Why Defense Matters to Conservatives

Kim Holmes /

Professor Colin Dueck argues in Hard Line that dedication to a strong national defense is the most enduring theme of conservative and Republican foreign policy since World War II. In spite of “apparent oscillations between internationalism and isolationism,” conservatives have demonstrated “a hawkish and intense American nationalism … committed to building strong national defenses, determined to maintain a free hand for the United States internationally.”

There’s a reason for this. Though skeptical of government’s domestic ambitions, conservatives instinctively understand it has a special role — spelled out in the preamble to the Constitution — “to provide for the common defense.” According to a recent poll in 10 battleground congressional districts, 60 percent of likely Republican voters won’t accept any cuts to defense and homeland security. (more…)