J.E. Dyer:Palin Outlines Doctrine for Use of Force, Picks New Foreign Policy Adviser

J.E. Dyer at HotAir has a great post outlining Governor Palin’s foreign policy doctrine and describing the differences between that policy, the current actions in Libya, and what many have described as neoconservative actions in the past few decades. Dyer also highlights Governor Palin’s new foreign policy adviser, Peter Schweizer:

Politics being a funny beast, we tend to readily accept the idea of a retired state governor, sometime pundit, and non-candidate for president having a “foreign policy adviser.”  Ben Smith of Politico reports that Palin this weekend unloaded what he calls the “neocon” advisers who have been with her since the 2008 campaign (when she was assigned them by the McCain organization), in favor of Hoover fellow and political author Peter Schweizer, who wrote two seminal volumes on Reagan’s handling of the Cold War (Victory and Reagan’s War), and writes at Breitbart’s Big Peace.  (H/t: Israpundit)

Dyer then goes to quote an excerpt from Governor Palin’s speech which has quickly become known as the 5 points of Palin Doctrine. You can read find that excerpt as part of the Governor Palin’s whole speech here and can watch Governor Palin articulate it here.

Dyer continues:

Many volumes could be written on the distinctions between the prevailing ideas on the use of force overseas, but this passage of Palin’s speech, combined with her taking on Peter Schweizer as an adviser, argues for a more Reaganesque than progressive-activist view.   I don’t find the “neocon” label particularly useful; Reagan was advised by neocons from the original group dubbed with that label in the 1970s, and so were both Bushes, but this did not make for perfect consonance in their approach to using force overseas.  “Neocon” had a particular meaning when it was first coined to describe people of a generally liberal background, especially on social and domestic issues, who held hawkish positions on the Cold War.  That meaning has long since gone by the wayside.


Schweizer is a fan of Reagan’s approach, which had no compunction about trying to undermine oppressive governments, but did so by supporting freedom movements where they were indigenous, and arming the insurgents under Soviet occupation in Afghanistan.  The commitment of US force was a matter of coming to blows very rarely under Reagan: besides invading Grenada, Reagan conducted a reprisal against Libya in 1986 after the Berlin nightclub bombing, and another one against Iran in 1988 for mining the Persian Gulf and inflicting mine damage on USS Samuel B Roberts (FFG-58).  The US armed forces had a high and very active profile during the Reagan years, but the actual use of force was considered necessary very seldom.


As is typical of her, Palin is talking in the terms on which we need to be carrying on the public discussion of national security, our national interests, and interventions overseas.  There has been a very long and extensive national dialogue on these topics over the last 100 years; we have never settled most questions as if there were a single answer.  Palin – alone among potential GOP candidates – is harking back to the philosophical discussions launched by presidents and candidates like Reagan, Goldwater, Adlai Stevenson (agree with him or not, he launched a substantive debate that colored Democratic positions for the next 40 years), Wilson, and Theodore Roosevelt.

I believe people intuit the need for this debate, as overseas interventions seem to be stalemated in Afghanistan and Libya, and the world begins to behave as if there is no US power.  Palin apparently recognizes the need to talk about fundamentals – and love her or hate her, I don’t see anyone else out there doing it.

Read the whole piece here.

RedState also has a good piece which in part says:

Earlier this week, Sarah Palin articulated the principles of a foreign policy that are neither neoconservative nor paleoconservative; rather plain old conservative. Speaking at the Colorado Christian University for a military charity fundraiser, Governor Palin outlined the following commonsense principles for foreign intervention


A foreign policy that is merely anti anti-war is not conservative. Sarah Palin’s general principles should serve as the catalyst for a much needed dialogue on the application of conservative foreign policy doctrine to today’s geopolitical issues.

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