The conservative movement has gone badly astray over the last eight years. It’s not just the idea of preventive war and nation-building in Iraq. It’s the arrogant assumption that Washington can dictate to any nation in any circumstance in any region and the foolish unwillingness to balance competing interests. Even more fundamental, the US government’s principal foreign policy objective has gone from defending America to engaging in social engineering. Bush/McCain conservatives have exhibited the sort of arrogant delusions so characteristic of Wilsonian liberalism. As the conservative movement regroups from its well-deserved defeat, it needs to rediscover America’s more restrained foreign policy tradition. The Right should meet the likely interventionist liberalism of Barack Obama not with the warmongering neoconservatism of the last eight years, but the republican detachment, focused on both peace and prosperity, of the more distant past.