Friday, March 27, 2009

Michael J.W. Stickings, neocon?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

TNR's Michael Crowley is reporting that leading neocons Krazy Bill Kristol and Krazy Bob Kagan, two of the key figures behind PNAC, have created The Foreign Policy Initiative, a PNAC-like think tank dedicated to the proliferation of neocon principles like American hegemonism. Here's what they intend to promote:

  • continued U.S. engagement -- diplomatic, economic, and military -- in the world and rejection of policies that would lead us down the path to isolationism;
  • robust support for America‚Äôs democratic allies and opposition to rogue regimes that threaten American interests;
  • the human rights of those oppressed by their governments, and U.S. leadership in working to spread political and economic freedom;
  • a strong military with the defense budget needed to ensure that America is ready to confront the threats of the 21st century;
  • international economic engagement as a key element of U.S. foreign policy in this time of great economic dislocation.
Actually, as a somewhat hawkish liberal, I agree with much of that.

Engagement instead of isolationsism? Check.

Support for democratic allies and opposition to "rogue regimes"? Check.

Human rights and freedom? Check.

A strong military? Well...

See, here's the problem. While much of this sounds good, the reality is something else entirely. By support for "America's democratic allies," what Kristol and Kagan mean is unquestioning support for Israel -- and a right-wing Israel at that. By "a strong military," what they mean is the capacity to wage multiple pre-emptive wars at will, unilaterally. Remember, these are the people who would like to see the U.S. go to war against Iran.

And while I appreciate neocon opposition to anti-democratic regimes like those that tyrannize China and Saudi Arabia, what these neocons want is the spread of right-wing American neo-liberalism, not so much "economic freedom" as a world made safe for rapacious capitalism.

In short, this is PNAC 2. The goal is still American hegemony, an Americanized world in which neocon policies rule. And, to that end, the weapon is not so much "engagement" as all-out warmongering.

And the message is this: If you cross America, or if you just don't fit in with America's interests, or if the neocons just don't like you, America will kick your ass.

I'm all for promoting freedom and democracy and human rights. But not this way, not through the construction of empire, through the arrogant imposition of power.

I, too -- and liberals like me -- want change around the world, from Darfur to North Korea, from Zimbabwe to Burma. But you can't force that change with might, that is, by beating every problem, every rogue regime, into submission. What is required is genuine American leadership in the international community, serious diplomatic efforts combined with a willingness to work multilaterally in pursuit of peace, in pursuit of shared goals.

Kristol and Kagan, as usual, just don't get it.

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  • "isolationism" = "not bombing the crap out of any country that has something we want"

    By Anonymous karen marie, at 12:17 PM  

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