Is Republican Narrative on National Security Drawing on 2014 Playbook?

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Is Republican Narrative on National Security Drawing on 2014 Playbook?


Brian Katulis, Chairman of the Board at NSN
September 18, 2015 | WALL STREET JOURNAL

Five hours of debate among Republican presidential candidates Wednesday provided some insights into GOP views on national security. Sharp internal divisions remain, but glimmers of a new overall political narrative have started to emerge.

Republicans have been in political disarray on foreign policy since at least 2010 over the Iraq war, the new START arms-control agreement, and defense spending. These internal divides help explain why Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign offered a lot of rhetoric on the Middle East uprisings but no sharp substantive policy contrast to the Obama administration… Republican vulnerabilities include a lack of clear details on what they would do alternatively in situations such as Syria and some key emerging security questions such as cybersecurity and climate change. Democrats might benefit from shifting more focus to the security debate.

Ideally, Republicans and Democrats would seek to build consensus on some of these challenges. The country would benefit from a more strategic, forward-looking discussion of foreign policy. But this is a political season. Consensus is unlikely while rhetoric and sloganeering are inevitable. The best that we can hope for is a debate that seeks to elevate the discussion with clearer ideas and looks ahead more confidently about what the United States can do in the world in the coming years.


Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in 2011. [Gage Skidmore, accessed 9/21/15]

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