Republicanism of your Great-Grandfather

Ron DeSantis's remarks on Ukraine were textbook realism and a throwback to an old Republican Party. The post Your Great-Grandfather’s Republicanism appeared first on The American Conservative.

The most bizarre combination was found on a New York Post editorial concern. Ron DeSantis is finally starting to make thoughtful comments on foreign policy. Tucker Carlson asked DeSantis for comments on Ukraine. He said that America has many strategic interests, including the southern border, energy independence and the rise China. However, being further embroiled in a territorial dispute with Russia and Ukraine is not one.

“The U.S. should not offer assistance that could lead to the deployment of American troops, or allow Ukraine to engage in offensive activities beyond its borders. F-16s and long range missiles should be ruled out.” DeSantis added: “These moves could explicitly draw the United States into conflict and bring us closer to a war between the two most powerful nuclear powers in the world. This risk is unacceptable. The D.C. foreign policy interventionists would love a policy of “regime change” in Russia, which would increase the risk of conflict and make it more likely that nuclear weapons will be used.


The answer was textbook foreign policy realism. It almost felt like it had been written in the International Relations department of MIT or at the pages of International Security. The New York Post acknowledged DeSantis’s original point regarding American interest: “Fine, America faces no direct danger from Russia. This is more than just a territorial dispute. It is an attack on the entire order of the world and a violation of the US’s vital interests. It is simpler still: We should not meddle in any way that isn’t in our best interests.

All the usual suspects reacted to DeSantis’s comments, including Lindsey Graham and David French, as well as Bill Kristol who compared him to an “appeaser” and displayed their Wikipedia-level knowledge about the historical event. Julia Ioffe, who once stated that Russia was safer then Donald Trump’s America, went on to claim that DeSantis was an accidental Putinist.

The major reason the consensus foreign policy is falling apart is not due to structural reasons, such as America’s declining relative power, internal decay and loss of identity and family kinship. It is possible that the American people are now seeing through the guilt-by-association nonsense.

It is a fact that unipolarity will end. This is evident even without graphs or charts. Primacy has been proven fiscally unsustainable. Americans are increasingly concerned about their border, crumbling infrastructure, life quality and law and order.

Any slight deviation from consensus foreign policies invites a reaction like the Angel Trap from Saw: The more you try and escape from what is slowly killing you, it becomes more vicious. In this instance, DeSantis is confronted with the same dynamic. It’s generated by a gaggle narrative-weavers and intellectual peasants, who are ideologically stuck at the mid-90s. National security has-beens slanderously label him a fascist autoritarian Putin sympathizer.


DeSantis has avoided foreign policy so far. This is not DeSantis’ comfort lane. As an instinctive nationalist, it seems he is more interested in the internal problems of America and how policy can reverse them. He correctly identified the activist-churning organizations that are trying to change the structure of the debate in this country. Others have taken notice. “DeSantis has sparked so many cultural conflicts that it’s hard to keep track, but he’s acted most aggressively in education,” an Atlantic essay stated. Another Vanity Fair dubbed DeSantis “the more-competent ideologie heir of Trump moment,” as leaders who are “the same autocratic cloth They are not the type of leaders we’re used to seeing in a democracy.”

It’s a known fact that Americans, and Republicans specifically, have lost faith in the false promises of interventionism. The common refrain among the sophisticates, however, is that this isn’t the Republican Party of my father’s generation. True. This is not the Republicanism our grandfathers practiced. This is a return to an older, deeper worldview. Consider the fact that both Trump and DeSantis don’t want to get further in the European sinkhole. Both are much more interested in Mexico than China.

Their shared popularity within Republican Party. When was the last time there was such a dramatic shift ? DeSantis’ choice of Carlson’s show as a way to highlight his foreign policy realism instincts demonstrates his ability to understand the shifting lines within his party, the threats posed from his potential adversaries, and the general mood.

DeSantis is going to have a lot of work ahead of him. To change the overall strategy of the country, one doesn’t have to be a foreign-policy president. These same instincts, which led the United States in overstretching its foreign policy and promoting rights abroad frequently through force, are also the same instincts who increasingly consider conservatism an illiberal ideology and, therefore, functionally, no different from fascism.

Last year I wrote.

Think about the institutional push to “fight fascism” both at home and abroad. Anything that is more than a few inches from Trotsky will be considered fascist. Consider the coordinated leaks; the comments about abortion laws from the national security bureaucracy; the Covid-19 mandates on members of the armed forces; the intelligence agencies’ hunt for “right-wing terrorists” while completely ignoring BLM and Antifa violence; the critical race theory-induced federal reading materials; the billions of tax dollars spent in global advocacy and LGBT rights promotion at home and abroad, through government agencies, USAID, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, embassies, and national-security-funded NGOs and “civil society orgs” abroad. These policies have the same people behind them. They share the same ideology and promote the same worldview.

However, the reaction to DeSantis’s foreign policy pronouncements shows that there is more at work. The liberal internationalists and their Neoconservative counterparts want to return to an ideological monoculture. However, this is only the last sliver of a panicked and crumbling worldview. Trump’s revolution was not a single event. Both the structural forces and public mood are becoming increasingly hostile to utopian “permanent socialist revolutions” in semifeudal backwaters with no strategic value. If DeSantis can gut the woke and weaponized national security bureaucracy and the universities-to-“disinfo experts”-to-NGOs-to-foreign policy pipeline, then that would be a better day’s work than any Republican president since Richard Nixon.

It would also be a very brutal fight. Every cell that is part of the “total state” national security bureaucracy will be able to resist a cull. The Prudent Republicans know this and are confident that they will receive the support of the public to push our foreign policy in a conservative, realist direction. DeSantis should scream God and St. George, and Calvin Coolidge while he’s at the same time, and then confidently go after the dragon.

More Stories

Stay informed by joining TruthRow

24/7 coverage from 1000+ journalists. Subscriber-exclusive events. Unmatched political and international news.

You can cancel anytime