The Republican party wasn’t always the party of war, unlimited military spending, and reckless foreign entanglements. There is a long albeit largely unknown tradition of opposition to militarism in the GOP, starting with the so-called “isolationist” opposition to US intervention in World War II and continuing right up until the 1960s, when an outgoing Republican president said farewell to the nation, and I quote:
“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.
“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.