Buried in Mike Pence’s mindless Washington Times broadside is this foreign policy gem:
We must develop new strategies for strengthening our armed forces and homeland security, and be willing to oppose any effort to use our military for nation-building or progressive social experimentation.
You have to wade through several layers of Republican-speak to get to the real goodies – “strengthening our armed forces” is standard national security boilerplate; “progressive social experimentation” is undoubtedly a reference to gays in the military – but Pence’s explicit criticism of “nation-building” is definitely a shot at the Bush Administration. The fact that saying “invading Iraq was an absolutely disastrous idea” out loud is still political poison for any ambitious Republican is pretty disheartening, but at least Pence grasps the depth of Bush’s foreign policy failure.
The only problem with Pence’s framing is that he leaves the door open to basically any military intervention not premised on explicitly humanitarian goals. I can’t say I find this particularly surprising, but I’d venture that post-invasion Iraq minus the occupation would still be pretty horrific. So perhaps Pence should re-examine his premises.