This brought up a few things:
First, we should understand that in many ways the "realist" school of foreign policy is no longer prominent in Republican circles. The voices we hear now are those from the Ron Paul-Pat Buchanan school (the isolationist/non-interventionist school) and the neoconservative school. Even though the NeoCon school has failed in Iraq, they are still powerful because of writers and institutions that support their "America alone" approach. Ross Douthat notes:
The vacuum that (Ron)Paul currently occupies is supposed to be filled by an internationally-minded realism. Indeed, it's precisely the coexistence of realism and idealism in Republican foreign policy, the fruitful tension between the two strains of thought, that has long made the GOP the party to be trusted in international relations - because the idealists elevate the realists, and the realists keep the idealists grounded. When the pendulum swings too far in one direction or another, this tension has usually produced a correction, of the kind that, say, the original neocons and then Reagan provided to the cynical machtpolitik of Kissinger. But there's no sign of a realist corrective in the current GOP field: There were ten candidates on that stage besides Ron Paul yesterday night, and not one of them was willing to call the Iraq War a mistake, which seems to me like the place that a serious realist critique of his Presidency's foreign policy needs to begin.
The fact is, we don't have a Brent Scrowcroft school of foriegn policy in the GOP anymore, or at least not in the number that they once were. There is no realist candidate in the GOP field. A realist would have long ago decided that the war in Iraq was going no where and would find a way to extricate themselves from the situation. There is one potential canidate out there that could be the person Pete (and I) are looking for: Nebraskan Senator Chuck Hagel. It would be nice if he got in the race, because he is the voice in the GOP we need at this time. Neocon foriegn policy has not worked. It's time flip the script.
If we are interested in getting a "realist Republican" running for President, then maybe people should join the "draft Hagel" movement. (I'm looking at you, Pete.)