Republicans re-think hawkish foreign policy

(By Deutsche Welle) Recent congressional debate over counterterrorism and Syria has revealed deep fault lines among Republicans on national security. The party that launched the Iraq war has taken a noticeably isolationist turn.

The Republican Party once won elections on national security. Back in 2004, incumbent George W. Bush maligned his Democrat opponent John Kerry as a weak “flip-flopper” on the Iraq war, convincing voters that the Republican ticket would lead America decisively during the “war on terror.”

But after more than a decade of war, Americans have become increasingly critical of Bush-era foreign policy decisions. According to the pollster Gallup, 53 percent of Americans now believe the Iraq war was a mistake. And although 66 percent of Republicans still stand by the invasion, nearly a third of the party now regrets the misadventure.

“There really is a kind of international commitment fatigue among the general public and that includes a lot of Republicans,” Colin Dueck, the author of Hard Line: The Republican Party and US Foreign Policy since World War II, told DW. “It’s just simply the case the people are in no mood in this country for further military interventions overseas.”

One of the more stunning foreign policy confessions came recently from an old GOP warhorse, former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich. A foreign policy hawk who led Republicans to congressional dominance in the mid-90s, Gingrich also ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

“I am a neoconservative,” Gingrich told the Washington Times, referring to the hawkish wing of the Republican Party. “But at some point, even if you are a neoconservative, you need to take a deep breath to ask if our strategies in the Middle East have succeeded.”

“It may be that our capacity to export democracy is a lot more limited than we thought,” he said.

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Demographics force US immigration reform

(By Deutsche Welle) Once an issue that polarized the US, immigration reform now enjoys growing bipartisan support. Democrats and Republicans are negotiating a path to legalization, and perhaps citizenship, for 11 million illegal immigrants.

With Congress on recess for spring break, US President Barack Obama has pushed the House and Senate to finish the job of drafting comprehensive immigration reform by April, calling on both political parties to capitalize on recent bipartisan progress toward a deal.

“We are making progress. But we’ve go to finish the job, because this issue is not new,” the president said recently during a citizenship ceremony¬†at the White House for 28 new Americans. “Everybody pretty much knows what’s broken; everybody knows how to fix it.”

After years of polarization over how to deal with America’s 11 million unauthorized immigrants, support for a bipartisan deal has gained momentum since President Obama’s victory in the November presidential election.

Republican Senator Rand Paul Рa key figure in the conservative Tea Party movement Рhas spoken out in favor of legalization, revealing a potential game-changing shift within the Republican Party in favor of immigration reform.

“Prudence, compassion and thrift all point us toward the same goal: bringing these workers out of the shadows and into becoming and being taxpaying members of society,” Paul told the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

He was just the latest member of the Republican Party, which took a hard-line toward illegal immigrants during the presidential campaign, to signal an opening for a bipartisan deal.

Both Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Republican House Speaker John Boehner have expressed support for the negotiations of the so-called “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of senators hammering out immigration reform legislation. Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has said that the group is “very close to agreement.”

“Nobody would have ever anticipated the discussion to be starting at a new starting point, that key Republicans are on board for a comprehensive overhaul and for a legalization program,” Audrey Singer, an expert on immigration with the Brookings Institute, told DW.

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