Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Fall of US Neoconservatism

This mainstream Republican repudiation of free trade, open borders and Neoconservatism on Fox News is an historical moment in American history:

Just listen to the attack on the neoconservatives here.

The fact that the neoconservative Paul Wolfowitz – the architect of the 2003 Iraq war – is probably voting for Hillary is one of those Orwellian moments when people should look from the faces of pigs to humans, and humans to pigs, and see no difference.

In another stunning development, it is reported that George H. W. Bush (Bush senior) will be voting for Hillary Clinton.

I don’t think enough people on the left understand the history of American conservatism. This is certainly my personal experience.

The worst elements of the George W. Bush administration were caused by the wing of the conservative movement called the Neoconservatives or “neocons.”

The older Neoconservatives gravitated from the Democratic party to the Republican party in the late 1970s, and under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were considered too extreme even by the militaristic Cold war warriors under Reagan.

In fact, in these years, the Neoconservatives were known in senior US policy circles as the “crazies” (I kid you not), as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern points out in the video below:

By the 2000s after 9/11, the “crazies” had taken control of US foreign policy. The 2003 war against Iraq was designed and driven by the Neoconservative wing of the administration of George W. Bush, and the Neoconservatives captured the support of Dick Cheney, and, through Cheney, George W. Bush himself. This illegal war was a catastrophe and the results can be seen in the Middle East today.

In the 2000s, the neoconservatives pushed a militant, almost neo-Trotskyist, neoliberalism that held that establishment of secular democracy by war in the Middle East would solve the West’s problems in that region. This policy has been a spectacular failure, again and again, whether in Iraq, Libya, and Syria – even when tried in a lesser form by Obama.

Even worse, this neocon-style foreign policy is gunning up a major – and totally unnecessary conflict – with Russia, and Hillary Clinton is on-board with this insanity.

And what about Trump? Once again the left is clueless and so stupid.

Trump has rejected the Neoconservatives, subjected them to the most incredible humiliation and even defeat, including arch-neocon Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard.

In one of those wonderfully comical moments of the campaign, Trump even took time out to bash that bloviating warmonger and neocon-sock puppet John McCain:

Trump has also repudiated the Neoconservative nation-building foreign policy, and seems to want cooperation with Russia. This is a very good thing indeed, but once again he seems to get no credit from the left.

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  1. And he never will, since Wal-mart shoppers like him. It really is that simple.

  2. Everyone I talk to who's a Trump supporter can't seem to deal with the contradictions inherit not only in the things Trump says and does, but in the way he contradicts himself often mid-paragraph. They aren't the sharpest tools in the shed, either.

    On the Facebook Alternative Left page, check on the far right (ironically lol) under "Visitor Posts" for a link by Rodrigo D. Sanh, a Chilean friend of mine who was involved briefly in an MRA group I ran. He has Trump pegged pretty good IMHO.

    I also note Kahlil Stultz gave you a good does of truth when you tried to tag those concerned about justice in Palestine as "regressive left obsession with Israel by people who are so unhinged."

    He's right in that Israel is a racist nation. let me go so far as to say that this stuff about Muslims and borders carries a whiff of racism as well. I think most of my leftist friends if they were to take a look at your page and note that you seem obsessed with those things, would just blow you off as a shill to try and bring ethnocentric ideals into the mainstream. Especially if they saw you harbor a Pro-Israeli buffoon in your comments who's defense of that apartheid nation boils down to "they did it too!"

    (Incidentally, why did't you publish my last replies to Mr. Marmur?)

    That's why I think the Counterpunch/Green Party view is going to be the real "Alternative Left." It rejects Neoliberal ideas about Minimum Wages, the Welfare State, and Free Trade, but doesn't feel the need to shit on people who are fleeing war-torn nations the US has made life a hell-hole for them to even make breakfast in.

    Take my advice: You won't find a growing coalition of people on the Left who will back you up on that, because it's part of our DNA to be compassionate and accepting of people of other cultures and making honest attempts at understanding.

    Hopefully you'll get more truth serum as you venture out beyond the borders of your own blog. It's good to see.

    1. Tell me this, Kevin. Say there is a fair two state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians accepted by both sides.

      My question to you:
      (1) should Israel have open borders or a mass immigration policy that reduces Jews to a minority of the population of Israel?

    2. If they want to. Or if they don't want to. It's entirely up to them. (Same answer I've given to this topic in the past.)

    3. Except that the Open Borders philosophy of the Greens (not sure about Counterpunch) is ruinous for the wider philosophy. I get being compassionate and accepting of others part of being a "liberal"/"leftist", but it should never lead to self-destruction so to speak. And unfortunately that's what "Open Borders" is about.

    4. No, actually there is nothing about open borders in the GP platform and Jill Stein has said she wouldn't want criminals & drug dealers to come in.


  4. Now I have a few fair questions for you in return LK:

    1) Do you think any nation should put up with congressmen such as Eric Cantor, who's admittedly taken 12 trips to Israel? He was rightly turned out by the voters in 2014, but ya gotta love the nice cushy job he got in return:

    Cantor is only one small example. We still got McCain, Lieberman, Cheney and others who need to see the inside of a jail cell, but won't because of their undying loyalty to someone else other than their own people.

    2) Read the Counterpunch article that I just shared and you published. Note the far-reach of Pro-Israeli Neocon Zionism into our lives that one cannot even publish or perform works of art that's too sympathetic to the Palestinians or too critical of Israel. Or how about the demonizing of of Norman Finklestein, for being a Jew who dared to raise his voice against the injustices against Palestinian Arabs, only to be shut out of getting a University permanent position as a Professor and pretty much jobless ever since? Thanks to Alan Dershowitz and his buddies in the American University system that are afraid of open debate.

    Talk about being minority in my own country! I could show you example after example of the ungodly reach these people have in American affairs.

    Do you think that's fair? Should any nation concerned about security put up with this bullshit?

    3) What is your take on the encroachment of the Surveillance state which seems to always come on the heels of every Terrorist scare? To say nothing of they way they're used as a pretext for continued wars of intervention? Talk about not putting your own people first!

    4) And since you seem to be okay with Trump's call for mass deportation, do you realize that anyone advocating for the interests of another nation should be registered as a Foreign Agent, or face being kicked out of the country? How would you feel about a mass deportation of Jews back to the Holy Land many of them seem to have such an undying love for?

    1. (1) and (2)
      I was a Chomskyian leftist for years and I'm well aware of the left-wing human rights criticisms of Israel, and the issues with the influence of pro-Likud, pro-Israel lobbies like AIPAC. However, America also has plenty of Christian pro-Israel Protestants and Christian Zionists.

      There is also a Saudi lobby in the US, which in my view is very dangerous:

      (3) a growing surveillance state is in fact going to be the inevitable consequence of mass immigration of people with a certain fundamentalist religion from the Middle east.

      (4) I support humane repatriation of *illegal aliens,* not the deportation of legal citizens, so your strange rant in (4) is really unhinged.

      And lobbies for foreign nations are a problem, yes, especially the Saudi lobby.
      Finally, Kevin, you seem to have strange a bee in your bonnet about this particular issue.

      Are you sure you're not Alt Right?

    2. While it's true that there exist an Israel lobby and a Saudi lobby, the problem with the thesis put forward by Walt and Mersheimer is that they argue that US missteps in the region over the past few decades are a result of the Israel lobby being the primary force driving US foreign policy in the middle east. In order to accept that argument, one has to believe that President Bush and President Obama were dragged, kicking and screaming, into war with Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya against their will. Given the US is the senior partner in the relationship with Israel, and the US has enabled the Israeli's to make mistakes far more than the opposite is true, it's tough to accept that argument as a valid explanation. That's not to say the Israel lobby can't influence foreign policy, or can't affect academic institutions; it's to suggest that the Israel lobby has a place because US administrations want them to.

      It should also be noted that while the Palestinians are the ultimate victims in this whole horrid affair, the Israeli's are not the only people who have screwed over the Palestinians. One should also throw in just about every Arab head of state since Israel has existed except for Nasser and maybe Sadam Husayn, the leaders of Palestinian organizations other than George Habash, every US president since Eisenhower, and plenty of others. At least in the Israeli case, they have legitimate concerns about their borders being defensible if they return the West Bank; one can't say the same regarding the US, the Arab leaders, or any other number of people.

      Kev, as I've said in the past, I tend to align more with your views than other commenters. As someone who shares your sympathy for the Palestinians and used to share your strong distaste for Israel, I wanted to offer some food for thought. I suspect that, like me, your fixation on this particular topic is in part motivated by the empathy you feel for the Palestinians. Can not the very same feelings of empathy you feel for the Palestinians, particularly when they are under siege, also apply to the Israeli's? While the situations are not equivalent, the very same fear and siege mentality that often drives the Palestinians into a frenzy also applies to the Israeli's during a war.

    3. LK, are you going to publish my last reply to Daniel? Because if you don't then I see no reason to respond to you or SHN at length here.

    4. No, Kevin, if you want endless, rancorous arguments about Israel-Palestine, please take them somewhere else, since they just end up being shouting matches and spamming the blog with endless links.

    5. SHN

      thank you so much finally someone understand my opinion so well really.

    6. LK if you don't want the arguments to continue unabated, that's fine. But I think you should give a fair warning that only a couple more replies are going to be accepted and then put me on "time out" lol At least don't allow someone to work on a response and then it not see the light of day.

  5. LK,

    Religious orientations and biases here too... Hannity and Buchannon are practicing Roman Catholics while Glen Beck (who they mention) is Mormon and the neo-cons are Evangelicals and Jewish...

    So the religious biases imo are playing a significant role in the US policy of being very activist in the Middle East around Israel...

    The anti-neocon cohort is probably largest in Roman Catholicism like Hannity and Buchannon here... also Bill O'Reilly there at Fox is a Roman Catholic he seems to be pro-Trump also...

    1. Shhhhh...! Don't tell Daniel that NeoConism has anything to do with religion. His brain might overload from the reality check! ;-)


  7. Kevin

    i put you more than once in the corner and you just became silent for a lot of time because of that.

    now i am tired of arguing in this format specially when you are always run away from arguement when you start to find out that i am answering well to your arguements and i am tired of spending hours of my life arguing with you honestly.

    now if you really want to argue anyway i sent you a message in your facebook and you are welcome to argue with me there since from now on i will not feed the troll and i will not comment on your comments here.

    so you are welcome to continue our arguement in facebook or bye kev since i have better things to do than argue with you here about israel.

    1. Daniel Marmur@September 22, 2016 at 2:42 AM

      I'll give you my opinion on this, and I hope you think it's at least fair:

      (1) there should be fair criticism of Israeli policy -- especially Likud policy -- on human rights grounds, e.g., the issue of West bank settlements. There is also an issue with conservative, pro-Likud, pro-occupation organisations in America like AIPAC.

      (2) however, the extreme anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment on the left has degenerated into a kind of irrational SJW cult now.

      Anti-Zionist is now a kind of regressive left religion, and strikes me as being quite unhinged.

      (3) the anti-Israel regressive left has blinded leftists to the treat from Islamism, and makes them unable to understand just how bad Palestinian Islamism is.
      Anyway, this is my view. I'm interested in what you think.

    2. Also: in a fair two state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians accepted by both sides, I do support the right of Jewish Israelis to keep Israel a majority homeland for the Jewish people and Jewish culture.

    3. LK

      i agree with you 100 percent yes there is human right violations and settlements are really not ok.

      but as you said by yourself islamism is a dangerous ideology because this ideology support the violation of people human rights freedom and liberties in the name of islam.

      also this ideology is dangerous because its uncompromising and unpragmatic so any negotiations with them is useless since they will never respect any diplomatic treaty at all.

      so yes israel is violating human rights (but we should take it into proportion) and building settlements.

      and i think is wrong but we should look at the general picture in this conflict.

      and we shouldnt whitewash palestinians and middle eastern countries just because they are the underdog and because of white man post colonial guilt.

      and its classic example of SJWism in my opinion.

      so basically LK i think the same as you about the issue.

    4. Regarding white washing, it should also be thrown in that we shouldn't white wash how much the Arab leaders have screwed over the Palestinians.

      Regarding Israel's violations of human rights and international law, Dan, would you agree it's less a matter of proportion than a matter of strategic need? While the occupation of the Golan post '67 is illegitimate under international law, the nightmare that are the '48 borders basically necessitates that Israel occupy the Golan. Same could be said of '67; while Israel's preemptive attack on Egypt's airfields were of dubious legitimacy under international law, and the refugee crisis afterwards was in part a result of Israeli attacks, there's a reasonable argument that it was justified given Nasser's rhetoric and massing of troops at the Sinai.

    5. SHN

      in 67 israel got intel about an all arabic plan to attack israel and israel made a decision for preemptive attack.

      and actually you are right its about strategy since to protect 48 borders back then and even now from islamists would be a nightmare.

      i believe you got it right i think so too.