic Party professes allegiance to a somewhat exhausted Wilsonism: we will keep on intervening abroad for humanitarian reasons, to prevent massacres of innocent people. We will also keep paying large sums to the United Nations, even though that body is paralyzed by Russia and China’s veto, and thus no help in the humanitarian mission. It is not clear why we keep doing this, or why we don’t use the money to try to create a different world body that could undertake humanitarian missions, but the idealist impulses are really too exhausted to try anything new.
The Republican Party is torn, but still dominated by the neo-conservatives. They are also Wilsonians, in that they want us to intervene in foreign messes. But they want us to do it for ideological rather than strictly humanitarian reasons. They want to save the world for democracy or preserve the American empire, which they regard as one and the same.
Merry says that Rand Paul is currently the only prominent dissenting voice. That is not quite true. Ted Cruz is another. But what is the nature of their dissent? Here Merry goes off the tracks by suggesting that dissent from today’s Wilsonian internationalism will necessarily be nationalist in spirit. Paul is not a nationalist, an isolationist, or a protectionist. He does not keep company with Pat Buchanan and other pull up the draw bridge nationalists. Paul is actually an internationalist, but an internationalist of a classic liberal type. He wants to trade and maintain peaceful relations with other people, not fight with them. He wants open borders, honest exchange, honest international money, an end to global cronyism and corruption, and he expects that this will gradually create prosperity everywhere, which will reduce the chances of conflict and war.