Refining the neo-con concession speech

The neo-con grip on America's foreign policy continues to weaken. The most recent evidence: a Weekly Standard article by former Rumsfeld advisor David Schenker, who is now a senior fellow at WINEP (Washington institute for Near East Policy), whose Board of Advisors included Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. In it, he expresses frustration with Syria's ability to "run the U.S. table", serving as an obstacle to the neo-cons' grand designs for the Middle East.
"To be sure, the administration has tried to ratchet up pressure. But its policy has suffered from inconsistency, even ambivalence...After years of threats and condemnations, what has Washington really accomplished with regard to Damascus? Precious little.

Despite the administration's rhetorical campaign against Syria, Washington is in no rush to up the ante with Damascus...the sad reality is that with just over 900 days to go and attention focused on Iran, Iraq, and Hamas, the clock is running out..."
Schenker's article basically admits to the neo-cons' political base: Look guys, we've bitten off more than we can chew, and sorry, but our plan to change the whole Middle East is just not realistic. Some of his colleagues will be furious at such a revelation. This is a proto-concession speech.

Well, the neo-con plot was never realistic to begin with. As the Bush Administration's policies, shaped by this misguided vision, continue to play out in the Middle East, we should definitely expect more such frustration expressed, and continued infighting from within the neo-con ranks.

But the Presidential Primary season of 2008 is the time for true conservatives to tear down the scaffolding that the neo-cons have built around the GOP's "big tent". These idealogues need to find a new home. A recent LA Times article says:

"This new crop of liberal hawks calls for expanding the existing war against terrorism, beefing up the military and promoting democracy around the globe.

...as the crusading Republican neoconservatism espoused by Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol and others lies in the smoking rubble of Baghdad, a new generation of Democrats wants to dust off and rehabilitate those traditional Democratic principles, which they believe were hijacked by the Bush administration.
The new Democratic hawks, like the old neoconservatives of the 1970s, represent an insurgency, a direct challenge to the establishment."
It's time to let Lieberman and Clinton and Obama and Feinstein and those liberal hacks deal with the neo-cons. Good luck. The GOP has had enough of their ideology.


Anonymous said...

The Democrats will have a hard time accepting the neoconservatives back into thier ranks. The neocons all left the Dem. Party in the 70s and became supporters of Reagan because he was the only one advocating for a strong military and would not accept anything less than U.S. victory in the Cold War. Today's national Democratic Party is dominated by the hard left. They are anti-war, anti-military, and at times, anti-American. The days of Truman, JFK, and Scoop Jackson have long passed. Sen. Lieberman is about the only neoconservative voice left on the Democratic side in Washington. It will be interesting to see what happens in 08.

George Ajjan said...

I disagree, anonymous. The centerpiece of what we call "neoconservatism" in 2006 concerns the Middle East, and America's high-stakes role there. Plenty of Democrats will have plenty to say about that.

Bill Clinton is a not-so-closeted neo-con at times. Just wait and see.

But I do agree that 2008 primaries on either side may end up being referenda on this ideology. It's time that America had some healthy debate on the impact.

norman said...

Good job George,because the neoconserv have no idiology and loyalty to one party but they have loyalty to Israel i will not be surprised if they jumped ship and joined the Democratic party when they win the election.

Anonymous said...

George, my only goal in the first comment was to point out that:

Today, those same neocons from the 70s (Richard Perle, Irving & William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Paul Wolfowitz, etc.) view Islamic Fundamentalism in the exact same context as they did Totalitarian Communism – an evil that must be faced head on.

Neocons backed Reagan out of a shared commitment to beefing up the military. It was a political marriage of convenience, nothing more. Throughout the 90s, the neocons returned to their Democratic roots, were in Bill Clinton’s corner, and had his ear on several occasions – like the 1998 passage of the Iraqi Liberation Act and what to do in the Balkans. Not one neocon backed Bush in 2000, because he came out against nation building. It was only after September 11th that Bush welcomed the neocon vision into his administration.

It is important to remember that Neoconservatives are foreign policy hawks whose interest lies primarily in foreign affairs, not domestic, so they will ally themselves with whoever will promote their goals. The only question that remains is whether the Democrats will allow such views back within their party as we approach 2008.