Monday, February 28, 2011

Wolfowitz rebukes Israelis

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, echoing his former Bush Administration colleague and fellow neocon Elliott Abrams, sharply rebuked Israeli leaders for what his interviewer on CNN today, Fareed Zakaria, described as "nostalgia" for fallen Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"It's crazy. The Israelis should welcome what's happened in Egypt," Wolfowitz said. "If only cynically, I mean, they -- instead of associating themselves with a dead, doomed regime, they should try to find allies in Egypt. And I would assume there are millions of Egyptians who do not want to restart a war with Israel. and Mubarak wasn't such a great bargain. He filled the Egyptian state-controlled media with anti-American junk, with anti-Israeli, even with violently anti-Semitic junk. So -- but the nostalgia -- I think the nostalgia is misplaced, but it's completely irrelevant now. They and we should be thinking about the future. "

The upheaval in Egypt revealed the true divide between Israelis and U.S. neocons

But the events in Egypt have laid bare a stark divide between neoconservatives and the Israeli elite: While the former are ecstatic about the fall of Mubarak and the prospect of a democratic Egypt, the latter are wary—at best. “Supporting democracy is part of the genetic code of Americans,” says Martin Kramer, a senior fellow at Jerusalem’s Shalem Center. “Israelis,” on the other hand, “like the status quo.”

Putting pressure on the Middle East’s sclerotic and corrupt governments to liberalize is the touchstone of the U.S. neoconservative foreign policy project, as embodied in the Bush administration’s National Security Strategy of 2002 and made manifest with the war in Iraq. With regard to Egypt, one of the earliest and most persistent critics of the Mubarak regime was Robert Kagan, the preeminent neoconservative intellectual. Over a year ago, Kagan formed a bipartisan Working Group on Egypt that issued a stream of reports and statements warning about the potential for mass volatility in the country. In June, he co-authored a Washington Post op-ed alleging that the White House was “repeating the mistake that Cold War-era administrations made when they supported right-wing dictatorships—right up until the point when they were toppled by radical forces.” “The delegitimizing of Mubarak began with the neocons,” Kramer explains.

U.S.:Neo-Con Hawks Take Flight over Libya

In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage U.S. intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to "immediately" prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and end the violence that is believed to have killed well over a thousand people in the past week.

The appeal, which came in the form of a letter signed by 40 policy analysts, including more than a dozen former senior officials who served under President George W. Bush, was organized and released by the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a two-year-old neo-conservative group that is widely seen as the successor to the more-famous – or infamous – Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

J St conference begins amid the harsh crackle of neocon-Likud walky-talkies

The J Street conference begins tonight in D.C.. The liberal lobby group will be streaming some of the conference live, including Obama Mideast envoy Dennis Ross at 9am on Monday, here. You can see the full schedule and what else they're streaming online here. I see that the U.S. star of the Egypt revolution, Mona Eltahawy, will be on a streamed panel about the implications of the Arab revolutions. Lara Friedman of Peace Now and Lawrence Wilkerson, a real leader on the issue, will be streamed online, talking about whether Israel has become a liability to American interests. Unfortunately the biggest hot-button of the conference, in which the inspiring Rebecca Vilkomerson of JVP will make the case for boycott on a panel with Bernard Avishai and Kathleen Peratis among others, won't be online. It's called "Who's afraid of the BDS?"

Meantime, the J Street conference is being attacked by the rightwing. In Israel some members of the centrist party Kadima are angry at four Kadima members of Knesset who are speaking at the conference. Here are two other takes on the attacks. From Dan Fleshler of realistic dove and Ali Gharib at lobelog. Fleshler:

Richard Perle U.S. neo-con former Bush official PR flack for Gadaffi

Among those signing on for the task were the prominent neo-con Richard Perle a member of many conservative think tanks and a former BushBush official. Perle traveled to Libya twice in 2006 as a paid adviser of a Boston-based consulting firm, the Monitor Group .After he returned he met with Vice President CheneyVice President Cheney.

Laura Rozen of Politico notes that the firm named Perle a senior adviser in 2006. The purpose of Perle's travel to Libya was outlined in a series of documents released by the National Conference of the Libyan Opposiition in 2009. The travel along with other prominent thinkers and officials was to polish up Gaddafi's tarnished image. Another prominent thinker recruited was Francis Fukuyama.

The Monitor group said it charged Libya 250,000 a month for the project (3 million per year) plus expenses that were not to exceed $2.5 million. This is according to a 2006 memo sent to its client. Rebranding a tarnished leader is not cheap.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pat Buchanan vs Neo-Cons

Neocon Analysts Push for Invasion of Libya

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy is a fanatical neocon operation. It supports the positions of the Likud and other racist warmongers in Israel. It was founded by Martin Indyk, the former research director of AIPAC.

WINEP is also involved with the Council on Foreign Relations in policymaking on the bogus war on manufactured terrorism and the intelligence created network of radical Islamists.

WINEP was intimately involved with Douglas Feith’s Office of Special Plans making the case – including cooking up bogus intelligence and scary WMD stories – for the illegal invasion of Iraq that ultimately resulted in the murder of over a million Iraqis, so any crocodile tears over the lives of Arabs is disingenuous, to say the least.

Neo-Con Hawks Take Flight over Libya

In a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage U.S. intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to “immediately” prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and end the violence that is believed to have killed well over a thousand people in the past week.

Among the letter’s signers were former Bush deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Bush’s top global democracy and Middle East adviser; Elliott Abrams; former Bush speechwriters Marc Thiessen and Peter Wehner; Vice President Dick Cheney’s former deputy national security adviser, John Hannah, as well as FPI’s four directors: Weekly Standard editor William Kristol; Brookings Institution fellow Robert Kagan; former Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor; and former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman.

While neo-conservatives were among the first to call for military action against Gaddafi in the past week, some prominent liberals and rights activists have rallied to the call, including three of the letter’s signatories: Neil Hicks of Human Rights First; Bill Clinton’s human rights chief, John Shattuck; and Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic, who also signed the PNAC Iraq letter 10 years ago.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Neocon Control

Over the past several decades, while the conservative label has been applied almost willy-nilly, the stage has been set for something else to emerge. That something else is neoconservatism. Happily, this brand of political thinking has been narrowly defined — by none other than the man who is widely touted to be its “godfather.” In his 1995 book Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea, the late Irving Kristol wrote:

It describes the erosion of liberal faith among a relatively small but talented and articulate group … (which gradually gained more recruits) toward a more conservative point of view: conservative, but different in certain respects from the conservatism of the Republican party. We … accepted the New Deal in principle, and had little affection for the kind of isolationism that then permeated American conservatism.

There you have it, and it comes from the godfather himself. Neoconservatives seek unconstitutional, socialistic big government (à la Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal) while they champion America’s meddling in the rest of the world’s affairs, even to the making of war. They have succeeded in making repugnant any slight leaning toward, or even mention of “isolationism.”

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Neocons and the Revolution

For fellow neocon travelers William Kristol, Elliott Abrams, and Paul Wolfowitz, by contrast, the Middle East tumult is cause for bliss and a new dawn, nothing less than the vindication of the Reagan (and George W. Bush) doctrines of spreading freedom whenever and wherever possible. Writing in the Weekly Standard in a Feb. 14 editorial titled "Stand for Freedom," Kristol thus denounced the conservative doomsayers who see an inevitable rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the region. The ouster of Mubarak is not a replay of Iran in 1979, Kristol concluded: "The Egyptian people want to exercise their capacity for self-government. American conservatives, heirs to our own bold and far-sighted revolutionaries, should help them." In the Washington Post, Kristol decried Obama for his "passivity." And in the Wall Street Journal, whose editorial page has advocated bombing Libyan airfields, Wolfowitz declared, "The U.S. should come down on the side of the Libyan people -- and of our principles and values. The longer the current bloodshed continues, the worse the aftermath will be."

So is the neocon house about to crack up? Will the split between the movement's realist and idealist wings sunder its unity over what's best for Israel and America?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Neocon Perle Among Libya’s Lobbyists

As several Libyan diplomats Monday denounced their country’s four-decade ruler Col. Muammar Qadhafi for unleashing the army against anti-government protesters, U.S. consultancies that have worked to burnish Libya’s and Qadhafi’s U.S. image were laying low.

Several consulting, law and lobbying firms have moved in to advise the Libyan government and energy interests since U.S. sanctions were lifted on Libya in 2004, some of which have since canceled their contracts, according to Justice Department records.

Fahmy Hudome International canceled its contract with the Libyan government in 2007. The Livingston Group canceled its $360,000-per-year lobbying contract with the Libyan government as well as one with an associated Qadhafi charity in September 2009, following the hero’s welcome Libyan leaders gave for the convicted Lockerbie bomber upon his release in August 2009 from a Scottish prison on humanitarian grounds. Justice Department records indicate the law firm White & Case LLP has been registered since 2008 to represent Libya regarding a litigation matter.

Neocon fantasy: Palestine has nothing to do with Arab uprisings

As mass uprisings in Arab states continue, the Israeli government and its neoconservative supporters in the U.S. have tried to convince the world that Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians has nothing to do with the revolts. While it would be disingenuous to claim that Palestine drives the revolts, it’s equally disingenuous to claim that Palestine doesn’t factor at all in to the uprisings, or that Palestine is not a chief concern for Arabs all over.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made the claim today. Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Lieberman said: “The Israel-Palestinian conflict is not the main issue, not the main problem…I don’t see linkage between Israel-Palestine and unrest in Egypt, Bahrain or Egypt and Libya.”

Yousef Munayyer of the Palestine Center makes the case that Palestine matters deeply in an intriguing article that concludes that “there is no issue which has the resonance or the potential to create uproar across Arab borders at the same time as the Palestine issue”:

Israel and its neoconservative friends don’t want to hear this. Erasing the Palestine question out of the picture deflects attention away from Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine. But it seems that, to understand the Arab uprisings, one must also understand the staying power of the Palestinian question.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Matt Duss on Herzliya, or: ‘Neocon Woodstock’

If you haven’t already, head over the website of the Nation and read every last word of Matt Duss’s report from Herzliya, the biggest annual Israeli security conference. The event is best known for being where Israeli rightists and U.S. neocons swoon over each other.

Just look at some of the Americans who took the trip this year: Noah Pollak, Jennifer Rubin (whose trip was paid for by Pollak’s organization), Judith Miller, Scooter Libby, Danielle Pletka, Reuel Marc Gerecht, and so on and so on.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Horowitz and the Neocons Fear Patriot Ron Paul

Ron Paul and his son Rand Paul – recently elected by the people of Kentucky to serve in the U.S. Senate – are not afraid of the neocons, Israel’s arm-twisting lobby in Washington, or the former Marxist turned neocon opportunist David Horowitz. It is immoral to take the money of the American people and give it away to Israel and Egypt – the second largest recipient of stolen goods – or any other country.

More than anything, the neocons know their shakedown scam is coming to an end. The United States has the largest national debt in history and can no longer afford to steal money and give it away to Israel of any other undeserving country. The bogus anti-Semitism canard no longer works.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Neocon David Horowitz Labels Ron Paul and His Supporters Vicious Anti-Semites

In the hit piece, “Ron Paul Is A Vicious Anti-Semite and Anti-American and Conservatives Need To Wash Their Hands of Him,” Horowitz uses outright lies to label Paul and his “crazed” supporters as anti Jewish.

“For years the Texas crackpot, Ron Paul, has been attacking America and Israel as imperialist powers — the Great Satan and the Little Satan, and calling for America’s retreat from the battle against our totalitarian enemies. At the recent CPAC conference Paul’s Jew-hating storm-troopers swarmed the Freedom Center’s table to vent their spleen against Israel as a Nazi state,” wrote Horowitz on the noted neocon website newsrealblog.

Horowitz provides no evidence for his outlandish claims, opting instead for outright lies and half truths. Rather then the freedom orientated Congressman that Ron Paul has always been, he is painted as a Jew hating neo Nazi.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Obama Administration’s Neocon Easter

Resurrecting the Neocons: Marc Grossman in … Richard Perle & Douglas Feith in Queue

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has chosen a new special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan: a long-time controversial neocon, a man who has been famous for parading as a foreign agent in the lobby circuit, the scandalous former diplomat Marc Grossman. The not-so-gradual resurrection of the old neocon cabal under the Obama administration, led by Hillary Clinton, should not come as a surprise. According to Washington insiders, Daniel Perle and Douglas Feith have been consulted more than a few times in their ‘unofficial’ capacity, but are not far down in the queue to receive ‘official’ acknowledgement. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; at least to those who’ve been following the steady momentum building at the Obama White House towards a soon-to-come Neocon Easter

Let’s jump to our newest and by far the boldest Neocon addition to the Obama-Clinton Whitehouse. Marc Grossman is chosen by the administration to fill the seat vacated by Richard Holbrooke; another Jewish American Neocon who had been a man of choice for every administration in the last four decades. I suggest you read the article titled ‘Obama’s Neocon’ if you want to know a bit more about the old neocon shoes Mr. Grossman will be filling. As for our media’s usual sanitized version for Mr. Grossman’s background, the following by the neocon circle PR machine, the Washington Post, sums it up well:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Neocon David Horowitz Blindsided by We Are Change

In the We Are Change video below, Marxist converted into card-carrying neocon David Horowitz reveals something not really surprising – he knows very little about September 11, 2001, or at least claims to know very little.

The events of September 11, 2001, define the pro-war, anti-Muslim agenda of the neocons, and yet Horowitz comes off as completely clueless. He is like a deer caught in the headlights. He is like a babe in the woods without his soap box at Fox News.

Are neocons right about US foreign policy?

The neocons made three great mistakes. The first was to assert that America was so strong following the end of the Cold War that it could ignore everybody else, go it alone and impose its views on the world. The fact was, as Fred Kaplan has pointed out in his book, “Day Time Dreamers,” that with the Soviet Union gone, we needed persuasion and the cultivation of allies all the more because countries were not going to rally to America just to protect themselves from Communism any more. We needed more persuasion and less bullying after the Cold War, not the other way around.

The second mistake was the assumption that democracy could be imposed. Iraq, in neocon eyes, was to be the shining example that would spread democracy through out the Middle East, guarantee us Iraq’s oil, and help Israel because a democratic Iraq would recognize the Jewish state.

The third mistake the neocons made was to argue that the United States had the power to accomplish its goals. The brief moment of neocon ascendency under George W. Bush drained away America’s hard and soft power to a degree not seen since World War II, and discredited both our ideals and our interests abroad.

Ann Coulter: Parasitical wretch or clueless idiot?

Our girl didn't have the experience in politics needed to see through the neocon agenda of open borders and liberal internationalism. And any presumptively conservative pundit who failed to see through Bush lost all credibility.

The neocons couldn't wait to bring democracy to Iraq, but in Egypt, not so much

When the United States backed dictator Saddam Hussein throughout the 1980s, we were told Iraq would serve as a bulwark against Iran. Without Hussein in power, Iran could influence the rise of an Islamic state in Iraq. When we ousted Hussein in 2003, we were told that we were giving Iraqis democracy, yet we remain in that country almost a decade later due in large part to the fear that a free Iraq might choose a fundamentalist Islamic regime.

As evidenced by Iraq, American foreign policy seems to be that dictators are good so long as they're our dictators and democracy is good so long as it's our kind of democracy, and those who consistently push for U.S. foreign intervention will argue for either accordingly.

With America's support for Hussein sufficiently far enough in the past, in the early 2000s neoconservatives successfully crafted a "freedom" narrative in order to get the American people to allow them to get their way in Iraq. In his second inaugural address, President George W. Bush even pledged to end "tyranny around the world" as part of a "freedom agenda."

Neo-Cons for Human Rights?

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, a great deal of Neo-Conservatives are deeply involved in human rights. One may wonder in what capacity, since this war mongering clique of big-business connected scoundrels is renowned for its role in the most unprecedented, flagrant, and grievous human rights violations in American history.

Their signature can be found scrawled across the evisceration of the US Bill of Rights via the Patriot Act, the fake "War on Terror," the resulting Abu Ghraib atrocities and the very existence of the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba. One of the very crimes in fact that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been pinned with was helping facilitate the CIA's extra-legal rendition and torture program dreamed up under the Neo-Conservative packed Bush Administration. If ever there was an "Axis of Evil" these men certainly deserve a place within it.

The most ardent supporters and architects of "George Bush's War on Terror" can be found within the unscrupulous confines of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Notable signatories of PNAC's various and ranting statements include:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Conservative Foreign Policy Fissures Grow Wider

The rump neoconservative faction takes the Egyptian revolt as delayed vindication of former President George W. Bush’s Freedom Agenda. They are led by former Bush administration National Security Council staffer Elliott Abrams and ideologue William Kristol’s Foreign Policy Initiative think tank. As Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer put it, it was only “George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and band of neocons” who believed democracy was possible in the Middle East before the recent uprising on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria.

Kristol himself went on the attack against Glenn Beck’s conspiracy-mongering on the Egypt uprising in his pet magazine, The Weekly Standard, writing Beck “brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society.” Beck, Kristol wrote, is “marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did in the early 1960s.”

Neocons Target Ron Paul After CPAC Poll Win

Establishment Republicans exploited a gullible Tea Party movement in order to get the neocon agenda of forever war against manufactured Muslim enemies back on track. Now they must purge Congress and the mainstream political landscape of those who would resist this agenda.

The primary target of the effort is Rep. Ron Paul.

On Saturday, Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) announced that Paul would be expelled from the organization’s National Advisory Board because of his “delusional and disturbing alliance with the fringe Anti-War movement,” in other words his opposition to the neocon plan in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Now YAF has decided to expel him and embrace the neocon agenda.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Egypt: Down Is Suddenly Up for the Neocons

In order to understand the neocons, we need constantly to bear in mind three of their fundamental principles:

1. The dialectic. We can contradict today what we fervently asserted yesterday, without penalty, because we are superior to those from whom we demand consistency.

2. Amnesia. The masses will soon forget what we advocated yesterday, so we can freely oppose it today.

3. We ALWAYS blame somebody else for the consequences of our own policies, actions, and falsehoods.

With these “principles” (see what I mean?) in mind, it is easy to assess the neocon screaming that the “democracy” they pretended to advocate yesteryear is suddenly dangerous because, omigosh, the people demanding an end to US-supported tyrannies are so backward that they need our abiding guidance — directed through our taxpayer-funded, corrupt stooges, of course. All tyrants are equal, but some tyrants are more equal than others.

With all this in mind, isn’t it fun to watch them blame “Obama” for supporting the Egyptian opposition to Mubarak? Lest you scratch your head and begin remembering the Democracy Bomber Bush, you must be distracted into a ditch of petty politics.

George W. Bush. The Liberator of Egypt

The spin campaign to resuscitate the reputation of George W. Bush has begun. The usual Neocon suspects, such as Elliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer, and Reuel Marc Gerecht are writing op-ed pieces arguing that the Egyptian revolution of 2011 all began with George W. Bush’s “Freedom Agenda.” Krauthammer penned the following:

Men like Krauthammer and Abrams when they are in full propaganda mode do not stint. Bush is being compared to Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill in his steadfast devotion to democracy for everyone and his appreciation of the subtle fact that democracy is much more than fair elections every few years. It is freedom of the press, healthy opposition parties, and respect for the law. If you are going to drag up George Bush’s reputation from the stygian depths in which it now resides – so low that he reportedly has canceled a trip to Switzerland for fear he would be arrested for war crimes – than you might as well go for the long shot. Turn him into a Churchillian visionary. Lavishly quote the speeches you wrote for him because, obviously, they are every bit as eloquent and stirring as anything Churchill wrote.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Behold, Neocon Egypt Hypocrisy!

Professional prognosticator and leading Iraq War cheerleader Max Boot is still telling Arabs what to do, albeit with a liberal-sounding post-Egypt twist:

There is a lesson here for those not too fanatical or deluded to learn it. Put down the bomb, the sniper rifle, whatever weapon you have, and grab a placard, go on Twitter, organize a rally. True, many peaceful protests have been repressed too, as we have seen most recently in Iran; but they offer a much surer road to regime change than does blowing up innocent people.

Fair enough. Unless it comes from Boot, an unreconstructed neocon with a loose grip on factual arguments, who's written books called Small Wars and the Rise of American Power and War Made New...and whose first hawkish defense of war in Iraq, written for the New York Times in October 2002, was titled "Who Says We Never Strike First?" "We're going to be called an empire whatever we do," he wrote the following year in the USA Today. "We might as well be a successful empire."

As Mideast scholar (and MJ contributor) Juan Cole puts it, "Boot never saw a war he didn't love, never saw a conquest he didn't find exhilarating, never saw an occupied land he didn't think could be handled...Bootism is the disease, not the cure."

Friday, February 11, 2011

The US and the dodgy doctor

Some of the architects of the Iraq war have got cold feet about democracy in Egypt in case Egyptian freedom helps the "Islamist" Muslim Brotherhood.

Men behind the Iraq war like Tony Blair, John Bolton and Richard Perle claimed to be bombing Iraq into freedom and democracy.

Now the neocon trio are warning that the West should stick with dictator Hosni Mubarak lest Egyptian democracy let in the Islamists.

In Egypt they prefer the dictator to the Islamists. But weirdly in Iraq they preferred the Islamist parties to the dictator.

They forced out Saddam Hussein by war on Iraq then ushered two parties into government - the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and al-Da'Wa (the Islamic Call).

Beware the Neocon Advocacy of Egyptian Democracy

It is essential to take William (“Bill”) Kristol seriously. He has been so utterly wrong on so many things (America’s ability to run the world, NATO, Turkey, the Balkans, Chechnya, Iraq, Sarah Palin, Russia, Iran, Georgia, John McCain, missile defense . . . ) that his pronouncements merit respect. Being consistently wrong—in the fleeting guise of things measurably empirical, that is—they contain a deeper wisdom. Kristol’s “analysis” is the equivalent of Tetzel’s dropping penny: The form may seem inane, but the message reverberates in faraway places.

Bill Kristol matters, so please bear with me and endure the longest quote I’ve ever copied to these pages over the past decade, because a mere hyperlink won’t do:

And yet . . . Call me a conspiracy theorist, but the magnitude of Kristol’s idiocy is so breathtaking that it cannot be accidental. There are 12 to 15 red flags one could grab and exploit for all their rhetorical, logical, historical, legal, and moral worth.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ongoing disgrace: ‘Washington Post’ neocon columnist tells U.S. generals to ‘hush up [about Palestine] and fight’

Yesterday the Jerusalem Post reported that in Israel, former National security adviser General Jim Jones said that Israel/Palestine is the heart of the problem in the Middle East. That's the linkage idea.

"I'm of the belief that had God appeared in front of President Obama in 2009 and said if he could do one thing on the face of the planet, and one thing only, to make the world a better place and give people more hope and opportunity for the future, I would venture that it would have something to do with finding the two-state solution to the Middle East." Speaking to reporters after addressing the conference, Jones said Israel's dispute with the Palestinians was the "knot that is at the center of mass."

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Some neocon writers are pondering the same question. Jonah Goldberg, a neocon correspondent with ‘The Atlantic’ writes:

The neoconservative (or liberal interventionist) wing of American Jewish political thought (not that all neocons are Jewish, God forbid anyone should think that!) is cheering on the revolution in Egypt, while the Israeli government, and much of Israel's pundit class, is seeing the apocalypse in Mubarak's apparent downfall.

The fact is, because the neoconservatives over the years – particularly during the period since 9/11 – have vigorously bandied around the concept of ‘democracy’ as part of their propaganda rhetoric to Westernise the Islamic world, especially in the Middle East, and boasted how Israel is the ‘only’ functioning democracy in the region, they are now stuck with it as an ideology. Short of exposing themselves as complete hypocrites, the neoconservatives now have little choice but to support democratisation in Egypt (and, indeed, anywhere else).

Palin’s Neocon Path

But it was not entirely clear at that point just what or who was being transformed and for what purpose. Tim Shipman, in the British newspaper The Telegraph, quoted an official with the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, who said of the Alaska Governor: “She’s bright and she’s a blank page. She’s going places and it’s worth going there with her.” Pat Buchanan, a prominent foe of the neoconservative movement, said she “has become, overnight, the most priceless political asset the movement has. Look for the neocons to move with all deliberate speed to take her into their camp by pressing upon her advisers and staff, and steering her into the AEI-Weekly Standard-War Party orbit.”

A few short days after her selection, Palin, accompanied by Lieberman, met with the board of directors of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and assured them of her “heartfelt support for Israel,” a campaign official told NBC News. The AIPAC officials were “pleased that Gov. Palin expressed her deep, personal and lifelong commitment to the safety and security of Israel,” said spokesman Josh Block. Indeed, Palin’s fervor for defending Israel likely stems from an evangelical Christian belief in the preservation of Israel as a biblical imperative. But it also meshes well with the pro-internationalist policy of neoconservative Republicans, who frequently cite the defense of Israel in their rationale for our frequent and extended military interventions in the Middle East. Palin kept a small Israeli flag on display in the Governor’s office in Juneau and appeared at last year’s Tea Party convention wearing a pin that depicted U.S. and Israeli flags side by side. Concerning the potential threat to Israel from a nuclear-armed Iran, Palin wrote in her USA Today article:

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Shmuel Rosner Paints U.S. Neocons as Likud's Useful Idiots

Under Rosner's dichotomy, the naïve philosophers obsessed with democracy were George Bush and the U.S. neocons who eagerly launched a voluntary war against Iraq based on lies. Rosner writes to emphasize "that there's no such thing as an Israeli neocon. The Israeli establishment never believed in promoting democracy in the Arab world, and it still doesn't. It never much cared about Arab democracy, period." Rosner thinks that Americans do not understand Israelis; that we had the absurd belief that Israel cared about democracy. Americans have many weaknesses in understanding other nations, but Rosner has picked an area in which Americans largely got it right. As Rosner opines, even among U.S. neocons, the most deluded segment of Americans about the Mideast, "most of them do" know that Israelis do not favor democracy. Quite the opposite -- democracy and demographics are Jewish Israelis' greatest fears because they know that Israeli Jews and Arab Muslims and Christians despise and fear each other. Even Israeli Jews and Arabs have sharply negative views of each other. Jewish demographics push Israel steadily to the right and towards the ultra-religious.

The Neocons’ Egypt Dilemma

On the surface, the situation in Egypt right now would seem tailor-made for automatic neocon approval: a country chafing under the rule of a repressive and entrenched leader, its people eager for more democracy, and protesting in the streets on their own behalf. And yet it’s not so simple.

Amal, a head-scarfed Egyptian woman in Tahrir Square, is quoted as saying, “We need democracy in Egypt. … We just want what you have.” But if Amal were asked exactly what she means by the word “democracy,” would she include the safeguards that go hand-in-hand with democracy in order to secure liberty, and without which it can so easily decline into “one person, one vote, one time”? What if forces for oppression in Egypt that are far worse than Mubarak end up opportunistically coming into the ascendance in the vacuum left by his departure?

But why would some neocons who supported the invasion of Iraq, and the overwhelmingly difficult task of establishing a democracy there, advocate more caution in Egypt? Likewise, why would some who criticized Obama’s 2009 recalcitrance to support the pro-democracy forces in Iran now advocate going slowly in Egypt?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Bill Kristol Seeks Nomination for 'Strange New Respect' Award?

We may need to dust off the trophy (named by longtime American Spectator correspondent Tom Bethell) for presentation to the Weekly Standard's editor who, in a column about the Egypt crisis, elbowed Charles Krauthammer and dissed Glenn Beck in such a way as to merit this headline from the Politico:

Kristol rebukes ‘hysterical' Beck,
conservatives on Egypt

My friend Professor Donald Douglas has written hopefully of "Egypt's Neoconservative Moment," but there apparently is a split among the neocons. My own Burkean view is that Egypt's future seems more likely to be rather paleo, if you catch my drift.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Neocon Agenda

US right-wingers split over Egypt protests

You might have thought the American right would welcome the sight of people power in Tunisia and Egypt after lecturing the Arab world on democracy for so long.

Instead it has divided them - with some calling on President Hosni Mubarak to go but some neocons preferring the status quo, even as it collapses.

One right-wing TV anchor talks of "the destruction of the Western world", portraying the protests as a covert power grab by Islamic radicals leading to a new caliphate across the Mediterranean.

Many of these critics were once vocal supporters of President George W Bush and his belief that invading Iraq would bring democracy to the region.

John Bolton and the Neocon/Hawk Split on Egypt

The crisis in Egypt has exposed the divisions that separate neoconservatives from other hawkish conservatives (I’m not exactly sure which label to put on this latter group). People often confuse these two groups as one in the same, because they both are generally supportive of aggressive military action, skeptical of international institutions that undermine U.S. interests, strong defenders of Israel, often advocates of regime change, and so forth. But this other group is much more skeptical of democracy promotion.

A perfect way to demonstrate this divide is to look at John Bolton, who has often been misidentified as a neoconservative because he supported many of the same policies, but he has always eschewed this label – in Iraq, for instance, he’s said we should have toppled Saddam and then pulled out once we captured him. He was not on board with the nation building part. Not surprisingly, when it comes to Egypt, as many neoconservatives are cheerleading the protesters, Bolton has said:

Whither the Party Line on Egypt?

Revolutions of world-historic potential, such as we are presently witnessing in Egypt, only happen once in a generation. There is enough awkwardness among the Washington establishment—bewildered at the sight of an uprising against a client state—that they are completely helpless to do much of anything in the face of the tumult on the Egyptian street. But no one is confronting a more awkward comeuppance, and responding to it more erratically, than the neoconservatives.

Champions of President George W. Bush’s “freedom agenda,” the neoconservatives have repeatedly found themselves facing the discomforting reality that democratic change in the Middle East has more often than not led to the emergence of governments that are opposed to the state of Israel. First there was Hamas. Then Hezbollah. Now, potentially, the Muslim Brotherhood.

And yet, instead of injecting a bit of realism into their logic, these events have forced neocons to feverishly grasp either of two contrary positions: The freedom crowd sees the uprising in Egypt as vindication of Bush’s “global democratic revolution”; the Islamophobes have begun their predictable fear mongering about the Muslim Brotherhood and the rise of the global Caliphate.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Hosni Mubarak splits Israel from neocon supporters

As Israeli leaders worriedly eye the protests and street battles in neighboring Egypt, they’ve been dismayed to find that the neoconservatives and hawkish Democrats who are usually their most reliable American advocates are cheering for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s fall.

The Egyptian autocrat has kept his side of a chilly peace agreement with Israel for thirty years, permitting an era of relative stability in the Jewish state. And as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear in a cautious speech to the Knesset Wednesday, Israel is deeply worried what will happen to that relationship when Mubarak departs.

In particular, neoconservatives such as Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, Bush National Security Council official Elliott Abrams, and scholar Robert Kagan are essentially saying good riddance to Mubarak and chiding Obama mainly for not making the same sporadic push for democracy as President George W. Bush.

Neocons’ Tepid Reaction to the Egyptian Democratic Revolution

The uprisings currently taking place against the autocratic regimes in the Middle East would seem to be in line with the neoconservatives’ advocacy of radical democratic change in the region. But there is one significant difference. The neocons had sought to use democratic revolutions to overthrow the enemies of Israel, even applying it, much less successfully, to countries such as Saudi Arabia, which were client states of the United States; but now democratic revolution is engulfing the Mubarak regime in Egypt, which maintained friendly relations with Israel. As Israeli writer Aluf Benn points out in Ha’aretz, “[t]he fading power of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government leaves Israel in a state of strategic distress. Without Mubarak, Israel is left with almost no friends in the Middle East.” [“Without Egypt, Israel will be left with no friends in Mideast,” January 29, 2010, ] In a situation where Israeli interests would be harmed by democratic revolution, the neocons’ ardor for this development has cooled dramatically.

Daniel Luban on Lobelog points out that in the first days of the Egyptian revolution the neocons were largely silent on this development and those who commented tended to express some skepticism as to its likelihood to bring about positive results. He quotes The Weekly Standard’s Lee Smith cautioning U.S. activists not to become too fond of the Egyptian demonstrators: “It is not always a good thing when people go to the streets; indeed the history of revolutionary action shows that people go to the streets to shed blood more often than they do to demand democratic reforms.” Luban predicts that “[i]f the protests are ultimately unsuccessful, the neocons will attack Obama for letting the protesters twist in the wind; if the protests are ultimately successful, they will claim the events in Egypt as vindication for the Bush democracy promotion agenda.”

Thursday, February 03, 2011

How About a Clean Break – with Israel?

Back in 1996, a group of leading neoconservatives led by Richard Perle drafted a memorandum for then (as now) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, recommending that Israel adopt a more aggressive and assertive policy towards its neighbors. They called it a "Clean Break" to suggest that it would be a major shift in policy. Today, as American foreign policy looks more like a shipwreck than a victory lap, there is perhaps a need for a Clean Break by Washington. As the relationship with Tel Aviv has an impact far beyond Israel’s size and importance it should, ironically, be the first element in the foreign policy disaster that is examined.

In another related development, last Wednesday newly elected senator Rand Paul said that he favors ending all foreign aid, including the aid given to Israel and Egypt, because the United States can no longer afford it. Rather than encouraging anyone to debate the issue on its merits, the Israel Lobby, Democratic politicians, and a representative from Paul’s own Republican Party immediately attacked him, saying the proposal was unthinkable. Well, think again. Israel gets billions of dollars yearly from the US for no good reason beyond its ability to manipulate Congress and the media. Paul’s opening the door to a serious discussion about ending that subsidy is long overdue.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Reagan Was No Neocon

Despite Reagan's "ringing speeches," he was "quite circumscribed in his efforts at democracy promotion," Colin Dueck writes in Hard Line, a new history of GOP foreign policy. Reagan viewed the U.S. as a city on a hill, a "model to other countries," not a crusader state with "an obligation to forcibly promote democracy overseas."

Most of all, what separates Reagan from his hawkish latter-day admirers was his optimism. He viewed the United States as dynamic and free — and, therefore, strong enough to outlast any enemy.

For the neoconservatives, however, it's always 1939, and the free world is always under siege, whether from a decrepit Soviet monolith of the 1980s or today's allegedly "existential threat" presented by several hundred cave-dwelling Islamists.

In the Gorbachev era, Norman Podhoretz accused Reagan of buying into "the fantasy of communist collapse." Some fantasy.

Neocon Delights over Egypt

In this Washington Post op-ed ridiculously titled "Egypt protests show George W. Bush was right about freedom in the Arab world," Elliot Abrams attempts to show how GWB's democracy agenda forecast the desire for the Arab peoples of the Middle Eastern nations to be free. He says:

"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe - because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty," Bush said. "As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export."

While neocons want to somehow take credit for understanding the Middle East, the current conflict is more indicative of the failures of US foreign policy than any successful understanding. Considering that Abrams was heavily involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, a signatory of PNAC, and one of the main cheerleaders for the Iraq invasion, you'd think that he would be the one of the last people on earth that a responsible Democrat in the White House would call. And you would be wrong. Really, Mr. President? Have you no pride or sense at all? What a mistake.

Neocons Exploit Fear of Muslim Brotherhood to Push War

Former semi-ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, has told Sean Hannity the Egyptian rebellion against the authoritarian dictator Hosni Mubarak should be used as a pretext to bomb Iran.

“Do you think that the Israelis are going to have to strike — they are going to have to take action?” Sean Hannity asked Bolton on his radio program Monday. “”As you pointed out, ElBaradei ran cover for the Iranians for all those years that he was with the IAEA. And, I just don’t think the Israelis have much longer to wait… they’re going to have to act in fairly short order.”

“I think that’s right,” Bolton said. “I don’t think there’s much time to act. And I think the fall of a Egyptian government committed to the peace agreement will almost certainly speed that timetable up.”

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Were Neocons Right About Middle East; Was Bush Better Equipped to Handle Egypt Than Obama?

And There It Is: Neocons Test Idea of US Intervention in Egypt

Just now on MSNBC, neocon Dan Senor, former Iraq occupation spokesman, raised the possibility of intervention in Egypt.

Host Chris Jansing asked Senor, more or less, why Americans should care about what’s going on in Egypt. What are the implications for our country and economy?

Senor, as he is trained to do, conjured a dangerous false dichotomy that continues to embroil the US in pointless, expensive, deadly conflicts decade after decade.

America’s foreign policy is still informed by the disproven — by reality, mind you — philosophy of the neoconservatives. Only the debt-fueled collapse of our own system, the Military-Industrial Complex, will end the madness. Since more elections clearly can’t.


The Zionists of Israel and their neoconservative allies had always hoped that 9/11 would usher in an era that would see the Arab world and the Middle East transform itself into a series of Western-style democracies happily co-habiting with and friendly toward Israel and the US.

In September 2000, just a year before 9/11 occurred, the neoconservatives had spoken of the need for a Pearl Harbor-like event that could trigger such a transformation. By the time the Pearl Harbor-like event occurred neoconservatives were conveniently already in senior positions within the George W. Bush administration and on the very same day as the Towers fell they were putting their plan of ‘democratising’ the Arab and Islamic world into action.

And, if events lately are setting a trend for the immediate future of other authoritarian and dictatorial governments in the region, then the nightmare is likely to get worse for the Zionists and their neocon allies, not better.

Likud versus the Neocons

I’ve pointed out several times before that contrary to mythology created by leftists (e.g., Juan Cole) and paleoconservatives who dislike both right-of-center Israelis and American neoconservatives, the latter are not “Likudniks” and the former are not “neocons.” [“Short and sweet, the Likud is not neoconservative, and neoconservative foreign policy, while pro-Israel and hawkish, is otherwise not much like Likud’s.”]

At the heart of neoconservative ideology is the use of American hard and soft power to promote democracy around the world. With the prominent but lone exception of Natan Scharansky, meanwhile, Israeli right-wingers not only have shown little interest in democracy in the Arab world, they positively fear and oppose it, believing that the Arab “street” is (and is inherently) far more hostile to Israel than is the governing elite, particularly in Egypt and Jordan.

And, indeed, the op-ed pages are currently filled with neoconservatives calling for the U.S. to take the side of pro-democracy demonstrators in Egypt (e.g.), while the Likud-led Israeli government is calling for stability and preserving Mubarak’s power.

Neocons Attack Egyptian Dissident Mohamed ElBaradei, Again

Over at Firedoglake, Marcy Wheeler has an excellent recap of the past neoconservative smear campaign against ElBaradei. Before the invasion of Iraq, the Bush Administration pooh-poohed his warning that there was “no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq” and paid no attention to the fact that the administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein was pursuing enriched uranium from Niger was based on forged documents, according to IAEA reporting. Despite the fact that almost everything ElBaradei said about Iraq turned out to be correct, the Bush Administration tapped his phone and led a major campaign to prevent him from leading for a third term at IAEA. Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that then–UN Ambassador John Bolton was “going out of his way to bad-mouth” ElBaradei. Nonetheless, ElBaradei was unanimously re-elected as IAEA chief in 2005 and, shortly thereafter, awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his arms control work. “I don’t think we were effective in our campaign to oppose him,” Bolton later admitted.

Nonetheless, the neocons who wildly hyped and distorted military intelligence in Iraq were determined to once again undermine ElBaradei when it came to Iran’s WMD program. “Mohamed ElBaradei is an apologist for Iran,” Bolton said in 2007. Why did Bolton say this? Because ElBaradei has refused to endorse a US- or Israeli-led attack on Iran, much to the chagrin of neocon war cheerleaders. The former IAEA chief has publicly criticized the Iranian government for not cooperating sufficiently with his agency, but he’s also been careful to note that robust diplomacy is the ultimate solution to the Iranian nuclear standoff.