While the world is overwhelmed by the crisis of COVID-19 and its ramifications, the civil war in Libya has escalated over the past few weeks. The operation launched in April 2019 by General Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), to seize Tripoli from the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) has intensified. Importantly, the domestic, regional, and international players involved in the Libyan conflict have not only failed to put an end to the ongoing war but they also are actively prolonging it.
Ongoing Fight amid the COVID-19 Outbreak
Since Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli began, his forces have launched more than a thousand air strikes on the city, targeting residential areas and civilian facilities such as hospitals and schools, which led to the internal displacement of around 200,000 people. They also targeted airports and migrant detention centers, which resulted in more than 1,000 people dead and about 5,500 wounded, according to the World Health Organization. Moreover, the humanitarian situation in Libya is worsening with growing fears over the outbreak of the coronavirus, especially in detention centers. Libya recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 24. Since then, 26 people have tested positive and one person died (as of April 14). UN experts warn that Libya is potentially on the brink of a serious outbreak of COVID-19; according to Yacoub El Hillo, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Libya, “Libyan health authorities, together with the UN and our humanitarian partners, have been racing against time to contain the spread of the virus.”
To be sure, the attacks on hospitals and medical facilities exacerbate the situation. For example, Haftar’s loyal forces targeted Al-Khadra General Hospital in Tripoli and injured at least six health workers. While the assault was strongly condemned by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and was considered as a “clear violation of international law,” there is no guarantee it will not be repeated against other medical facilities. In fact, the warring factions are ignoring his call. It is important to remember that Libya’s health infrastructure and capabilities have been severely damaged since the uprising of 2011 that toppled Muammar Qadhafi.
Since 2014, the country has been divided politically, militarily, administratively, and geographically between Haftar’s camp, in Cyrenaica and Benghazi in eastern Libya, and the recognized government led by Fayez al-Sarraj, in Tripoli and western Libya. The two camps are fighting over power, control of Libyan territory, and the nature of the Libyan state. The short transitional period that followed the removal of Qadhafi failed to produce a strong and capable government that could control its territory and exert sovereignty over the country. Militias and tribal groups held more power than the central government; this allowed warlords and mercenary leaders to establish footholds in different parts of the country.
In May 2014, General Haftar, a former CIA asset, took control of Benghazi after launching what is known as Operation Dignity—under the pretext of restoring stability and impeding “the influence of Islamist militant groups.” He also claimed to want to build a secular and democratic country. However, an investigative report from inside Benghazi by The New York Times shows a lawless, corrupt, and ruined city since Haftar’s forces began to control it six years ago. Furthermore, Haftar has persistently rejected international calls to end the war and failed to commit to several cease-fire initiatives. He strongly believes that brute force, not negotiations, is the only way to end the conflict decisively. For its part, the GNA insists that it has the domestic and international legitimacy as the representative of the Libyan people. It views Haftar as another version of Qadhafi, perhaps even worse, one who has no legitimacy and should be isolated and punished by the international community for taking control of Benghazi and attacking Tripoli. Nevertheless, the GNA agreed to hold peace talks with Haftar and commit to its resolutions, although it had little confidence they could materialize. Therefore, it began to look outwardly and to strengthen its relations with allies such as Turkey and Italy.
A Proxy War
Like many other conflicts in the Middle East, the Libyan civil war reflects a rivalry between regional and international players. Regional powers are heavily involved in the war and bear responsibility for protracting the hostilities. These rivals have clashing agendas and seek to advance their political, strategic, and economic interests at the expense of Libya’s stability. On the one side, Haftar is embraced and supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, France, and Russia. On the other side, the GNA is supported by Turkey and Italy. For Egypt, Libya—particularly the eastern part of it—is considered a crucial national security issue.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi believes that the Libyan crisis is a challenge to Egypt’s domestic stability. In February 2015, Egyptian fighter jets conducted a series of strikes on the training camps for the Islamic State (IS) in the eastern city of Derna as a response to the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by IS. It is clear that Sisi provides significant political, military, and diplomatic support to Haftar. He endorsed the operation against Tripoli last year and considered it a fight against Islamist extremism. Furthermore, some reports reveal that Egypt has high-ranking army officers operating in Libya and providing intelligence and logistical support to Haftar’s forces.
Egypt also plays a central role in whitewashing Haftar’s reputation and activities internationally. Alongside the UAE, Egypt introduced Haftar to international powers, particularly the United States and Russia. Vladimir Putin met Haftar several times over the past few years and allowed private mercenary companies to collaborate with him. Cairo and Abu Dhabi have also lobbied Washington and President Donald Trump in order to support Haftar and to overlook his crimes in Libya. Not surprisingly, Trump spoke with Haftar just a few days after he launched his military campaign against the GNA government in Tripoli; he “recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system,” a White House statement said on April 19, 2019.
The UAE’s strong support for Haftar is indisputable. It views him as a strategic and political ally that stands against Abu Dhabi’s main enemy in the region, namely political Islam. However, the UAE’s objective in supporting Haftar goes far beyond fighting political Islam; one analyst argues that Abu Dhabi’s main aim is to prevent a stable and independent government from forming in the oil-rich North African country. The UAE provides unequivocal political, military, logistical, diplomatic, and financial support to Haftar which emboldens him and explains his brazen behavior. According to a UN report, the UAE has provided Haftar with air power and advanced military weapons over the past few years. In fact, that military assistance breaches the UN arms embargo which was imposed during the country’s 2011 uprising and tightened in 2014. Furthermore, recent media reports reveal that the UAE has supplied Haftar with an Israeli air defense system after organizing secret meetings between him and Israeli intelligence officers from Mossad. Similarly, Saudi Arabia supports Haftar as part of its geostrategic regional alliance with Egypt and the UAE.
Turkey’s support to the GNA has become evident over the past few months. It is driven by a constellation of political, economic, and geostrategic interests in Libya. While Turkey opposed NATO intervention against Qadhafi in 2011, it sought to influence Libya after his removal in order to protect its investments and economic interests. According to some reports, Turkey has around $15 billion in unpaid contractual obligations in Libya. Turkey’s interest in influencing Libya has increased with the chaos and instability that has mired the country. At the same time, Turkey fears that the intervention of other regional rivals in Libya—i.e., Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and others—would come at its expense. Therefore, it became heavily involved in the Libyan conflict, particularly after signing the military and maritime agreement with the GNA at the end of 2019.
A Divided Europe
Since the beginning of the crisis, Europe has been divided on how to deal with the situation in Libya and these disagreements have shaped the European Union’s policy toward the country over the last few years. The conflicts of interest, particularly between France and Italy, have tremendous impact on the dynamics of the Libyan civil war and have deepened the polarization among Libyan factions as they support the opposite sides in Libya. While Italy backs the Sarraj government, Haftar enjoys French political, diplomatic, and military support. In fact, both countries consider Libya as their geostrategic backyard and as an indispensable asset for their influence in North Africa.
For Italy, Libya is not only a historical colony with long-standing ties and bilateral relations; it is also a geostrategic and economic prize that cannot be abandoned. Italy also regards Libya as a cornerstone to its national security, particularly when it comes to illegal immigration and human trafficking. Therefore, it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Sarraj government in February 2017 to create a framework of cooperation for “combating illegal immigration, human trafficking and contraband, and strengthening border security.” Moreover, Eni, the Italian oil company, is the largest foreign oil producer in Libya with investments that reach $8 billion. Eni acquired 42.5 percent of British Petroleum’s oil and gas license in Libya. It is unquestionable that Italy relies on the GNA to secure its interests, including access to oil reserves.
For its part, France has important strategic interests in Libya. They range from fighting extremism and illegal immigration to securing economic and oil interests. In fact, France’s leading role in the NATO operation against Qadhafi explains its behavior after his removal in 2011; to be sure, it refuses to envision a Libya under the control of other European or regional forces. Therefore, Paris has played a key role in the strife in Libya since then, either through the United Nations or the European Union. While France officially recognized and deals with the Sarraj government, it provides political and military support to Haftar, whom it sees as a bulwark against extremist militants in North Africa. Several reports confirm that Paris has provided missiles and intelligence support to Haftar.
Not only have the competing interests of France and Italy created a political and diplomatic feud between both countries, they have also impeded European and international efforts to end the Libyan civil war. For example, last year France blocked an EU statement that urged Haftar to stop his offensive against Tripoli. Moreover, despite the UN arms embargo imposed on Libya since 2011, weapons continue to flow to different factions in the country. On March 31, the European Union announced “the launch of a new naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea aimed at enforcing the UN arms embargo on Libya.” However, it was criticized by the GNA because it does not impose an embargo on weapons that arrive by air and land. Most recently, the United Nations failed to select a new envoy to Libya to replace Ghassan Salamé, who resigned in March citing stress and frustration about the lack of cooperation at the international level to resolve the Libyan conflict. It is reported that the United States has rejected the selection of the former Algerian foreign minister, Ramtane Lamamra, as the new UN envoy to Libya. Some diplomatic sources told Agence France Presse that the US rejection of the appointment of Lamamra came after pressure from Egypt and the UAE because they believe he has close ties to the GNA.
Clearly, the Libyan conflict features a number of entangled domestic, regional, and international players. They continue to fuel the civil war in Libya. Without unraveling and addressing the complexity of their involvement, the profound disputes there will only continue to worsen.
This article has been republished with permission from the Arab Center Washington DC.
Somali National Army soldiers march during the 57th Anniversary of the Somali National Army held at the Ministry of defence in Mogadishu on April 12, 2017. AMISOM Photo / Ilyas Ahmed. Original public domain image from Flickr
On February 15, the U.S. government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Somalia to construct up to five military bases for the Somali National Army in the name of bolstering the army’s capabilities in the ongoing fight against the militant group al-Shabaab.
This is a troubling development that not only risks further militarizing Somalia and perpetuating endless war, but comes with the potential of exacerbating geopolitical rivalries at the expense of the needs and interests of ordinary Somalis.
According to statements by U.S. officials, the bases are intended for the Danab (“Lightning”) Brigade, a U.S.-sponsored Special Ops Force that was established in 2014. Funding for Danab initially came from the U.S. State Department, which contracted the private security firm Bancroft Global to train and advise the unit. More recently, Danab has received funding, equipment, and training from the Department of Defense.
U.S. support is made possible by the 127e program, a U.S. budgetary authority that allows the Pentagon to bypass congressional oversight by allowing U.S. special operations forces to use foreign military units as surrogates in counterterrorism missions. The Intercept has documented similar 127e operations in multiple African countries, primarily in locations that the U.S. government does not recognize as combat zones, but in which AFRICOM troops are present on the ground.
But this MoU is about much more than the U.S. government’s proclaimed commitment to help Somalia defeat al-Shabaab. It is a clear indication of the growing geopolitical significance of the Horn of Africa, and comes at a time of mounting concerns (mostly attempts by Yemen’s Houthis to disrupt global shipping in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza) about securing the flow of international commerce via the Red Sea. It also coincides with a growing awareness that rising tensions in the Middle East could force the U.S. out of Iraq.
The U.S. government’s plan to train Somali security forces at newly-established military bases in five different parts of the country (Baidoa, Dhusamareb, Jowhar, Kismayo, and Mogadishu) is a back-door strategy not only to expand the U.S. military’s presence in Somalia, but to position itself more assertively vis-à-vis other powers in the region. Indeed, the 127e program is not the only policy that allows for the training and equipping of foreign forces as proxies: section 1202 of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act further expands the ability of the U.S. to wage war via surrogate forces in places where it has not formally declared war, with the broader objective of countering the influence of adversaries like China and Russia.
While much ink has been spilled attempting to analyze great power competition on the continent, we have yet to adequately scrutinize the growing influence of middle powers like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar who are each attempting to negotiate their own sphere of influence, and whose involvement in the Horn points to uncertain, if not waning, U.S. power.
Turkey maintains its largest foreign military presence in Mogadishu, has trained Somali security forces, and more recently has worked closely with the Somali government in conducting drone strikes against Al-Shabaab. Further underlining deepening Turkish engagement in the country, Somalia and Turkey signed defense and economic agreements earlier this month. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have trained, and continue to train, local security forces as part of a broader strategy to secure access to regional markets and to assert their control over vital shipping lanes in the Red Sea.
With the drawdown of the African Union sponsored “peacekeeping” mission — previously known as AMISOM but renamed ATMIS in 2022 — analysts have expressed apprehension about the expansive nature of foreign actor involvement in Somalia and the risk of Cold War-style competition fueling instability. Indeed, the foreign-sponsored training of multiple “elite” contingents of the Somali National Army (Danab, Waran, Gashaan) has prompted internal divisions within the security establishment in Somalia as it raises chain of command issues and questions about the loyalty of these units.
As Colin D. Robinson and Jahara Matisek, both regional and military experts, have said, “The only thing worse is that various Somali units become more loyal and dependent on their foreign patron, short-circuiting the political logic of having security forces that look more like hired proxies than locally organized for self-defense. This may contribute to the growing perception of Somalia becoming a hyper-competitive arena; a republic of militias if you will.”
Equally significant is the recently announced Memorandum of Understanding between Ethiopia and Somaliland, a separatist region in northwestern Somalia. According to the terms of this yet-to-be signed agreement, in exchange for Somaliland granting 20km of much coveted sea access for the Ethiopian Navy for a period of 50 years, Ethiopia would formally recognize the Republic of Somaliland as an independent nation. The MoU has elicited a wave of anger among Somalis who view Ethiopia as meddling in their internal affairs — and it is precisely this history of meddling that has in the past contributed to al-Shabaab’s support base as it positions itself as the defender of Somali nationalism and autonomy.
While the U.S. State Department called for respect for Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and urged dialogue in response to the Ethiopia-Somaliland MoU in the name of de-escalating tensions in the region, the February 15 announcement that the U.S. intends to ramp up its involvement in Somalia is hardly an indication of a neutral stance. Rather, it is an indication of U.S. positioning in an increasingly militarized jockeying by foreign powers in this strategic but troubled country and region.
In Mogadishu, many Somalis are welcoming the U.S. announcement, perhaps in some cases hoping for job opportunities, and in others viewing the U.S. military support and presence as a potential buffer against Ethiopia. But if the past several decades of U.S. mis-adventures in Somalia are any indication, expanding U.S. involvement risks perpetuating rather than minimizing further conflict.
keep readingShow less
SOUTH CHINA SEA (Feb. 9, 2021) The Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz Carrier Strike Groups steam in formation on scheduled deployments to the 7th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Elliot Schaudt/Released)
The U.S. will have almost half of its aircraft carriers deployed in the Pacific in the coming weeks.
The South China Morning Post reported on February 14 that five of America’s 11 aircraft carriers would all likely soon be deployed there at the same time. Two of the carriers, the USS Carl Vinson and USS Theodore Roosevelt have been participating in a military exercise with Japan in the Philippine Sea, the USS Ronald Reagan is in port at Yokosuka, the USS Abraham Lincoln departed San Diego earlier this month, and the USS George Washington is expected to relieve the Reagan in a few weeks.
This is an unusual concentration of America’s naval power in one region at once, and it is being widely interpreted as a show of force meant for China and North Korea.
The Biden administration has made a point of making more shows of force in East Asia over the last year to reassure Asian allies that the U.S. has not forgotten about them. That isn’t surprising given the importance that the administration attaches to the “Indo-Pacific” and an active U.S. role in it, but in doing this it may also be contributing to increasing tensions with both Beijing and Pyongyang. We have already seen some of this in the back-and-forth between the U.S. and North Korea since last summer as North Korea has answered U.S. naval deployments to South Korea with additional missile tests and more bellicose rhetoric.
While these carrier deployments are presumably intended to signal American resolve and commitment to its regional allies, they could easily encourage China and North Korea to engage in their own reciprocal demonstrations of strength. They are also a reminder that the U.S. approach to East Asia is still very much a “military-first” approach that gives short shrift and devotes relatively few resources to economic statecraft and diplomacy. International relations scholar Van Jackson warned about the dangers of this approach more than two years ago, and since then the U.S. has only ramped up its military spending and deployments.
Because Washington’s attention has been focused so intently for the last four months on the war in Gaza and the other conflicts in the Middle East connected to it, it seems that the administration wants to show that it isn’t neglecting East Asia. The carrier deployments in the Pacific appear to be an attempt to “make up” for the continued massive over-investment of energy and resources in the Middle East.
The show of force may satisfy some allied governments, but it could also confirm the impression in both friendly and hostile capitals that the U.S. is overstretched and trying to take on too many tasks at the same time. The habit of reassuring allies so frequently has its own costs, including encouraging greater allied dependence, and when it is done too often it can have destabilizing effects on the wider region.
One of the principle weaknesses of U.S. foreign policy in East Asia is an overreliance on military deterrence. This tends to ratchet up tensions more than necessary and undermines credible assurances to adversaries. The U.S. excels at reassuring allies with its displays of military power, but because it often fails to strike a balance by giving adversaries assurances about its intentions, our government can feed the fears of Chinese and North Korean leaders and encourage them to assume the worst about what the U.S. is doing.
The carrier deployments suggest that the administration doesn’t understand the need for balancing deterrence and assurance. Failing to balance the two risks making conflict based on a miscalculation more likely. As the Quincy Institute’s Michael Swaine recently wrote about U.S. deterrence and Taiwan, “This balance is essential because, if the level of punishment or denial capability acquired is in fact seen as threatening the adversary’s most vital interests, the adversary, rather than being deterred from taking aggressive action, will become more inclined to undertake or threaten preemptive or punishing moves of its own in order to protect those interests, thus increasing, rather than decreasing, the chance of conflict.”
By relying so much on shows of force designed to intimidate China, the Biden administration increases the risk of a crisis.
The potential danger with North Korea is arguably even greater, since the North Korean government has a long history of responding to U.S. and allied pressure with its own provocations and threats. To the extent that Pyongyang perceives the deployment of so many carriers to the Pacific as directed even partly at North Korea, Kim Jong-un may conclude that he needs to show off his country’s own capabilities with additional missile tests and possibly even a new nuclear test.
Last year, North Korea reacted very angrily to the arrival of the USS Ronald Reagan in Busan, so it seems reasonable to expect an even harsher response if there are multiple carriers in the vicinity. Given the increasingly hostile rhetoric already coming from Pyongyang in the last few months, it would not take much for a new standoff between the U.S. and North Korea to begin.
The U.S. can ill afford a new crisis in East Asia on top of the other conflicts that it is involved in, but its overly militarized approach to the region is not the way to avoid it. If Washington wants to make conflicts in East Asia less likely, it will need to do a much better job of understanding its adversaries’ thinking and of offering them assurances that they can believe. Right now, the U.S. is doing far too little of both, and that is making the U.S. and its allies less secure than they could be.
keep readingShow less
Left-to-right: Senator-elect Ted Budd (R-N.C.); Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate Minority Leader; Senator-elect Katie Britt (R-AL); and Senator-elect J.D. Vance (R-OH) pose for a photo before meeting in Leader McConnell’s office, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)
The so-called GOP “civil war” over the role the United States should play in the world made headlines earlier this week when the Senate finally passed a national security supplemental that provides $60 billion in aid for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel.
The legislation, which was supported by President Joe Biden and the overwhelming majority of the Senate’s Democratic caucus, proved more controversial among Republicans. Twenty-two GOP Senators voted in favor of the legislation, while 27 opposed it.
An analysis of the votes shows an interesting generational divide within the Republican caucus.
Each of the five oldest Republicans in the Senate — and nine of the ten oldest — voted in favor of the supplemental spending package. Conversely, the six youngest senators, and 12 of the 14 youngest, opposed it.
Equally striking was the breakdown of votes among Republicans based on when they assumed their current office. Of the 49 sitting GOP Senators, 30 were elected before Donald Trump first became the party’s presidential candidate in 2016. Eighteen of those 30 supported the aid legislation. Of the members who came to office in 2017 or later, only four voted to advance the bill, while 15 voted against.
The difference in votes among those elected since 2016 is likely partly attributable to Trump’s unconventional approach to foreign policy. The Republican party establishment during the Cold War and Global War on Terror is often associated with hawkishness, including towards Russia. While the party has always carried some skepticism toward foreign aid, some of the most significant spending increases have taken place during the presidencies of Republicans Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Trump, however, won in 2016 in part for his open disdain for mission creep after the GWOT, what he called the failed war in Iraq, and foreign aid he believed made countries dependents rather than reciprocal partners and allies.
“[Trump] certainly created the cognitive space,” Brandan Buck, a U.S. Army veteran and historian of GOP foreign policy, tells RS. “He's more of an intuitive thinker than a person of principle, but I think him being on the scene, prying open the Overton window has allowed for a greater array of dissenting voices.”
Others have argued that the trends are perhaps also indicative of the loyalty that Republicans who assumed their offices during the Trump presidency feel toward him. Trump spoke out forcefully against the legislation in advance of the vote.
“WE SHOULD NEVER GIVE MONEY ANYMORE WITHOUT THE HOPE OF A PAYBACK, OR WITHOUT “STRINGS” ATTACHED. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA SHOULD BE “STUPID” NO LONGER!,” the former president wrote on the social media platform Truth Social the weekend before the vote.
The vote cannot only be explained by ideology, as some typically hawkish allies of Trump, like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) ultimately voted against the package. Graham is a staunch supporter of Israel, has voted for previous Ukraine aid packages, and in the past called aid for Ukraine “a good investment” and “the best money we’ve ever spent.” By the time the vote on the most recent spending package came around, Graham was lamenting the lack of border security provisions and echoing Trump’s argument that aid to Ukraine should be a “loan.”
Meanwhile, Senators took note of the generational gap, and the debate spilled over into the public. .
“Nearly every Republican Senator under the age of 55 voted NO on this America Last bill,” wrote Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), 48, on the social media platform X. “Things are changing just not fast enough.” Schmitt was elected in 2022.
“Youthful naivety is bliss, the wisdom of age may save the west,” retorted Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) “Reagan may be dead, but his doctrine saved the world during less dangerous times than these. If the modern Marx (Putin for the youngsters) restores the USSR while we pretend it’s not our problem, God help us.” Cramer, 63, was sworn in in 2019, making him one of the handful of recently elected senators to support the aid legislation.
“I like Kevin, but come on, man, have some self-awareness,” Sen. J.D. Vance fired back. “This moment calls out for many things, but boomer neoconservatism is not among them.”
Vance, who at 39 is the youngest Republican member of the Senate, noted in his post that “the fruits of this generation in American leadership is: quagmire in Afghanistan, war in Iraq under false pretenses.” He said younger Americans were disillusioned with that track record.
Buck, who served several tours in the Afghanistan war, and whose research includes generational trends in U.S. foreign policy thinking, pointed out that there is strong historical precedent for believing that age and generation affect how members of Congress view America’s role in the world.
“It's certainly not unusual for there to be generational trends in foreign policy thinking, especially within the Republican Party,” Buck told RS. Following the end of World War II, he said, it took “a full churning” of the conservative movement to replace old-school non-interventionist Republicans and to get the party in line with the Cold War consensus. “I think what we're seeing now is something similar but in reverse with a generation of conservatives.”
He added that the failures of the War on Terror resulted in a deep skepticism of the national security state and the Republican party establishment. Opinion polling and trends show that the American public that grew up either during or in the shadow of the disastrous military campaigns in the Greater Middle East is generally opposed to military intervention and more questioning of American institutions.
“All the energy on FP [foreign policy] in the GOP right now is with the younger generation that wants fundamental transformation of USFP [U.S. foreign policy],” noted Justin Logan, director of defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, on X. “The self-satisfied, insular neocons who loathe their voters’ FP views are a dying breed.”