The American right is wrestling with its own incoherence in trying to formulate a foreign policy in the years since the latest Bush has left the scene.

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For nearly two years, there have been nearly unanimous verdicts among Republicans on virtually every aspect of Barack Obama’s policymaking. His spending packages and environmental agenda: bad. Health-care insurance reforms: very bad. Escalating the war in Afghanistan and keeping Guantanamo open: surprisingly good.

But ever since Tunisia’s presidential palace began to totter under protesters’ challenges, leading to a series of cautious White House policies towards the region’s besieged régimes, Republicans have been unable to agree on anything. The country’s most powerful Republican, House Speaker John Boehner, has refused to criticise Obama’s handling of crises in Tunis, Cairo, or Tripoli.

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