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Neocons & Liberals Together, Again

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ThisWeek on the Right

Liberal Hawks Ally withProject for the New American Century

Neoconsand Liberals Together, Again

ByTom Barry

[Excerpt]

Theneoconservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC) has signaled itsintention to continue shaping the government’s national security strategy witha new public letter stating that the “U.S. military is too small forthe responsibilities we are asking it to assume.” Rather than reining in theimperial scope of U.S. national security strategyas set forth by the first Bush administration, PNAC and the letter’ssignatories call for increasing the size of America’s global fighting machine.

TheJanuary 28th PNAC letter advocates that House and Senate leaders take thenecessary steps “to increase substantially the size of the active duty Army andMarine Corps.”

Joiningthe neocons in the letter to congressional leaderswere a group of prominent liberals—giving some credence to PNAC’sclaim that the “call to act” to increase the total number of U.S. ground forces counts onbipartisan support.

Afteran initial spate of public pronouncements after September 11th and during theonset of the Iraq occupation, the Projectfor the New American Century is again positioning itself as the policyinstitute that will set the second Bush administration’s security agenda.Although PNAC’s 1997 statement of principles includedonly prominent right-wing figures—many of whom later joined the first Bushadministration—the neocon policy institute hasrepeatedly reached out to liberals to give its public letters to the Congressand the president the gloss of bipartisanship.

Itsnew call for congressional leaders to increase overall U.S. troop levels includesendorsement of key liberal analysts. Among the signatories are the leadingforeign policy analysts at the Brookings Institution and the Progressive PolicyInstitute, which are closely associated with the Democratic Party. Theendorsees of the letter are largely neoconservatives who are principals in suchneocon-led institutes as PNAC, American EnterpriseInstitute (AEI), Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and the Center forSecurity Policy. However, this call for a larger expeditionary force was alsosigned by prominent liberal hawks, including Michael O’Hanlon, Ivo Daalder, James Steinberg, andWill Marshall—all of whom have signed previous PNAC letters and policystatements.

Mugging and Hugging

IrvingKristol, known as the “godfather of neoconservatism,” famously defined neoconservatives as“liberals who have been mugged by reality.” That political mugging occurred inthe late 1960s and early 1970s with the rise of the counterculture, theanti-war movement, and progressive New Politics of the Democratic Party.

FormerTrotskyite militants and Cold War liberals like Kristol,Norman Podhoretz, and Midge Decterswitched their loyalties to the Republican Party. The “reality” that mugged theneocons was the progressive turn in the DemocraticParty led by such figures as Jesse Jackson, Bella Abzug,George McGovern, and Jimmy Carter. In contrast, the neoconservatives found themilitant anticommunism and social conservatism of the Ronald Reagan faction inthe Republican Party invigorating. In the neoconlexicon, liberalism became synonymous with secularism, women’s liberation,anti-Americanism, and appeasement.

Overthe past quarter century, the neocons have sought,with increasing success, to rid the Republican Party of its isolationists, itsanti-imperialists, and its realists. The younger neocons,such as William Kristol (son of Irving) and Elliott Abrams(son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter), have promoted a new right-wing internationalismthat holds that America should be both a globalcop and a global missionary for freedom.

Traditionalconservatives and Republican Party realists say that the neocons’foreign policy agenda is, respectively, neo-imperialist and unrealistic aboutthe capacity of U.S. military power to remakethe world. Apart from their militarist friends in the Pentagon and defenseindustries, the neocons are finding that theirclosest ideological allies are the internationalists in the liberal camp.Having recuperated from their mugging, the neoconsare now reaching out to liberals who share their idealism about America’s global mission. To thedelight of the neocons at PNAC and AEI, aninfluential group of liberal hawks share their vision of a U.S. grand strategy that willcreate a world order based on U.S. military supremacy and America’s presumed moralsuperiority.

(Tom Barry is policydirector of the International Relations Center, online at http://www.irc-online.org and author ofnumerous books on international relations.)

Seecomplete Right Web article online at: /analysis/2005/0502ally.php

Withprinter-friendly .pdf version at: http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/pdf/0502ally.pdf

For more informationabout the liberal hawks, see the following Right Web profiles from the IRC:

Projectfor a New American Century: /org/pnac.php

WillMarshall: /ind/marshall/marshall.php

ProgressivePolicy Institute: /org/ppi.php

DemocraticLeadership Council: /org/demleadcoun.php

SocialDemocrats/USA: /org/social-democrats.php

TopicalProfiles

FrankGaffney: /ind/gaffney/gaffney.php

Centerfor Security Policy: /org/csp.php

CharlesKrauthammer: /ind/krauthammer/krauthammer.php

ElliottAbrams: /ind/abrams/abrams.php

Condoleezza Rice: /ind/rice/rice.php

Lettersand Comments

Re:Douglas Feith (/ind/feith/feith.php)

Iwas very impressed with your article on Douglas Feithand all that he has done to help shape neoconservative policies in thisadministration. I consider myself a conservative/populist American. However, Idon’t consider myself a Republican anymore due to George W’s four years ofmisguided Middle East policies. It was so interesting to finally see the connection that the neocons and the militarists have with all these lobbygroups that represent only their short-minded view of the world–or theinterest of nation other than our own. After I read this and other articles, Iam more convinced now that this administration is more concerned with Middle East “democracy” thanit is of our own safety.

– CraigZander < craig_zander@yahoo.com>

Re:Michael Novak (/ind/novak/novak.php)

Aunque fueen 1994 que se publicó el libro. Este hemisferio de libertadde Michael Novak, siempre lo comentéen una modesta universidad en la escuela de ciencias políticas de mi país. Estoy convencido que es muy oportunopromover conferencias sobre la temática de esa obra y de otrasque posibiliten continuar fortaleciendo y entendiendo la democrácia como una forma de vida, especialmente en mi país El Salvador. óoy fundador de una organizacion de reciente creación : fundacionlibertad.org.sv.

– RafaelMenjivar Lopez (raphaelml3@yahoo.com)

Re:Right Web Individual Profiles (/ind/index.php)

Wishyou would expand your list to include, among others, Ralph Reed, Tom DeLay, Dennis Hassert, Paul Weyrich, etc. Itwould be useful to understand ALL of the “players” in the right-wingmovement, the roles they play, etc. An interactive web site, and perhaps a CDwith the web site on it would be a great tool for the politically interested tounderstand size and scope of the conservative machine.

– FranzHespenheide (franzh@comcast.net)

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