|American a Beacon, not an Empire||
"NEO-CONSERVATIVES" - WHAT AND WHO THEY ARE
Raimondo's PORTRAIT OF THE "WAR PARTY"
Against World Empire, Inc. homepage
See Also Neocon Updates
& Neoconservative Biographies also Profiles on Leading Neocons --
Neoconservative think tanks, periodicals, and key documents Excellent summary from CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
"NEOCONSERVATIVES" - WHAT AND WHO THEY ARE --Also see below for Addendums-- (1) Neoconservative Geneology (2) Raimondo, (3) Samuel Francis--- (4) Neo-Trash from New Republic, (5) Wanniski (on China) (6) See also below PHILANTHROPY ROUNDTABLE
Neoconservatives are pro-bombing, pro-empire Washington policy wonks (almost never with a business or military background) who have filled the vacuum on the Right, where most Americans have little interest in foreign policy and know little about foreign nations. They dominate Republican foreign policy because they care about it, whereas most Americans don't. They also are heavily financed by Murdock's media empire and their control of the 4 largest conservative foundations. If their wars leave the Republican Party in ruins after the next election, they can easily return to the Democratic Party from whence they came. Indeed one of their leaders is already threatening to--See Going Back Where They Came From by Pat Buchanan
One editor explains, "Neoconservatives can trace their roots to Trotskyist anti-Stalinism." In domestic politics they are close to European Social Democrats. In The Roots of the Nazi Mind, Peter Viereck pondered the oft times fantasy for violence among those who lead peaceful, secure lives, writing, "how so many of the founders of the Germany's National Socialist Party were artists, writers, and academics. They were `intellectuals who lusted for brute violence a Bohemia in arms," wrote Viereck," see Eric Margolis. Of course neocons are not Nazis, just intellectuals with dreams of empire.
They can always be spotted by these seven features:----
1) Wanting empire and, of course, the war on Iraq; most also supported war on Serbia.
2) Arguing that international law has little validity and only gets in the way of American objectives. For them America is so strong, it can safely ignore other nations' national interests and "go it alone." Then other nations will fall in line and follow Washington's demands, they used to argue.
3) Caring little about preserving constitutional freedoms. They, and the conservative foundations they control, were noticibly absent in the debate about the Patriot Act and losses of constitutional freedoms. As Joe Sobran writes, "they have little interest in any conservative philosophy or principles--traditionalsim, constitutionalism, limited government, free market economics or Christian civiliation itself."
4) Supporting ever larger Israeli settlements on the West Bank (kicking Palestinians out of their homes) and any other extension of military force, e.g. NATO expansion to Russia's borders.
5) Almost never having been in the military or having a son in it now or having international business experience or having lived overseas outside of England. They know little about the outside world except , sometimes, West Europe.
6) Wanting to take down China to prevent its growing economic and political power from one day being able to challenge American hegemony in Asia (Wolfowitz Doctrine)
7) They, together with crucial support from the Armageddon Lobby, have turned America away from its traditional "open door" and "Atlantic Charter" policies back to 19th Century Europe theories of "blood and iron." They have made America hated in much of the world.
See How and Why America is Becoming Imperialist and also How Neocons took over Bush foreign policy And then there is money. With the Bush 2 government many Neocons are also being paid from representing defense contractors or foundations which get major grants from military manufacturers and service companies.
Americans, who have lived abroad and know foreign cultures, are rarely "Neocons." Indeed Neoconservatives themselves are notable for their absence of experience in foreign nations (except sometimes England, or, more rarely France), most never lived abroad, don't speak foreign languages, and never served in the military themselves. They provide the brains, while the Military/Industrial/Congressional complex provides the brawn of the WAR PARTY, meaning those who want, or thrive during, wars or preparation for war.
Often allied with neo-cons are other minor players with particular interests. One is the "English Contingent," that is Englishmen who want to see an American World Empire on the mode of England's old imperium. Another are European origin ethnics who have particular nationalist concerns, e.g. wanting to prevent Russia from returning to any imperialist intentions or abilities by having NATO expand to look after East Europe. Zbigniew Brzezinski is a person with such views. However, he well understands that America's becoming the enemy of the Moslem world will eventually strengthen Russia, not to mention weakening American ties with Western Europe. He therefore opposed attacking Iraq and wants peace with the Arabs.
A key leader of the neo-cons and with a typical background is Richard Perle. (More Perle and even more on his other conflicts of interest). His WHO'S WHO biography shows a lifetime in government or academic work with foreign study only in England. See AMERICAN PROSPECT for more on Perle. Another, John Bolton, now Assistant Secretary of State, is a Phi Beta Kappa from Yale, also with no little foreign affairs experience until becoming Chief Counsel (a lawyer job) for the Agency for International Development during the Reagan Administration. He is noted for arguing that international law should have no validity because "the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States," (See link to his name). There has now (update 3/13/03) been a major breakthrough in discussion with Perle questioned on Meet the Press about his loyalties.
FLASH 3/24/03 Buchanan -- Media shines light into Neo-con closet 3/28 TOLEDO BLADE Breakthru on Neo-Cons running Bush Administration
Now we also have Bill Bennett leading a collection of Neo-cons (Americans for Victory over Terrorism) with a full page ad for war in the NEW YORK TIMES. He is subsidized by pro-Likud fund raiser Lawrence Kadish from Florida.
The "Neo-con" flagship publications are the NEW REPUBLIC, WEEKLY STANDARD (a recent editorial urged that any budget surplus be used to buy more weaponry) and COMMENTARY; but "Neo-cons" equally control the editorial pages of the WALL STREET JOURNAL (it's op-ed distortions and even lies are the worst of all major newspapers at ever printing a non War Party view or arguments of anti-Sharon/Settler Israelis), and NATIONAL REVIEW (although Buckley's columns are less so, he delivered NR into Neo-con War Party hands). The WASHINGTON POST is fair, but its main columnists, especially Will and Krauthamer are solid war-empire promoters The NEW YORK TIMES editorial page is very fair with different opinions. The WASHINGTON TIMES definitely supports empire but does publish a few varied opinions. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE publishes some very fair op-eds. FOREIGN AFFAIRS publishes excellent analyses. To understand the differences, it's worth keeping in mind that New York thrives on and thinks of trade. Washington thinks and thrives from war. "War is the Health of the State" (read Big Government), is the classic proverb of Randolph Bourne.
In Washington "neocon" views dominate the major networks' Sunday talk shows, but MEET THE PRESS' Tim Rustert is pretty good and balanced. Neocons are specifically represented by Bill Kristol (WEEKLY STANDARD), Paul Wolfowitz, Fred Barnes, Morton Kondracke, Elliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer, Frank Gaffney (former aid to Richard Perle and WASHINGTON TIMES columnist), Michael Ledeen, Robert Kagan (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), columnist Cal Thomas, a dispensationalist, and others. Strong opposition to the Neocon line is presented on by Robert Novak and Pat Buchanan and all over the INTERNET. Also on NBC by John McLaughlin of the Group, who last 11/15/99 brought attention to the plight of "500,000" dead Iraqi children from the UN-US blockade. You'll never hear "Neocons" express much sympathy for the civilian casualties of their wars. In the print media there is much open resistance to the "neocons" by Paul Craig Roberts, Joseph Sobran, Charley Reece, Don Feder (at least as far as Europe is concerned-not for the Middle East) and others. See Conservatives opposed to bombing. from WASHINGTON TIMES. See also War Wanters Biographies--Few Know Outside World
"Neoconservatives" are mostly former leftists/liberals who converted to conservatism during the '70's and when Ronald Reagan became President. In domestic policy they tend to be moderate "welfare" Republicans. However, their major concern is foreign policy. They strongly favor US military interventions overseas and becoming the worlds policeman. They promoted the First Iraq War and are constantly the instigators for more confrontation with Iraq, Iran, the Sudan, and other Moslem states. They were among the chief instigators of the Kosovo War.
Although many (most) of the original neocons were Jewish, primarily using the arguments for universal American intervention overseas as a cloak for justifying support particularly for Israel, the movement grew to encompass older conservatives who joined for other reasons. These were attracted because of its control of vast monies and media jobs, its support from the Armageddonites, its control of large foundations, and so on. In time the movement grew to encopass all those who want America to "rule the world."
Kosovo was a neo-con "War Baby," they all supported it; then it was China and Iran under threat--then Iraq, but any war will do. 9/11 was their dream come true, as it was used to drive America towards foreign invasions, war and world empire! Their pasr policies of humiliating and killing Moslems brought about an attack upon America, the result we warned would come.
The Kosovo war weakened the "neocons" virtual control of conservative publications on foreign policy, but 9/11 brought them back; now they rule President George Bush. The WASHINGTON TIMES, for example, published many anti-empire views during the Kosovo war, but then returned to publishing mainly neo-conservative op-eds. Typical of most conservative publications, it rarely publishes any op-ed reflecting Jewish or Israeli views for compromise and peace, in order to make the appearance that all Jews favor the LIKUD and settlements on the West Bank.
"Neocons" never explain reasons for terrorists' hatred towards America, because that would bring questions about the "costs" of having a world empire. So they "explain" terrorists as just "crazies" who enjoy killing people because they oppose freedom and American values. Typical is Washington's CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES' long analysis of terrorism in December,'01 Foreign terrorists were simply described as those who "resent re-eminent U.S. power and/or have disdain for the West."
In the Middle East neocons support the most intransigent elements in Israel and the Likud Party for occupation and new settlements (a large percentage of the settlers are Americans) on Arab lands. (the "idiotic settlements," Thomas Friedman NY TIMES, 11/24, calls them). Polls show that most Israelis want peace and compromise, but they are undermined by the American Neoconservatives who denouce any compromise peace which would allow the cutting back of American military forces in the Middle East. Among conservatives they are not alone in this position. Key leaders of the "Religious Right" also promote the settlements, some openly arguing that they will help to bring about "Armageddon" and the return of Christ. (See Some Fundamentalists Ache for Armageddon). On the extreme fringe of the religious right are the Dispensationalists (scroll down to "War in the Heavens").
Neoconservatives are the dominant force over establishment Republicans in Congress (although here again Kosovo weakened them a bit) and in most of the major conservative think tanks. Their main base among think tanks is the AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE (a policy paper in January, 2001, urges American attacks on Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Gaza). Others are the HERITAGE FOUNDATION (see more below--modified after Kosovo), ETHICS AND PUBLIC POLICY CENTER, and BROOKINGS INSTITUTION. Of the large think tanks only the CATO INSTITUTE and LUDWIG VON MISES INSTITUTE actively oppose their positions. The Kosovo disaster caused HERITAGE to pull back from its former strongly interventionist positions, e.g. favoring NATO expansion, but it is now in full battle cry for war with Iraq.
"Neo-con" power comes from their knowledge and political credentials in matters of foreign affairs (European, not 3rd World or Asian) and because of their control over the giant Foundations (Bradley, Olin, Scaife, Smith-Richardson) which provide major funding for pro-interventionist think tanks. Also some gain major financial support from many weapons manufacturers. The NEW YORK TIMES reported recently how such industries were a major factor promoting NATO expansion to East Europe and then paying for the recent NATO anniversary celebrations in Washington. There are billions to be made in outfitting weapons for new NATO members, and they'll want Washington to lend or pay for it, e.g. (update-Jan/03, F-16's for Poland, billions put up by U.S. taxpayers).
The old military industrial complex is now called the MICC, military/industrial/congressional complex. This was particularly evident during the bombing of Serbia when freshmen and sophmore Republican congressmen were mainly in opposition, while all the old Senate Republican Commmittee Chairmen supported it.
"Neocons" are the brains of the "War Party." They are well-organized, very well-financed, and very focused. Their members know what they want---American Empire, Cold War level military spending, lots of new weapons, and a globalist policing mission that would project American military power deep into Asia and all points in between.
CONSERVATIVES turned against the Kosovo war; the neoconservatives suffered their first very major defeat and criticism with the Heritage Foundation expressing its opposition. Its foreign policy VP, Kim Holmes, wrote in WASH. TIMES that Heritage did not support NATO expansion for NATO to launch attacks on sovereign nations. Heritage publicist, Hugh C. Newton, "Other than Kristol and Kagan in the Weekly Standard, most conservatives are appalled at what we've gotten into ... and are very reluctant to commit ground troops, especially under a president we don't trust anyway." However, war party neo-cons now dominate George W. Bush's foreign policy team, specifically Wolfowitz and Perle, although General Powell, in line to become Secretary of State under Bush, is not a WarParty man.
Update 1/3/03 Heritage is now very pro-war and empire, even to the extent of downplaying threats of a police state and constitutional violations by the Bush Administration . Foreign policy has become the tail that wags the (big) dog. Mainly it supports anything Bush does.
Update 4/29/03 "Who's Who Among Neocons" and how they got started
Other updates 4/10/03
How Neo-cons took over Washington & Launched a War
War Going as Neo-cons want it - plans laid out to overthrow other Moslem governments
PentaCons (Pentagon Neocons) in charge
Neo-Con Watch --various Links on Neoconservatives
Neo-conservative Genealogy by Jim Lobe
March 26, 2003 Viewed on March 27, 2003
What do William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Elliot Abrams, and Robert Kagan have in common? Yes, they are all die-hard hawks who have gained control of U.S. foreign policy since the 9/11 attacks. But they are also part of one big neoconservative family -- an extended clan of spouses, children, and friends who have known each other for generations.
Neoconservatives are former liberals (which explains the 'neo' prefix) who advocate an aggressive unilateralist vision of U.S. global supremacy, which includes a close strategic alliance with Israel. Let's start with one of the founding fathers of the extended neocon clan: Irving Kristol. His extensive resume includes waging culture wars for the CIA against the Soviet Union in the early years of the Cold War and calling for an American 'imperial' role during the Vietnam War.
Papa Kristol, who has been credited with defining the major themes of neoconservative thought, is married to Gertrude Himmelfarb, a neoconservative powerhouse on her own. Her studies of the Victorian era in Britain helped inspire the men who sold Bush on the idea of 'compassionate conservatism.'
The son of this proud couple is none other that William Kristol, the crown prince of the neoconservative clique and editor of the Rupert Murdoch-owned Weekly Standard. In 1997, he founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a front group which cemented the powerful alliance between right-wing Republicans like Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, Christian and Catholic Right leaders like Gary Bauer and William Bennett, and the neocons behind a platform of global U.S.military dominance.
Irving Kristol's most prominent disciple is Richard Perle, who was until Thursday the Defense Policy Boardchairman, is also a 'resident scholar' at the American Enterprise Institute, which is housed in the same building as PNAC. Perle himself married into neocon royalty when he wed the daughter of his professor at the University of Chicago, the late
Alfred Wohlstetter -- the man who helped both his son-in-law and his fellow student Paul Wolfowitz get their start inWashington more than 30 years ago.
Perle's own protege is Douglas Feith, who is now Wolfowitz's deputy for policy and is widely known for his right-wing Likud position. And why not? His father, Philadelphia businessman and philanthropist Dalck Feith, was once a follower of the great revisionist Zionist leader,
Vladimir Jabotinsky, in his native Poland back in the 1930s.The two Feiths were honored together in 1997 by the right-wing Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).
The AEI has long been a major nexus for such inter-familial relationships. A long-time collaborator with Perle, Michael Ledeen is married to Barbara Ledeen, a founder and director of the anti-feminist Independent Women's Forum (IWF), who is currently a major player in the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and another neo-con power couple -- David and Meyrav Wurmser --co-authored a 1996 memorandum for Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu outlining how to break the Oslo peace process and invade Iraq as the first step to transforming the Middle East.
Though she doesn't focus much on foreign-policy issues, Lynne Cheney also hangs her hat at AEI. Her husband Dick Cheney recently chose Victoria Nuland to become his next deputy national security adviser. Nuland, as it turns out, is married to Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol's main comrade-in-arms and the co-founder of PNAC.
Bob's father, Donald Kagan, is a Yale historian who converted from a liberal Democrat to a staunch neocon in the 1970s. On the eve of the 2000 presidential elections, Donald and his other son, Frederick, published 'While America Sleeps,' a clarion call to increase defense spending. Since then, the three Kagan men have written reams of columns warning that the currently ballooning Pentagon budget is simply not enough to fund the much-desired vision of U.S. global supremacy. And which infamous ex-Reaganite do the Kagans and another leading neocon family have in common? None other than Iran-contra veteran Elliott
Abrams. Now the director of Near Eastern Affairs in Bush's National Security Council, Abrams worked closely with Bob Kagan back in the Reagan era. He is also the son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz, long-time editor of the influential conservative Jewish publication Commentary, and his wife,
Midge Decter, a fearsome polemicist in her ownright. Podhoretz, like Kristol Sr., helped invent neo-conservatism in the late 1960s. He and Decter created a formidable political team as leaders of the Committee on the Present Danger in 1980, when they worked with
Donald Rumsfeld to pound the last nail into the coffin of detente and promote the rise of Ronald Reagan. In addition to being Abrams' father-in-law, Norman Podhoretz is also the father of John Podhoretz, a columnist for the Murdoch-owned New York Post and frequent guest on the Murdoch-owned Fox News channel.
As editor of Commentary, Norman offered writing space to rising stars of the neocon movement for more than 30 years. His proteges include former U.N. ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and Richard Pipes, who was Ronald Reagan's top advisor on the 'Evil Empire,' as the president liked to call the Soviet Union. His son, Daniel Pipes, has also made a career out of battling 'evil,' which in his case is Islam. And to tie it all up neatly, in 2002, Podhoretz received the highest honor bestowed by theAEI: the Irving Kristol award.
This list of intricate, overlapping connections is hardly exhaustive or perhaps even surprising. But it helps reveal an important fact. Contrary to appearances, the neocons do not constitute a powerful mass political movement. They are instead a small, tighly-knit clan whose incestuous familial and personal connections, both within and outside the Bush administration, have allowed them to grab control of the future of American foreign policy.
Further Readings Below on Neoconservatives---
(1) Justin Raimondo's "Portrait of the War Party"
(2) European Union, Atlantic Union & Atlantic Socialism
(3) Neo-cons on China by Lew Rockwell
(4) Neo-Con Invasion by Sam Francis
(5) Neo-Con Trash--New Republic--oppose bombing means hating America
by Justin Raimondo http://www.antiwar.com/justin/diaries/diary1.html
On the Right, Kosovo is the latest cause of the neoconservatives, a sect that is small in numbers but hugely influential in the media and in Washington. The neoconservatives, or "neocons," have never amounted to more than a few dozen intellectuals and publicists, nearly all of whom seem to be newspaper columnists, magazine editors, and foundation officials. A high-powered bunch, many of them started out as militant anti-Stalinists who yet retained their socialist credentials (e.g. Sidney Hook) and wound up, twenty years later, in the camp of Ronald Reagan cheering on the Nicaraguan "contras." The domestic agenda of these political chameleons has changed with the circumstances of the moment: when liberalism was fashionable, they were liberals; when free-market shibboleths replaced liberal bromides as the conventional wisdom, these seekers after the main chance were suddenly "converted" to capitalism (as least enough to give it "two cheers"). From being advisors to Hubert Humphrey and "Scoop" Jackson, they went on to become the intellectual vanguard of the "Reagan Revolution."
But none of these domestic issues really moved them, or occupied a central place in their political affections. What really got them going, however, was the issue of Communism, i.e., foreign policy, which was their ruling passion. Their views were shaped by an overwhelming desire to destroy their old enemies, the Stalinists, and evolved over the years into a reflexive bellicosity. The death of Communism did not even break their stride: they were on the job warmongering full-time weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, looking alternately at Islamic fundamentalism and the Chinese as potential stand-ins for the Kremlin.
While most conservatives in Congress reacted to the intervention in Bosnia with something considerably less than enthusiasm, the Weekly Standard, house organ of the neocons, scolded and mocked the Republicans for their skepticism, accusing them of turning "isolationist." While disdaining any ostensibly humanitarian motives, for the neocons American intervention was and is a question of maintaining hegemony, not only in Europe but over the whole globe. Editor Bill Kristol has called for the United States to impose a "benevolent world hegemony" on the peoples of the earth, and urges America to drop the republican pretense and adopt a frankly imperial foreign policy. The globalism of the neocons is the old liberal internationalism dressed up in the self-consciously "tough" rhetoric of hard-nosed power politics: instead of the "We-are-the-World-we-are-the-children" internationalism of Ted Turner and the Clinton administration, editor Kristol defended the 1995 bombing of the Serbs in typically Cro-Magnon terms: "The Serbs do not put down their guns because they trust America will treat them fairly." wrote the Weekly Standard editors. "They do so because they know we sympathize with Bosnia, and they trust only that we will kick their skulls in if they break the peace."
For years, Kristol and his fellow neocons have been ceaselessly agitating for war against Serbia. Now that they have it, they are devoting entire issues of their subsidized magazines to justifying it and arguing for its escalation and expansion. The war, they admit, is "going badly," but this is due to Clinton's mismanagement, not to any inherent flaws in his policy. The problem is his irresoluteness, his character, which prevents him from doing the brave thing, and that is starting the ground war immediately. And if Clinton will not start the war on the ground in Kosovo quite yet, then the neocons have wasted no time in waging a war of words against those conservative Republicans who have become the antiwar opposition of the new millennium. They are, as the Weekly Standard put it, "a rather motley collection of neoisolationists who simply don't believe the United States should much concern itself with overseas matters not directly threatening the American homeland; of Clinton despisers who don't trust the administration to do any serious thing seriously . . . and of ultra-sophisticated 'realist' intellectuals who have divined that America has no interests in the Balkans and who claim that to combat Milosevic's aggression and brutality is merely to indulge in soft-headed liberal internationalism." The editors then roll out a long list of conservative stalwarts, all safely within the neocon orbit. How could crusty old Jean Kirkpatrick be described as "soft-headed"?
For the Weekly Standard to denounce "Clinton-despisers" is hypocrisy on such a scale that it defies quantification or even comprehension: after calling for his impeachment, week after week, and salivating over the dreary details of the President's peccadilloes, both personal and political, relentlessly and with mind-deadening monotony, to now hear from these very same people that we must follow our Commander-in-chief into battle without question or hesitation, would be funny if it weren't so monstrous. What kind of robots do they think conservatives are, that they can be turned on and off with the flick of a switch? As for these "ultra-sophisticated" intellectuals who champion "realism" how "sophisticated" does one have to be to question the value of intervening in a Godforsaken backwater like the Balkans? And why not inject a note of realism into the fancy formulations of foreign policy theoreticians, who ceaselessly invent "new architectures" and enunciate grandiose policies that their sons and daughters will never be asked to die for? It is high time somebody did.
The idea that conservatives are opposed to jumping into the Yugoslav quagmire because they cannot abide Bill Clinton is wishful thinking on the part of Bill Kristol and his neocon clique: this war has really isolated them from what they hoped was going to be their mass base in the GOP, and cut them off from the rank-and-file of the conservative movement, perhaps permanently and irrevocably. The rightist response to the new internationalism has been so violent and so intransigent that even National Review, that old war-horse of Cold War militarism and Anglophilic Atlanticism has been forced to acknowledge it. The current issue [May 3, 1999] contains two apologies for Clinton's war: Zbigniew Brzezinski and Andrew J. Bacevich bemoan Clinton's apparent unwillingness to kill enough civilians in the bombing campaign and urge the immediate dispatch of the 82nd Airborne into the streets of Belgrade. Michael Lind has taken time off from attacking the Christian Coalition and conservatives in general and is readmitted to the right-wing fold in time to add his endorsement to the need to unleash the Marines on Belgrade. But this issue also features two significant dissents, by Owen Harries (editor of The National Interest) and Mark Helperin (a novelist and a contributing editor of the Wall Street Journal), whose eloquence and passion far outshines the pedestrian war-whoops that fill the rest of NR's pages.
Harries is, one supposes, one of those "ultra-sophisticates" denounced by the Weekly Standard for the vulgarity of their nouveau realism. But Harries' elegant piece is not so easily dismissed. In terms of foreign policy, American ends, he argues, have always been contradicted by the means employed: the former are grandiose, the latter inadequate to the task. We got away with it for a while, because no one dared to challenge us: now, we have to put up or shut up. Although he never says so directly, one gets the distinct impression that Harries would rather have us shut up. His logic is impeccable: people never fight unless it is in their interest to do so, that is, unless they have to defend their homes and their way of life against some actual or perceived aggression. No such aggression or threat now exists: ergo, the Americans will not fight, and probably should not fight, for wider and more "idealistic" ends. Ripping aside the facade of "fakery," Harries makes the trenchant point that the Balkans, "properly considered . . . should be an insignificant backwater, and it has taken a good deal of determined, sustained political stupidity to make it otherwise."
Harries also deconstructs the absurd propaganda device that equates Milosevic with Hitler: "The . . . characterization was nonsense, and, in typical Clinton fashion, we have heard no more about it since its initial trial run." We are not up against a militant totalitarianism, but Serbian nationalism, which, like the Vietnamese nationalism we fought unsuccessfully two and a half decades ago, has all the advantages: "We are militarily much stronger than our adversary, but he has much more at stake than we have." Aside from the political unsustainability of a high-casualty ground war, "the second argument against going in deeper is that in the end it may succeed and that this may be even more daunting than defeat. Because what does one do then?" The answer: occupy Belgrade and the whole region for the next fifty years.
After touching on the problem of our client, the KLA do we really want to back a Marxist-oriented guerrilla group with ties to the Albanian mafia and the international drug trade? and warning of "an unstable, truculent Russia that still possesses 20,000 nuclear warheads (which can be sold as well as used)" Harries quotes John Milton's "Paradise Lost":
A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog
Betwist Damiata and Mount Casius old,
Where armies whole have sunk.
While Milton's geography may be dubious, his sense of Balkan history is sound; Harries exhorts us to reflect long and hard before we sink much deeper into the Serbonian bog.
In Helprin's piece ["A Fog That Descends From Above,"] the new internationalism faces an even more withering scorn: as the instrument of Albanian separatism, U.S. policy in the Balkans is a standing invitation to disaster. As for the broader policy implications of our sudden championing of the Kosovar cause, Helprin asks: "Shall we join with the Basques in their struggle, or the Catalans, the Chechens, the Armenians and the Azerbaijanis?" And that is just the beginning: "If these do not suffice, Germanophones of the Alto-Adige would like very much to reattach themselves to Austria." The original purpose of NATO, to preserve the sovereignty of European nations against the centrifugal forces of secessionism and irredentism, has been not only nullified but inverted. In both the terrain and those will be defending it against an American assault, the difficulties are inherent and obvious: one has only to familiarize oneself with the Serbian national literature, replete with such titles as Into the Battle, South to Destiny, Reach to Eternity, and A Time of Death, and to remember that Tito's Partisans tied down 33 Axis divisions, to realize what we are up against in Serbia. "There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that an invasion to cover our miscalculations and elemental failings, and as an ally of radical ethnic Albanian separatism, and after a humanitarian crisis that we provoked has passed, is not worth the life of a single American." As for those who believe it is, they are "unduly generous with other people's sons."
While Helprin bring passion and historical context to his argument, Brzezinski and Bacevitch are sorely lacking in both departments. The former constructs thought-patterns of alarming circularity: we must intervene to save NATO and prevent America's "global leadership" from being fatally undermined, but nowhere states why NATO is an end in itself, or why we have to expand its original mission. Rather, this is assumed, as is the "devastation" a withdrawal from the Balkans would wreak on "global stability." Brzezinski berates Clinton for not moving swiftly enough to save the Kosovars, but fails to say what course of action would have saved them. We must "shock and intimidate" the Serbs with our bombing campaign, he coldly states, but only succeeds in shocking rather than convincing. There is a kind of Bismarckian arrogance in his jeremiad, an imperious tone that any native-born American can only find repulsive.
The same swaggering bullying tone, more appropriate to a German Junker of the last century than an American of any century, permeates Brzezinki's nine-point ultimatum to the Serbs: independence for Kosovo (how is this in our national interest? No answer) no negotiations and no more targeting restrictions: it's bombs away, and to hell with those Rembrandts! "Let's get serious" that's the title of this Machiavellian manifesto and we must make our commitment "unambiguous and enduring." How long? Five, ten, twenty years what about fifty? There is no mention of costs, nor is there any sense that this Great Statesman has any sense of the limits of American power. The theme of this essay, and of Bacevich's, is an insufferable hubris that virtually begs to be shot down. Here, for example, is Bacevich bloviating on the alleged incompetence of the Yugoslav military: "Indeed, to attribute to the Yugoslav armed forces more than a minimal ability to wage conventional war against modern, professional forces is to give them far more credit than they deserve. These are hooligans and gangsters, not trained and disciplined soldiers." I don't think a people fighting a defensive war on their own soil against overwhelming odds can be called hooligans and gangsters, no matter what their politics: and if I were Mr. Bacevich, I would not be so sure that such a people, with such a history, will crumble at the first sign of battle. At least they are fighting for something tangible their national sovereignty and identity as opposed to the pallid abstraction of NATO, or the even more nebulous "New World Order." The only Americans who believe that these are worth a single life are newspaper columnists, television talking heads, and thinktank policy wonks who wouldn't last very long on the battlefield.
Both National Review and the Weekly Standard invoke the names of the same Republican interventionists like a mantra: McCain, Lugar, Chuck Hagel, Bush and Dole II, etc. But they are clearly outnumbered, not only in the overwhelming opposition to this futile and destructive war among Republicans in Congress as shown in the recent vote disavowing the air war and restricting the use of ground troops but also among rank-and-file conservative Republicans, whose opposition is even more unequivocal. The recent convention of the California Republican Assembly, the conservative activist group within the state GOP, recently adopted a strong resolution against the war with virtually no debate. Opposition to this war is not even mildly controversial among conservatives, and Clinton has little to do with it: they would question it no matter who was leading us into this quagmire, and it is high time the War Party acknowledged it. In the post-Cold War world, conservatives instinctively look askance at military intervention; as the memory of Communism recedes, what Eliot Cohen calls the "ornithological miracle," the transformation of hawks into doves and vice versa, is inevitable and inexorable. Sooner or later, the militant interventionism and global do-goodism that attracted the neocons to the ranks of the Right will be totally expunged from the conservative movement, and they will be forced to go back back to the militant, do-gooding, global-crusading Left from which they first emerged.
Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (forthcoming from Prometheus Books). Mr. Raimondo is a member of our Advisory Board.
(2) European Union, Atlantic Union & Atlantic Socialism -A view of Neo-Cons as European socialists (they are nearly all in New York, Boston and Washington and used to be leftists before Reagan)
(3) Neoconservatives on China by Lew Rockwell
(4) The Neo-Con Invasion by Sam Francis--An excellent history--Where they came from, their history, and agenda.
(5) Neo-Conservatives BAAD interesting links
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