Saturday, January 06, 2007

Neocons vs. Everybody Else - Do the Neocons Necessarily Win?

The fact that this is really serious and really out in the open within the GOP became very obvious to me, watching C-SPAN pretty late the other night, when I caught this interview with Alexander Haig in which he fired on the neocons and most obviously Paul Wolfowitz. However, the neocons have origins in the Democratic party, and many Democrats serve a neocon agenda, I think do to intellectual laziness, disinterest, fear, and time constraints that make them feel they do not have time to do the research to justify their own independent conclusions about important foreign policy and national defense issues.

A timely article by John Walsh on Counterpunch.org, entitled "Beltway Insiders Versus Neo-Cons" spells out the bipartisan nature of this problem fairly clearly.


A titanic power struggle is being waged within the policy elite or power elite, or more simply the U.S. ruling class. The clash is taking place over the war on Iraq, U.S. policy toward Israel--and ultimately over the best way to run the U.S. empire. The war on Iraq is shaping up as such a disaster for the empire that it can no longer be tolerated by our rulers in its present form. The struggle is as plain as the nose on your face; nevertheless it draws little comment. One reason is that we are taught to view matters political through the prism of Democrat versus Republican, whereas this struggle among our rulers cuts across party lines. On the "Left," few so much as allude to this internecine war, much less use it to good effect. This is apparently due to a very rigid, very dogmatic view of how empires function, indeed how they "must" function, and due to a fear of being labeled anti-semitic and thus running afoul of the Israeli Lobby. In many cases this silence reflects an actual sympathy among "liberals" for neocon foreign policy, either out of a latter day do-gooder version of the White Man's Burden, or an attachment to Israel.

This struggle is in no way hidden and definitely not a secret conspiracy. It is out in the open, as it must be, since it is in great part a battle for the hearts and minds of the American public. This fact makes the absence of commentary about it all the more chilling. The fight among our rulers sets the neocons against other very important elements in the establishment: the senior officer corps, represented by Jack Murtha and Colin Powell; the old money like Ned Lamont; the oil men, like James Baker (With Baker against the war, how then can oil be the only reason for the war?); those who want to see the American imperium run effectively, like Lee Hamilton and Robert Gates of the Iraq Study Group; many in the CIA, both active duty and retired; policy makers like Zbigniew Brzezinski who has long opposed the war which he has ascribed to the influence of certain "ethnic" groups; and even former presidents Gerald Ford who kept his mouth shut and Jimmy Carter who has not and whose frustration with Israel and the neocons is all too clear in his book "Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid."

Influential voices tied to the ruling circles include some writers for the militantly anti-war publication of the Old Right, The American Conservative.
On the other side are the neocons, based in the Washington "Think" Tanks, in the civilian leadership of the pre-Gates Pentagon, in Dick Cheney's office, in large parts of both parties in Congress, and in the editorial and op-ed pages of the print media. Most of the House and much of the Senate is still under the control of the neocons thanks to the fund-raising exertions and threats from AIPAC and its minions. Hence, the most powerful political allies of the neocons are the leading Democrats, who indulge in the most intense and shallow anti-Bush rhetoric but are reliable allies in the neocon crusades in the Middle East. The neocon side has relied heavily on the power of ideas,. This in turn hinges on the second rate level of those writing for the mass media who think little for themselves and go along with whatever framework for policy discussion is put forward by the neocons. Good examples of this are most op-ed pages, TV programs like the Sunday morning talk shows, Weekend Edition on NPR and Washington Week in Review on PBS. The neocons have not dominated the weekly news magazines, with the exception of U.S. News and World Report, but they are working to remedy that. Witness, for example, the adoption of William Kristol as a star columnist at Time!

Given this balance of forces, it would seem that the neocons must lose but the outcome remains an open question. If they do prevail, that will be the end of our democracy and freedoms as we have known them. If you have any doubts about that, consult their philosopher, Leo Strauss. The neocons cannot be automatically counted out, even though their base is narrow, for they can draw on all the resources of a mighty nation state, Israel, a modern Sparta, with its vaunted intelligence services and special forces which span the world and operate in the U.S., as well as its ability, if it desires, to launder cash and deliver it to U.S. operatives. And of course the war profiteers like Halliburton and others love the Iraq adventure. The arms manufacturers may be less happy with it, since money is not being spent on profitable high-tech weapons which do not have to function but rather on highly unprofitable "boots on the ground." [Read more of this article by John Walsh, Counterpunch.org]


If there is going to be a campaign against Turkish and Iranian states, it is going to be to create a Kurdish state, because for the most part, the Kurds have been more reliable, more forgiving, and less embarassing strategic partners for America than the Israeli state. I could almost be persuaded to suport that, out of "an actual sympathy" on the part of ImpeccableLiberalCredentials "for neocon foreign policy... out of a latter day do-gooder version of the White Man's Burden" as described in the above article, and I believe that Woodrow Wilson was right, if only in this one area, that the national boundaries of new states at the end of World War I should have been drawn to match ethnic/linguistic boundaries and not the whim or 'divide and conquer' strategy of the former colonial powers.

We should quickly have the Greater Middle East peace conference, and find a way to do the trade of the Golan Heights back to Syria for its territory in Kurdistan, and persuade Iran and Turkey to part with what they will in exchange for peace. Then, I think, we can be done in Iraq, redploy fome permanent forces to Kurdistan, but otherwise pack up and go home, and work to stop the flow of all weapons, conventional and otherwise, into all Middle Eastern states, Turkey and Israel included.

Wealthy Kurds can now shower me with cash and gifts (mostly cash, mostly in Euros, but a helicopter would also be nice, thanks!) :)

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