Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Neoconservative ? Jewish Conservative

Make what you will of Jay Michaelson's latest in the Forward on conservative Jews and the religious right—after skimming, I found it a mix of sloppily recounted old news and half-baked analysis. Truth be told, I couldn't really get past the assertion at the top where, after describing the Old Right's exclusion of minorities, Michaelson wrote, "That began to change 50 years ago, whenneoconservatism—that is, Jewish conservatism—began to take hold." A minor quibble, but: No, no, no. Neoconservatism and Jewish conservatism are not the same thing. And if Michaelson's ire was directed at neocons, he's only helped inoculate them from criticisms by conflating their ideology with "Jewish conservatism."

The movement's been shaped by right-wing Jewish thinkers, no doubt, who sometimes invoke some aspect or another of Jewish identity as they see it. Neoconservatism, though, is not a Jewish political movement; rather it's an American one (with adherents in the U.K., Canada, Australia and elsewhere). Usually identified with using military might to pursue interests, the movement's otherwise no monolith: neocons disagree on things like utopian democracy promotion or Straussian machination. Many Jewish conservatives seem to be neocons, but not all—see: Dov Zakheim, a Jewish conservative from a hawkish-realist bent that, unlike contemporary neocons, understands the limits of U.S. power.   Read the entire article

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Neocon WaPo Editors Endorse Obama

The neoconned editorial board of the Washington Post, famous for always calling for more wars, endorse Barack Obama as president for another four years.

Obama has not yet delivered all the wars the WaPo editors want, but he has waged enough, he introduced "kill lists" and a "disposition matrix" to eliminate whoever is though to be a "terrorist" including all the bystanders and he has shown no consciences. The editors hope for more of that.

While Mitt Romney has lots of neocon foreign policy advisers he himself is not one and there are concerns that he might actually turn out to be a realist:

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Iran War on the Ballot

However, the prospects for peace could head off in a very different direction if Romney wins. His neocon advisers are considered likely to hijack the Iran sanctions and use them to force “regime change” in Tehran, rather than for their current narrow purpose of compelling Iran to negotiate seriously on limiting its nuclear program.

By effectively shifting the application of the sanctions from nuclear negotiations to regime change, the neocons could put Iran and the United States on course for another war in the Middle East, much as the neocons did in steadily ratcheting up tensions with Iraq in 2002-2003 until a peaceful resolution became impossible.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Yet Another Neocon call to arms by Playing Victim and Avoiding Responsibility

The neoconservative hawk and deputy editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens, has once again figured it all out. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been at war with the United States since 1979, and no US president since then, including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, has done anything but appease that evil regime for reasons that befuddle us all.

Hence, it is now of paramount importance to halt the current president’s “outreach” to Iran because all previous attempts motivated by Washington’s “excess of decency” have allowed “33 years of Iranian outrages” to go “unavenged” and “undeterred”.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Moderate Mitt": Neocon Trojan Horse

Mitt Romney's peculiar sense of geography -- thinking Iran was some landlocked country that needed Syria as a "route to the sea" -- may have raised some eyebrows over Romney's lack of basic knowledge, but another part of the same answer, referring to the civil war in Syria as "an opportunity," should have raised more alarm.

Though Romney's goal in Monday's foreign policy debate was to downplay his warlike neoconservative stands, his reference to the Syrian chaos as "an opportunity" suggests that his more moderate rhetoric is just another ploy to deceive voters and win the election, not a real abandonment of neocon strategies.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Did the 'Neocon Puppet Masters' Get Outflanked by Romney?

I'm on the road, with only intermittent access to reader e-mail, so sorry for the delay, but I've gotten a bunch of questions (and assertions!) from Goldbloggers who are wondering if the neocons were somehow outflanked by Romney in last night's foreign policy debate. After all, Romney spent most of his time agreeing with Obama; he made no effort to suggest that Afghanistan may become a more complicated, and dangerous, place, once American troops leave in 2014; he took no stand in favor of greater intervention in Syria, and so on. One reader wrote, 'It seems like the neocons have lost the battle for the soul of Romney. He said nothing about having a desire for state-building, or about the importance of intervention in humanitarian crises, etc. So what happened?"

What happened, I think, is that last night's debate wasn't a debate. If we had been watching an actual debate about America's role in the world, I'm sure Romney would have had a lot to say about the shortcomings of Obama's foreign policy. But this wasn't a debate: It was a moment for Obama to show himself to be all commander-in-chiefy, and for Romney to show himself to be sane, responsible and uninterested in foreign entanglements (Iran, of course, being the bipartisan exception). My assumption is that the so-called neoconservatives close to Romney didn't lose an argument about how to approach these issues, my assumption is that these people read polls, too, and know that Americans profess to be tired of the Middle East, and that therefore, it is best, two weeks before the election, not to recommend to their candidate that he push for greater involvement in the Syrian crisis, for example. Neocons, like everyone else in politics, are interested in winning.
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The Neocons' Long Game

Romney’s new foreign policy tack was evident on the very first question of the night, in which moderator Bob Schieffer served the issue of the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks to him on a plate. Romney chose not to re-boot his fumbled criticism of the Obama administration from the last debate, something his hawkish surrogates and the GOP's Fox News annex have been pushing hard for over the last week. Rather, Romney chose to draw back to a broader view of a region in chaos. His Obama-esque declaration that "We can't kill our way out of this mess," while surely appealing to voters tired of war in the Middle East, was sure to disappoint the neocons, for whom there are few problems in the world that can't be solved through the application of American ordnance.
It wouldn't be the last time Romney echoed the president last night. With regard to the prospect of U.S. military interventions, Romney insisted that "We don’t want another Iraq," even though neocons still proclaim the Iraq war a success (a commanding majority of Americans disagrees). On Iraq itself, though he criticized the failure to achieve a new status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, Romney recoiled from President Obama's suggestion that he didn't support withdrawing American troops. On Syria and Afghanistan, Romney took positions 180 degree opposite what his neoconservative supporters have been advocating, assuring viewers that "I don't want to have our military involved" in the former, and agreeing with President Obama's withdrawal timetable for the latter.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The neocons' war against Obama

The neoconservatives who rebuffed the Republican establishment's warnings about the perils of war in Iraq have now opened another front -against President Barack Obama.

The neocons, unlike the muscular Democrats who led the U.S. into the Vietnam War-including Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk- are not reflecting about what went wrong in Iraq. Nor are they dodging the public spotlight.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Open War Policy Revealed by Romney's NeoCon Advisers

On October 1, 2012, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney outlined his own version of imperialist American foreign policy before the Virginia Military Institute. What Romney described was, in its goals, no different than that of any other President since JFK.

As was made clear in his speech, the presentation of the mutated Manifest Destiny to be ushered in by Romney would be significantly more open than the “leading from behind” destabilization and coalition-based Obama treachery, as the candidate has clearly stated this on more than one occasion.   Read the entire article

Neocon chickenhawk war mongers want to get their wars on again

The attempts by the Neocon chickenhawks in the right-wing noise machine, e.g., Charles Krauthammer, as well as by super-chicken Vietnam draft dodger Willard "Mittens" Romney Willard 'Mittens' Romney had better things to do during the Vietnam War and his Neocon chickenhawk boy wonder Paul Ryan, to conflate the attack on the consulate office in Benghazi, Libya as "what we see in front of us is the absolute unraveling of the Obama administration's foreign policy" as Ryan did yesterday, is complete and utter nonsense.

The Neocon chickenhawks in the right-wing noise machine who have no military or foreign policy experience, and super-chicken Vietnam draft dodger Willard "Mittens" Romney and his Neocon chickenhawk boy wonder Paul Ryan, are in no position to preach to anyone about foreign policy. This is the least experienced, least qualified nominees of a political party in modern American history.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Romney Should Be a Neocon, but Hide It in Debate

First, the good news: Even the editorial board of the Journal seems to understand that speaking openly about their plans for more wars would be bad politics. Accordingly, the Journal doesn’t “expect Mr. Romney to offer an explicit defense of the Bush Doctrine” and they worry about the implications of Obama charging Romney with wanting to get the United States into a third (and fourth) Middle East war. This is in keeping with the previous assurance of Bret Stephens (pictured above) that Romney wouldn’t start any new wars. Romney should deny wanting any more wars while doing a number of things that make them inevitable.

Second, the bad news: Instead of suggesting that Romney actually trim the neocon sail a bit, the article suggests Romney continue his strategy of wheeling out a fog machine and saying “leadership” and “strength” instead of discussing details. The American people who tune in Monday night deserve to hear some specifics. Not the level of specifics that would satisfy the people who think about international politics for a living, sure, but some specifics. Instead, while suggesting that Romney “offer[] a serious critique of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy that doesn’t descend to clichés,” the article suggests clichés but not seriousness.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Why Tehran Wants a Neocon

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered his most high-profile foreign-policy speech to date at the Virginia Military Institute last week. As expected, politicians and pundits have interpreted his remarks to fit their respective election-year narratives. For Republicans, the former Massachusetts governor articulated a vision that will reclaim “the mantle of leadership” and guide America into a future of reinvigorated global preeminence. For Democrats, the Republican nominee at best plagiarized President Obama’s foreign-policy prerogatives and at worst reaffirmed the fears of many who equate Romney with the disastrous policies of George W. Bush.

But a foreign-policy speech also stirs interest abroad. Perhaps no foreign government paid more attention to Romney’s remarks than the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Republican presidential hopeful did not disappoint: “I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.” After hearing six consecutive American presidents talk tough on Iran, decision makers in Tehran feel confident in their ability to distinguish rhetoric from reality. And what they (mis)perceive may surprise you.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Why I Do This: From Neocon Foreign Policy to Old Right

What interests me is more principled than the presidential horse race yet still more tangible than mere political theory. I came to the Ron Paul movement as a traditionalist conservative who had been a staunch supporter of Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaigns in 1996 and 2000. As a conservative, I believe in the 2nd Amendment. I believe in the 10th amendment. I’m a strict constitutionalist. I am pro-life. I want to abolish the IRS. I want to end the Fed.

But the issue that animates me the most is where I believe too many of my fellow conservatives think in liberal terms without even realizing it: foreign policy. A primary goal in my political life’s work has always been to steer conservatives and the Republican Party away from neoconservatism, a progressive and dangerous ideology, and back toward a more traditionalist conservative foreign policy.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

John Heilemann: Romney Surrounded By Pro-Interventionist Advisers ‘In The Neocon Camp’

Clinging tightly to a studied vagueness when pressed for unpopular specifics, Mr. Romney has put forward a budget framework that would not eviscerate Medicare and Social Security, as is commonly believed, but would slash everything else that’s not defense.

President Obama should use Tuesday night’s debate to press Mr. Romney to defend — or even just explain — these proposed cuts, which would be far more draconian than those advanced by his running mate, Paul D. Ryan. Mr. Ryan is widely viewed as the real fiscal hawk, but in key areas, his views on spending levels are actually closer to Mr. Obama’s than to Mr. Romney’s.
Panelist John Heilemann later argued that — as “cheap” as he conceded this talking point may be — Romney has surrounded himself with people who are “in the neocon camp” when it comes to foreign policy and defense and are, thus, rather “pro-intervention” when compared to other pockets within the GOP. He also noted that Romney has difficulty presenting a contrast against Obama on foreign policy because there really aren’t too many differences between the two — except, perhaps, when it comes to intervention in Syria.
 Read the entire article

Monday, October 15, 2012

Why Is Failed Iraq Neocon Dan Senor Dictating Romney's Foreign Policy?

The explanation for Mitt Romney’s Middle East madness is hiding in plain sight.

Dan Senor has become Romney’s “lead” advisor on the region, matching one blank slate with another. Senor’s only real foreign policy experience is his 15 months in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 as “senior adviser” to Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the occupation government installed by the Bush White House. It’s hard to be senior at the age of 31—which is what the wiry former congressional staffer and Harvard Business School grad was when he moved into his 68-degree cooled office at the gilded Republican Palace in Baghdad in 2003—or even at the age of 41, which is precisely what Senor will be on Election Day this year. Senor, who wore a Bush-Cheney t-shirt at a Thanksgiving road race in Iraq, has been whispering in Mitt’s ear since 2006, when he trekked to Boston to meet the then-unannounced candidate.

Beyond Senor’s stint at what even Republicans brand the catastrophic CPA, he has also written about the Middle East, though never anything beyond bland op-eds, sometimes in defense of Iraq policies. He and his brother-in-law Saul Singer, an Israeli journalist, published a 2009 best seller called Start-up Nation, celebrated by Romney and Senor’s friend Bibi Netanyahu. The public relations firm that promoted it, Marshall, Nappi & Schultz, also handled The War Over Iraq: America’s Mission and Saddam’s Tyranny, which Senor’s mentor Bill Kristol wrote with Lawrence F. Kaplan in 2003 (timed to appear at the same moment as “shock and awe”); as well as books by Islamophobes like David Horowitz and Nonie Darwish, and even Romney’s former Bain partner Ed Conard.

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The Creaming of Paul Ryan

In the first exchange of the presidential election season over foreign policy issues, the neocons — in the person of GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan — got creamed. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Ryan got creamed by Joe Biden — who serves in an administration that is pursuing each and every one of the neocons’ policy goals, and doing a much better job of it than George W. Bush ever did.

Ah, but these days we must take our pleasures where we find them, and who can deny it was fun watching the amateurish Ryan stammer as he tried to remember the talking points the neocons had drilled him on. One fully expected his ears to start fluttering and helicopter him outta there. Martha Raddatz, a respected reporter who specializes in the Middle East, moderated and her first question was about Libya: wasn’t this a “massive intelligence failure” on the part of the administration?

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rand Paul Backs Away from Romney’s Neocon Foreign Policy

“Romney chose to criticize President Obama for seeking to cut a bloated Defense Department and for not being bellicose enough in the Middle East, two assertions with which I cannot agree,” Paul said. “In North Africa and the Middle East, our problem has not been a lack of intervention. In the past 10 years we have fought two full wars there, and bombed or sent troops into several others.”

Paul characterized the war with Libya last year as illegal and said the president must consult Congress prior to any military action. “No president, Republican or Democrat, has the unilateral power to take our nation to war without the authority of the legislature,” he said.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

A Nest of Warmongers, Neoconservatives and Israeli-firsters

With Mitt Romney’s comments on Libya drawing attention today–specifically, his criticism of Obama–it’s worth examining whom Romney listens to on such matters.

Dan Senor is one of Romney’s closest advisers on foreign policy. Since Paul Ryan has been selected as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate, Senor has been traveling with Ryan–but today, he left the trail because of the “foreign policy developments” and is in Boston and NYC.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Neocon Redux

President Barack Obama’s sin at the first Presidential debate was one of misunderstanding the rules. The rules, that is, of theatre. American presidential politics has for at least two generations been a matter of the forced smile, the folksy refrain, the false sense of interest in the people. But when he decided to treat Romney as a sparring partner at a school debate, or at the very least a village idiot’s gathering, he came across as “detached”. The hideous reaction to the President’s disinterested behaviour has spawned a host of impromptu advisors seeking a retainer with the President. Please Mr. President, we are here to help you deceive.

The age of ramped up deception is certainly upon us. Mitt Romney chose to tell his audience at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington that he is keen on aping an old neoconservative platform. He chose, with a certain degree of ill-informed guise, the words of George Marshall. “The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.” This is hardly believable, but then again, this is Mitt, a person so malleable as a gummy character he is hard to pin down.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mitt Romney and the Neocon Mind Pre-911

Mitt Romney gave a foreign policy speech on 8/12/2012 that was right out of the neocon playbook. The great neocon talking points, especially, "American Exceptionalism", were used. American Exceptionalism is a code phrase for American Dominance or American Imperialism.

Niall Ferguson has said that America is Imperialistic, and should show it off, flaunt it. He supports the neocons and American dominance in the middle east.

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The Neocons’ Waiting Game

Many realities of foreign policy do not lend themselves to clear, coherent positions in an election campaign. The reasons for this go beyond the fact that in most election years far more votes are to be won or lost on domestic issues than foreign ones, even during better economic times than we have now.

One of the reasons is the reactive nature of much of foreign policy, in which presidents are forced to spend more of their attention dealing with problems the world throws at them than on imposing their own program on the world, however much they may have hoped to do such imposing when coming into office.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Neocon versus Realist: Romney Punts At VMI

So where did Mitt Romney come down in his big speech, "The Mantle of Leadership," at the Virginia Military Academy, on the side of the neocons or realists? He didn't. Instead of choosing between neocons and realists, he chose not to choose. His speech was a blend of great power chest-thumping that artificially inflated the differences between him and Obama, on the one hand, and cautious prescriptions that did little to suggest the course he would pursue as president, on the other. Rhetorically, the speech was pure neocon. Romney talked about returning to the great traditions of Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. He talked about spreading freedom abroad. And he painted a Manichean portrait of the Middle East, suggesting that Obama has failed to appreciate the urge for freedom and liberty in the region, while foolishly distancing Washington from Jerusalem. Romney sought, above all, to suggest that Obama is a new president Carter, that once again America is under siege abroad. According to Romney, Read the entire article

Monday, October 08, 2012

Why Target Iran?

The fabled journey of the neocons from far left to far right has been celebrated in story and song, and there is no need to go into all the gory details here: we’ve heard it all before — in a PBS documentary, “Arguing the World,” and in numerous memoirs by the participants. Yet this famous hegira didn’t take them anywhere: it was a journey standing still. For they had simply transferred their allegiance from the Soviet Union to the United States without changing the basic underlying assumptions of their radical universalism: instead of a world communist revolution as advocated by Leon Trotsky and his followers, these disillusioned Marxists now dreamed of a “global democratic revolution,” as one of George W. Bush’s speechwriters put it in a presidential oration celebrating the anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy.


Smirking Neocon Establishment Propagandist . . .

. . . Ben Stein said on the "Sunday Morning" show this morning that "America won" the "debate" between Romney and Obama because there essentially was no debate. They both agree on most everything, he said, and most importantly, neither wants to "change any of our social institutions." They are two peas in a pod who promise to do nothing more than expand the welfare/warfare/fascist police state that America has become. Stein ended his smarmy bloviation with a big fake smile. (This is the same Ben Stein who was featured for years on the FOX News Channel as an expert stock picker who admitted that he doesn't personally own any stocks himself, only mutual funds).


Sunday, October 07, 2012

Norman Finkelstein and Neocon Denial

While a number of mainstream media pundits have acknowledged that the neocons played a major role in bringing about the war on Iraq (though usually without mentioning their connection to Israel or their predominantly Jewish ethnicity), there are stringent critics of Israel and US policy in the Middle East who totally reject this interpretation. One of the most notable of these is Norman Finkelstein, who expounds on his view in his latest book, “Knowing Too Much.” Because I must limit the length of this article, my argumentation must be kept to a minimum. My book, “The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel,” provides a detailed and extensively-documented account of all the issues covered here. It should be added that Finkelstein has labeled my book as conspiratorial—which is just the opposite of what the word “transparent” in the title conveys and what is explicitly stated in the book—and he denies that there is any evidence for my contentions. It does not appear that Finkelstein has actually read my book; he probably considers it not worth reading.

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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Linda Gasparello: Neocons grooming the next generation

Where have all the Bush-Cheney-era foreign policy hawks, known as the neocons, gone?

Gone to a new think tank in Washington, D.C., or at least a good many of them. The Foreign Policy Initiative is a neocon nest.

It's where Eric Edelman, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Dan Senor — who are all directors — and others, think, speak, write and hatch new neocons.

If you've puzzled over who advised Mitt Romney, a foreign policy fledgling, to declare Russia America's "No. 1 geopolitical foe" during the campaign and to assure in his speech at the Republican National Convention that, "Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone," look no further than FPI.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Neocon Uber-Hawks Want War on Iran

In January 2009, Obama succeeded Bush. Neocons stuck around. They infest Washington. War gets their juices flowing. They urge it on Syria and Iran.

Potential catastrophic consequences don't matter. Uber-hawks don't worry about them. It's someone else's problem.

Romney is America's Netanyahu. Both talks about red lines, deadlines, and timelines. Claims about an existential Iranian threat don't wash. Both know it. They'll say anything further their imperial aims. More on Romney below.

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Monday, October 01, 2012

Neocons Return, Set Sights on Romney

The Foreign Policy Initiative on Dupont Circle is a neocon nest. It's where Amb. Eric Edelman, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Dan Senor — who are all directors — and others, think, speak, write and hatch new neocons.

If you've puzzled over who advised Mitt Romney, a foreign policy fledgling, to declare Russia America's “No. 1 geopolitical foe”during the campaign and to assure in his speech at the Republican National Convention, “Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone,” look no further than FPI.

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