BOTH U.S. political parties-the Democrats and the Republicans-compete to see who can be more interventionist in world affairs. Although many liberal Democrats emphasize working through international institutions and organizations, such as the United Nations, and many conservative Republicans focus more on unilaterally employing U.S. power, they all end up trying to meddle in the policies of other nations and peoples, often using military force. Both parties want to fix the Middle East and Afghanistan, aggressively advance democracy and human rights around the world, attempt to stop the drug trade and international crime, and so on. For example, the candidates of both parties would have the United States become more involved in the affairs of Myanmar, Pakistan, Iran, Georgia and Zimbabwe.
Neither party has shown much interest in returning to the original inclination of the nation's founders toward military restraint overseas, as epitomized in Washington's Farewell Address-and practiced, with a few exceptions, from the founding all the way up to the Korean War. The foreign-policy disaster in Iraq should have spurred a long-needed national debate that could lead to such an urgently needed policy switch-but so far, this has not been reflected in the 2008 presidential race.
Perhaps this is because elections are usually decided on the basis of domestic issues; foreign policy seems more remote to the daily concerns of the general public than do bread-and-butter issues at home. This maxim has been recently demonstrated even during wartime, when bad economic news pushed out the Iraq War as the dominant issue in the 2008 presidential-election campaign.