For those who hoped the new Republican-led and Trump-approved House of Representatives under Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R–Calif.) might promote some of the better aspects of MAGA-ism, such as a foreign policy that recognized the mistakes of the past three decades, and charter a less bellicose and controlling path for the U.S. abroad, the ascension of Rep. Michael McCaul (R–Texas) to chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee should be unpleasant cold water.
While the Trumpian strain in the GOP is supposed to favor a radical rethink of the U.S. mission to find and combat foreign adversaries with every sort of intervention, involvement, and pressure even if short of direct troop deployment, McCaul retains an older sense of an abiding American mission to shape the world to our desires and “interests.”
• is fighting to raise the political costs of ending foreign interventions by an attack investigation on President Joe Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal (which was following through on Trump’s intentions) and insists the U.S. must even now “hold the Taliban accountable for their appalling actions”;
• wants to make sure the U.S. is optimally aggressive in supporting Taiwan against China, including “strategic, long-term security assistance well in advance of conflict in order to effectively deter, and, when necessary, to respond to, acts of aggression”;
• wants more U.S. pressure on Nicaragua;
• is angry that Biden “has backed away from the goal of North Korea’s complete denuclearization [and] failed to make the security commitments to the Indo-Pacific that its own National Defense Strategy demands”;
• demands “immediate action to combat and deter the proliferation of Iran’s conventional and non-conventional weapons, including through the use of sanctions and enforcement of U.S. export controls”;
• legislates to ensure the U.S. keeps an eye on foreign lands’ “freedom of expression…with respect to electronic information”;
• and had been a loud voice in opposition to former President Donald Trump’s plans to lessen U.S. presence in Syria.
While McCaul thankfully isn’t making open calls to immediately send in the troops to solve all the world’s problems, he is a largely pre-Trump Republican when it comes to foreign policy, eagerly demanding to keep U.S. money, arms, and pressure at play in as many foreign fields as he can survey.