Republican Internationalism

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 25, 1996 | Go to article overview

Republican Internationalism


Charges of isolationism have routinely been laid at the door of congressional Republicans over the past three and a half years, in fact pretty much every time Congress has expressed reservations about President Clinton's various foreign-policy ventures in Haiti, Somalia and Bosnia.

It is certainly true that the Republicans have been loudly critical, particularly of President Clinton's love affair with the United Nations, embodied in the concept of "assertive multilateralism" (much trumpeted in Mr. Clinton's first six months until the debacle in Mogadishu made the United Nations monumentally unpopular in this country). But it is far from true that the Republican Party has rejected honoring this country's international obligations. In fact, on some of the most crucial and far-reaching foreign policy issues of the Clinton presidency, the Republicans have been there behind Mr. Clinton, voting for the North American Free Trade Agreement, for repealing the War Powers Resolution and, after much agonizing, for the deployment of U.S. troops to Bosnia as well.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives yet again demonstrated that Republicans do not reject internationalism, far from it. The House voted overwhelmingly, 353-65, in favor of expanding the NATO alliance. The bill, introduced by Rep. Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, further authorized $60 million in aid to help the three primary candidates for NATO expansion - Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic - improve their forces and equipment to match NATO standards.

Mr. Gilman said he introduced the bill, a counterpart to which was introduced in the Senate by then Majority Leader Bob Dole, to urge the administration to embrace a speedier process. …

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