Tag Archives: Neoconservatives

Hey Bill Kristol, Consider Rebranding as “Alt-Left!” by Jack Kerwick

This article is good as far as it goes, but when you get down to it, conservative, neoconservative, liberal, and neoliberal are just variants of one philosophy: statism. From Jack Kerwick at lewrockwell.com:

NeverTrumper Bill Kristol, a staunch Republican neoconservative who self-styled as a conservative for decades, particularly during the Bush II years, now calls for his fellow NeverTrumpers to “rebrand” as “liberals.”

The significance of this can’t be overstated, for Kristol, a figure whose ideology is of a piece with that of the Republican Party of which his was an especially audible voice for much of this young century, has vindicated what some of us have been saying for quite some:

The GOP is not, as it insists, “conservative.”

It is neoconservative.

And between neoconservatism and classical or traditional conservatism, there is a difference not merely in degree, but in kind.

Bill’s own father, Irving, was explicit on this score.  In contrast to traditional conservatives, he wrote, neoconservatives embrace “the welfare state.”  They enthusiastically endorse “social security, unemployment insurance, some form of national health insurance [i.e. “universal healthcare” or “socialized medicine”], some kind of family assistance plan, etc.”

Nor, Irving Kristol continued, will neoconservatives hesitate “to interfere with the market for overriding social purposes.”

Neocons do not want to “destroy the welfare-state [.]”  Quite the contrary, they seek to “reconstruct” the welfare-state “along more economical and humane lines.”

Neoconservative Nathan Glazer goes so far as to suggest that neocons are essentially socialists.  “It’s very hard for us,” for neocons and socialists, “to define what it is that divides us, in any centrally principled way.”  While they may disagree over policies, there doesn’t appear to be any “principles that separate us [.]”

To continue reading: Hey Bill Kristol, Consider Rebranding as “Alt-Left!”

 

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Neocons Leverage Trump-Hate for More Wars, by Robert Parry

If you’ve been looking for a catalogue of recent neoconservative depredations, here it is. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: The enactment of new sanctions against Russia and Iran – with the support of nearly all Democrats and Republicans in Congress – shows how the warmongering neocons again have come out on top, reports Robert Parry.

A savvy Washington observer once told me that the political reality about the neoconservatives is that they alone couldn’t win you a single precinct in the United States. But both Republicans and Democrats still line up to gain neocon support or at least neocon acceptance.

A scene from “Dr. Strangelove,” in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.

Part of the reason for this paradox is the degree of dominance that the neoconservatives have established in the national news media – as op-ed writers and TV commentators – and the neocon ties to the Israel Lobby that is famous for showering contributions on favored politicians and on the opponents of those not favored.

Since the neocons’ emergence as big-time foreign policy players in the Reagan administration, they also have demonstrated extraordinary resilience, receiving a steady flow of money often through U.S. government-funded grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy and through donations from military contractors to hawkish neocon think tanks.

But neocons’ most astonishing success over the past year may have been how they have pulled liberals and even some progressives into the neocon strategies for war and more war, largely by exploiting the Left’s disgust with President Trump.

People who would normally favor international cooperation toward peaceful resolution of conflicts have joined the neocons in ratcheting up global tensions and making progress toward peace far more difficult.

The provocative “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act,” which imposes sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea while tying President Trump’s hands in removing those penalties, passed the Congress without a single Democrat voting no.

The only dissenting votes came from three Republican House members – Justin Amash of Michigan, Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky – and from Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Senate.

To continue reading: Neocons Leverage Trump-Hate for More Wars

 

With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons, by Glenn Greenwald

The Democrats dominant foreign policy strain is neoconservativism. From Glenn Greenwald at theintercept.com:

ONE OF THE most under-discussed yet consequential changes in the American political landscape is the reunion between the Democratic Party and the country’s most extreme and discredited neocons. While the rise of Donald Trump, whom neocons loathe, has accelerated this realignment, it began long before the ascension of Trump and is driven by far more common beliefs than contempt for the current president.

A newly formed and, by all appearances, well-funded national security advocacy group, devoted to more hawkish U.S. policies toward Russia and other adversaries, provides the most vivid evidence yet of this alliance. Calling itself the Alliance for Securing Democracy, the group describes itself as “a bipartisan, transatlantic initiative” that “will develop comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter, and raise the costs on Russian and other state actors’ efforts to undermine democracy and democratic institutions,” and also “will work to publicly document and expose Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.”

It is, in fact, the ultimate union of mainstream Democratic foreign policy officials and the world’s most militant, and militaristic, neocons. The group is led by two longtime Washington foreign policy hands, one from the establishment Democratic wing and the other a key figure among leading GOP neocons.

The Democrat, Laura Rosenberger, served as a foreign policy adviser for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and chief of staff to two Obama national security officials. The Republican is Jamie Fly, who spent the last four years as counselor for foreign and national security affairs to one of the Senate’s most hawkish members, Marco Rubio; prior to that, he served in various capacities in the Bush Pentagon and National Security Council.

To continue reading: With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons

What Is America’s Goal in the World? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Like an aimless teenager, America finds new ways to get into trouble. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

For the World War II generation there was clarity.

The attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941, united the nation as it had never been before — in the conviction that Japan must be smashed, no matter how long it took or how many lives it cost.

After the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945, however, Americans divided.

Only with the Berlin Blockade of 1948, the fall of China to Mao and Russia’s explosion of an atom bomb in 1949, and North Korea’s invasion of the South in 1950, did we unite around the proposition that, for our own security, we had to go back to Europe and Asia.

What was called the Cold War consensus — that only America could “contain” Stalin’s empire — led to NATO and new U.S. alliances from the Elbe to the East China Sea.

Vietnam, however, shattered that Cold War consensus.

The far left of the Democratic Party that had taken us into Vietnam had repudiated the war by 1968, and switched sides to sympathize with such Third World communists as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh and the Sandinistas.

Center-right presidents — JFK, Nixon, Reagan — accepted the need to cooperate with dictators who would side with us in fighting Communism.

And we did. Park Chung-Hee in Korea. The Shah in Iran. President Diem in Saigon. Gen. Franco in Spain. Somoza in Nicaragua. Gen. Mobuto in the Congo. Gen. Pinochet in Chile. Ferdinand Marcos in Manila. The list goes on.

Under Reagan, the Soviet Empire finally fell apart and the USSR then disintegrated in one of the epochal events of history.

The American Century had ended in America’s triumph.

Yet, after 1989, no new national consensus emerged over what ought to be our role in the World. What should we stand for? What should we fight for?

What Dean Acheson had said of our cousins in 1962: “Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role,” was true of us.

What was our role in the world, now that the Cold War was history?

To continue reading: What Is America’s Goal in the World?

 

Where the Anti-Russian Moral Panic is Leading Us, by Justin Raimondo

Are you now or have you ever been an advocate of better relations with Russia? This time it will be Democrats and neoconservative Republicans leading the McCarthyite witch hunts. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

They said the election of Donald Trump would usher in an era of political repression in which the First Amendment would come under attack – and they were right, although not in the way they meant it:

“Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories – some fictional – that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say.

“Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as ‘bots,’ to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said.”

Aside from sites run by the Russian government, like Russia Today and Sputnik, the targets of the investigation are Breitbart.com, the pro-Trump web site formerly managed by Steve Bannon – now an advisor to the President – and Infowars.com, the “conspiracy” site made famous by entertainer Alex Jones, although the purview of the witch hunt “investigation” is bound to broaden.

Those “bots” – automated programs that broadcast links, tweets, Facebook posts, etc. – were supposedly launched at key times during the presidential campaign, and were disproportionately anti-Clinton — are supposedly the key link in a Vast Russian Conspiracy. The FBI leakers tell McClatchy News that “investigators examining the bot attacks are exploring whether the far-right news operations took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives. Their participation, however, wasn’t necessary for the bots to amplify their news through Twitter and Facebook.”

So this is how the smear campaign scores points: you don’t have to be on the Russian payroll – you can be a “useful idiot” just because of your political views, which condemn you as an “unwitting” agent, as former CIA director Mike Morell described Trump. This is how the parameters of “respectable” opinion are policed: this is how the War Party criminalizes those who think that the cold war is over and shouldn’t be revived.

To continue reading: Where the Anti-Russian Moral Panic is Leading Us

 

The Kagans Are Back; Wars to Follow, by Robert Parry

Scientists should delve into the question of whether a proclivity to advocate for senseless, costly, and ultimately counterproductive foreign intervention is genetically or environmentally based. The Kagan family would be evidence of the former. From Robert Parry at strategic-culture.org:

The Kagan family, America’s neoconservative aristocracy, has reemerged having recovered from the letdown over not gaining its expected influence from the election of Hillary Clinton and from its loss of official power at the start of the Trump presidency.

Former Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders. (She is the wife of neocon theorist Robert Kagan.)

Back pontificating on prominent op-ed pages, the Family Kagan now is pushing for an expanded U.S. military invasion of Syria and baiting Republicans for not joining more enthusiastically in the anti-Russian witch hunt over Moscow’s alleged help in electing Donald Trump.

In a Washington Post op-ed on March 7, Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and a key architect of the Iraq War, jabbed at Republicans for serving as “Russia’s accomplices after the fact” by not investigating more aggressively.

Then, Frederick Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project at the neocon American Enterprise Institute, and his wife, Kimberly Kagan, president of her own think tank, Institute for the Study of War, touted the idea of a bigger U.S. invasion of Syria in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on March 15.

Yet, as much standing as the Kagans retain in Official Washington’s world of think tanks and op-ed placements, they remain mostly outside the new Trump-era power centers looking in, although they seem to have detected a door being forced open.

Still, a year ago, their prospects looked much brighter. They could pick from a large field of neocon-oriented Republican presidential contenders or – like Robert Kagan – they could support the establishment Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, whose “liberal interventionism” matched closely with neoconservatism, differing only slightly in the rationalizations used for justifying wars and more wars.

To continue reading: The Kagans Are Back; Wars to Follow

 

Is Donald Trump About to Massively Expand America’s Imperial Wars? by Michael Krieger

If the answer to the title question is yes, it’s fair to say he’ll be doing something that most of those who voted for him don’t want him to do. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.

– Thomas Jefferson’s Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Many people voted for Donald Trump based on his pledge of “America First.” The idea behind this partly relates to the very legitimate concern that the U.S. Empire and its military-industrial-contractor benefactors have been squandering an enormous amount of treasure and tax money on foreign adventurism, funds which could be of much greater use at home helping struggling Americans, fixing our broken economy and infrastructure. I’m starting to become increasingly concerned that rather than winding down America’s foreign adventures, Trump and his team are preparing to expand them.

The always excellent Robert Parry at Consortium News got me thinking about this with his recent post. Here are a few excerpts:

The Kagan family, America’s neoconservative aristocracy, has reemerged having recovered from the letdown over not gaining its expected influence from the election of Hillary Clinton and from its loss of official power at the start of the Trump presidency.

Back pontificating on prominent op-ed pages, the Family Kagan now is pushing for an expanded U.S. military invasion of Syria and baiting Republicans for not joining more enthusiastically in the anti-Russian witch hunt over Moscow’s alleged help in electing Donald Trump.

In a Washington Post op-ed on March 7, Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and a key architect of the Iraq War, jabbed at Republicans for serving as “Russia’s accomplices after the fact” by not investigating more aggressively.

Then, Frederick Kagan, director of the Critical Threats Project at the neocon American Enterprise Institute, and his wife, Kimberly Kagan, president of her own think tank, Institute for the Study of War, touted the idea of a bigger U.S. invasion of Syria in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on March 15.

To continue reading: Is Donald Trump About to Massively Expand America’s Imperial Wars?