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This Week on theRight
A Meeting of Minds and Policy
(Excerpted from an analysis published byInter Press Service on February 7. See Right Web’s special report The Foreign Policy Disapora — From Jerusalem to Washington (/analysis/2005/0502sharansky.php)for a full treatment of the Bush/Sharansky relationship.
There is little doubt that George W.Bush and Natan Sharansky, a Soviet émigré who is a top political official in Israel,share a similar perspective about internationalaffairs, especially in the Middle East.
Following his inaugural address, the U.S. president saidthat Sharansky’s book ”The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to OvercomeTyranny and Terror”, published last September, confirmed what he alreadybelieved. He added that the Israeli author’s thinking was ”part of mypresidential DNA.”
Sharansky and Bush appear to enjoy a mutual admirationsociety. Sharansky, who is Israel’s Minister for Jerusalem and DiasporaAffairs, praised Bush’s June 24, 2002 speech on his new Middle East policy –which aligned Washington with the Likud party’s agenda — as one of ”the twogreatest speeches of my lifetime”, the other being former U.S. president RonaldReagan’s speech casting the Soviet Union as an ”evil empire.”
After perusing galleys of Sharansky’s book, President Bushinvited the Israeli minister for a personal meeting at the White House onNovember 11, 2004. The November session between Sharansky and the president wasnot the first time that Bush had met Sharansky. On an official visit to Israelin 1998, Bush, then governor of Texas, met with then Foreign Minister ArielSharon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Industry Minister Sharansky.According to Bush, who had dinner with Netanyahu and was personally escorted ona helicopter tour of the occupied territories by Sharon, ”Israel has got atremendous amount of talent — smart folks — many of whom have immigrated fromRussia.” Sharanksy, one of those immigrants, gave Bush an overview of theexisting U.S.-Israeli business relationships and new opportunities, especiallyin the defense industry.
In Israel and across the Middle East, Sharansky is widelyregarded as a right-wing Zionist and hawk, who positions himself to the rightof Ariel Sharon.
The coherence between the Likud party’s agenda and that ofthe Bush administration was clearly on display at the December 2004 ”HerzliyaConference on National Strength and Security in Israel,” which featuredSharansky and Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Sharansky said that President Bush shared his own beliefthat there could be no peace in the Middle East or resolution of thePalestinian issue until the Arab world adopted economic and political reformsin line with those promoted by the Bush administration and the Likud party.
The United States and Israel have much in common, accordingto Sharansky. One of the links, he said in a speech at a forum sponsored by theAmerican Enterprise Institute, which was the basis for an article inCommentary, the journal of the American Jewish Committee, is the spreadingscourge of anti-Semitism. ”Anti-Americanism in the Islamic world andanti-Americanism in Europe are in fact linked,” argues Sharansky, because ”bothbear an uncanny resemblance to anti-Semitism.”
In his essay titled ”On Hating Jews,” Sharansky writes:”America embodies a different-a nonconforming-idea of the good, and refuses toabandon its moral clarity about the objective worth of that idea.” According toSharansky, the Jews have long held that they were chosen to play a special rolein history, to be what their prophets called ”a light unto nations” — notunlike the United States, a nation that has long regarded itself as entrustedwith a mission to be what John Winthrop in the 17th century called ”a city on ahill” and Ronald Reagan in the 20th century parsed as a ”shining city on a hill.”
*Tom Barry is policy director of the InternationalRelations Center (IRC), online at http://www.irc-online.org.He directs the IRC’s Right Web program.
*Neocon Gladiator: Elliott Abrams embodies neoconservatism. Perhaps morethan any other neoconservative, Abrams has integrated the various influencesthat have shaped today’s neoconservative agenda.
Right Web Profile: Elliott Abrams: /ind/abrams/abrams.php
*A Perfect Fit: Although not part of the new right’s militarist andneoconservative camps, Zoellick’s personal arrogance, his unilateralism, andhis loyalty to Bush and the Republican Party’s new radical elite make him aperfect fit for Bush’s new foreign policy team.
Right Web Profile: Robert Zoellick: /ind/zoellick/zoellick.php
*Follower, Not a Leader. Riceis expected to realign the State Department so that it reflects the directionsset by the administration’s foreign policy team based at the Pentagon and thevice-president’s office.
*Author, Activist, andGov’t Minister: In Case for Freedom,Natan Sharansky describes U.S. policy as a continuum involving many of hisclosest friends and collaborators in the United States, including Abrams,Perle, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, outgoing Undersecretary of Defense forPolicy Douglas Feith, and Cheney’s chief of staff “Scooter”Libby. “If you check their background, most of them were connectedeither to Senator Jackson or to the Reagan administration, or both,” wroteSharansky.
Right Web Profile: Natan Sharansky: /ind/sharansky/sharansky.php
Natan Sharansky andGeorge W. Bush:
The Foreign Policy Diaspora—From Jerusalem to Washington
As Minister of Jerusalem andDiaspora Affairs, Natan Sharanksy advocates the“in-gathering of Jews” inIsrael. In a letter published by the Israel Citizens Information Council, aproject of his ministry, Sharansky wrote: “In Israel there is no suchthing as an‘ordinary citizen.’ This country consists largely of immigrants,but immigrants only in the sense that they were born someplace else, just toreturn home, to Israel, later. The community we have created — a diverse,vibrant and growing democracy — is best represented by its citizens.”Sharansky describes himself as“the representative of the government andpeople of Israel to the Jewish world.”
Right Web Analysis: /analysis/2005/0502sharansky.php
Neocons and Liberals Together, Again
The neoconservative Projectfor the New American Century (PNAC) has signaled its intention to continueshaping the government’s national security strategy with a new public letterstating that the “U.S. military is too small for the responsibilities we areasking it to assume.” Their January 28th letter advocates that House andSenate leaders take the necessary steps “to increase substantially the size ofthe active duty Army and Marine Corps.”
Joining the neocons in theletter to congressional leaders were a group of prominent liberals givingcredence to PNAC’s claim that the “call to act” to increase the total number ofU.S. ground forces counts on bipartisan support. To the delight of theneocons at PNAC and AEI, these liberal hawks share their vision of a worldorder based on U.S. military supremacy and America’s presumed moralsuperiority.
Right Web Analysis: /analysis/2005/0502ally.php
(Editors Note: Weencourage feedback and comments, which can be sent for publication through ourfeedback page, at: /form_feedback.html.Thank you.)
Re: Neocons and LiberalsTogether, Again
I would suggest that a veryimportant element explaining why the formerly “liberal” neocons cameto be what they are is their sympathy for Israel and how that nation becameanathema to progressives because of its persecution of the Palestinians.Related was the enmity of the Soviet Union again partially engendered by theantagonism of that country towards Israel and the emigration of many of itsJewish citizens.
– Morton Brussel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Re:Neocons and Liberals Together Again
Great article on PNAC’s mostrecent letter to Congress. However, I take issue with your claims that somehowTrotskyism played a roll in the formation of this rightwing ideology. It issimply dishonest; in fact, the original claims made to this effect were made by*conservatives* whose ideological positions did not line up with the so-called”neo-cons.”
I would respect this websitetremendously if it offered retractions of this claim. A great place to start inunraveling the lies that the neocons were “Trotskyists” can be foundin this article, which states: “The historical roots of neoconservatism: areply to a slanderous attack on Trotskyism,” at http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/may2003/shac-m23.shtml
– Michael de Socio email@example.com
(Editor’s Reply: No retraction.Most neoconservative forerunners such as James Burnham and Irving Kristol,among many others, became involved in politics as socialists who wereanti-Stalinists, anti-totalitarians, and members of Troskyite studentorganizations and front organizations. They openly acknowledge this. And thisTrotskyite tradition continues in the affiliation of many neocons withorganizations such as Social Democrats/USA. It’s true that the traditionalconservatives, mainly the paleoconservatives, frequently point to theTrotskyite and later liberal origins of today’s neocons, but these charges arewell-founded and result from having experienced the takeover of theconservative movement by those whose political origins found in left-centerorganizations and publications.)
Re: Robert Zoellickand Condoleezza Rice
What everyone else should know is that Rice is not the strong personality theRepublicans like to present her as being. She’s strongly emotionallydependent on Bush as a father/brother/husband substitute. I read herearly biography closely–an only child who grew up under intense familypressure, especially the hand of a somewhat narcissistic mother, groomed forblack greatness, denied a normal childhood and the kind of emotional nurture agirl needs to succeed in love as an adult. The Bushes have been groomingher (emotionally) for years, filling a void.Her religiously justifiedneurotic sense of duty, to them as well as to her country, has impaired herpsychological autonomy.
I have considerable background in psychology. This is my interpretationof the facts as presented by Antonia Felix. I refer you to the Sunday(London) Times article, from 11/21/040:
– Sharon Kass <KassSRI@aol.com>
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