A useful reminder that Max Boot remains bad on foreign policy even as his views on other issues have improved post-Trump:
Donald Trump’s rise fundamentally changed how Max Boot sees the world.
Before the mogul’s election, Boot was the kind of right-wing apparatchik who decried Brown v. Board of Education as an attack on the Constitution, and derided all dissent from neoconservative foreign policy as mindless isolationism. Today, Boot is the kind of very serious thinker who says that the conservative movement was wrong to oppose civil rights — and derides all dissent from neoconservative foreign policy as mindless isolationism.
The #NeverTrump apostate performs that latter task in a Washington Post column titled “The Democrats need a new foreign policy — one that doesn’t sound like Trumpism of the left.” In said piece, Boot observes that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders oppose some aspects of U.S. foreign policy that Donald Trump once pretended to oppose — and concludes that this means the far-left’s geopolitical vision is largely indistinguishable from the president’s.
SPOILER: Boot’s critique is massively unconvincing! Or, as Levitz puts it, “the foreign-policy Establishment needs better public intellectuals — ones whose worldview doesn’t sound like Trumpism of the center.”
It’s not an easy perch. Trump supporters loathe them, anti-Trump liberals don’t trust them, and the pressures to give in are real. In their books, the Never Trumpers express both outrage and disillusionment; they revel in their excommunication and bemoan their newfound isolation.
Yet they often falter when reckoning with their own role, witting or not, in what came to pass. If conservatism has been hijacked by Trump, as they argue, who left it so vulnerable? These writers pose the question, but their answers feel like mere feints at accountability, more meh culpa than mea culpa. The Never Trumpe
rs hold everyone culpable for the appeal of Trumpism except, in any worthwhile way, themselves.