Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Five children among six killed in minibus crash in central France

    Read more

  • Israel identifies ‘missing’ soldier in Gaza

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

Americas

Tea Party’s foreign policy brew

Text by Thibault Worth

Latest update : 2010-09-15

Tea Party activists have attracted attention worldwide for their impassioned demands for a smaller federal government but on foreign policy matters, party leaders are split by the classic American divide: interventionism versus isolationism.


The success of Tea Party candidates in the Republican primary elections is the latest indication this nascent political movement is evolving into a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming November general elections.

In Delaware, conservative activist Christine O’Donnell won a stunning victory on Tuesday over Mike Castle for the Senate primary.

Further north in New York State, Tea Party favourite Carl Paladino crushed former Representative Rick Lazio for the Republican nomination for governor.

“The people of Delaware have spoken,” O’Donnell told supporters at a victory rally on Tuesday. “No more politics as usual. The cause is restoring America.”

For Tea Party activists, “restoring America” means downsizing government spending. But according to research by the Sam Adams Alliance, a Chicago-based non-profit organisation, 80 percent of tea partiers say defence is a “very important” issue to them. The federal government spent 782 billion dollars on defence in 2009, or 23 percent of the overall budget.

Given the contradiction, Tea Party leaders are not surprisingly divided between isolationists and interventionists as has generally been the case in American politics.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, on the one side, has called for an isolationist approach based on fiscal restraint, arguing it is hypocritical to be frugal at home while spending lavishly on military bases overseas.

In Kentucky's GOP primary, Rand Paul crushed the establishment favourite Trey Grayson after he issued a statement promising to "oppose reckless 'nation building' or burdening our troops by making them the world's police force."

On the other side, there is Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice-presidential candidate and keynote speaker at the August “Restoring Honor” Tea Party rally. She has embraced the assertive foreign policy of George W. Bush, and argued against budget cuts for the military.

But as the recent Republican primaries have shown, the Tea Party and the Republican Party are uneasy bedfellows. After O’Donnell’s win in Delaware, the Republican Senate Campaign Committee sent a terse one-line message of congratulations.

Further complicating matters are the opinion of activists themselves. A Sam Adams Alliance survey found that 96.9 percent of Tea Party activists voted for George W. Bush in 2004. But by late summer 2010, only 50.7 percent affiliated themselves with the Republican Party.

Given that, it remains to be seen whether the Tea Party will shape up as a form of Bush-style pre-emptive foreign policy, or defence on a shoestring, or something in between.
 

Date created : 2010-09-15

COMMENT(S)