Kyle Kulinski is mischaracterizing the populist Right position on the military and imperialism here.
Before Donald Trump was elected president, we had supported Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul due in part to their positions on foreign policy. This was long before the rise of wokeness. We DID NOT support John McCain in 2008. We supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election because the alternative was Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in the primary and Hillary Clinton in the general election.
At the time, Donald Trump was saying refreshing things like the Iraq War was a disaster and to his credit he at least didn’t start another war and tried to end our existing ones. Everyone made up their mind on this issue during the Iraq War which confirmed everything Pat Buchanan had said about American foreign policy in the post-Cold War era. It is why Trump won the Republican primary in the first place.
There were all kinds of things about Trump which we swallowed when we voted for him in 2016: Trump’s militarism, Trump’s hostility toward Iran, Trump’s love affair with the Saudis, Trump’s Zionism and sycophantic deference to Bibi Netanyahu, Trump’s naïveté about all of these generals. He wanted to spend billions of dollars to build up a “big, beautiful military.” It was never our ideal or preference which is to defund the military-industrial complex, withdraw from NATO, close all of these foreign military bases and focus on our own affairs in our own part of the Western hemisphere.
Pat Buchanan’s book A Republic, Not an Empire borrowed a phrase from William Jennings Bryan’s 1900 presidential campaign:
“Imperialism is the policy of an empire. And an empire is a nation composed of different races, living under varying forms of government. A republic cannot be an empire, for a republic rests upon the theory that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed and colonialism violates this theory. We do not want the Filipinos for citizens. They cannot, without danger to us, share in the government of our nation and moreover, we cannot afford to add another race question to the race questions which we already have. Neither can we hold the Filipinos as subjects even if we could benefit them by doing… Our experiment in colonialism has been unfortunate. Instead of profit, it has brought loss. Instead of strength, it has brought weakness. Instead of glory, it has brought humiliation.”
Note: As for “fake populists,” the original populists were social conservatives and economic moderates from the South and Midwest. Bryan himself was a strong cultural populist whose worldview was grounded in evangelical Christianity. He ended his life arguing with Clarence Darrow and H.L. Mencken.