Reprinted from Antiwar
Most Americans don't think much about politics, let alone foreign policy issues, as they go about their daily lives. It's not that they don't care: it's just that the daily grind doesn't permit most people outside of Washington, D.C. the luxury of contemplating the fate of nations with any regularity. There is one exception, however, and that is during election season, and specifically -- when it comes to foreign policy -- every four years, when the race for the White House begins to heat up. The President, as commander in chief, shapes US foreign policy: indeed, in our post-constitutional era, now that Congress has abdicated its responsibility, he has the de facto power to single-handedly take us into war. Which is why, paraphrasing Trotsky, you may not be interested in politics, but politics is certainly interested in you.
The most recent episode of the continuing GOP reality show, otherwise known as the presidential debates, certainly gave us a glimpse of what we are in for if the candidates on that stage actually make it into the Oval Office -- and, folks, it wasn't pretty, for the most part. But there were plenty of bright spots.
This was supposed to have been a debate about economics, but in the Age of Empire there is no real division between economic and foreign policy issues. That was brought home by the collision between Marco Rubio and Rand Paul about half way through the debate when Rubio touted his child tax credit program as being "pro-family." A newly-aggressive and articulate Rand Paul jumped in with this:
"Is it conservative to have $1 trillion in transfer payments -- a new welfare program that's a refundable tax credit? Add that to Marco's plan for $1 trillion in new military spending, and you get something that looks, to me, not very conservative."
Rubio's blow-dried exterior seemed to fray momentarily, as he gave his "it's for the children" reply: