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Neoconservatism Interrupted

The reaction here at home to Obama's neocon tropism has been both predictable and disappointing. From the peace movement, predictably, there has been protest so restrained as to be almost inaudible. It appears that only Republican wars summon "the movement" to principled dissent and ideological flash mob. Democratic wars are different somehow and must be examined closely for nuance overlooked and consequence unintended. As of this writing, that examination continues. (Sanders? Waters? Anyone? Anyone?) Within the broader base of the Democratic Party, out beyond the anti-war fringe, there has congealed what appears to be a resigned and perplexed acquiescence. If Obama will just get on with the central business of income redistribution, the party activists seem to be saying, he is free to spray Western values around the Middle East even if he chooses to do so at the tips of missiles.

The disappointing response has come from the Republicans. On Capitol Hill, we now have reports of "conservative Congressmen" mobilizing against the skin-deep cuts proposed for the defense budget (even before the specific reductions are particularized by the so-called Super Committee). I don't pretend to have interviewed these Pentagon hawks in depth, but a quick scan suggests that the operative word here is much more likely to be "Congressmen" than "conservative." It is hard to find a conservative anywhere, either sitting in Congress or fretting at home, who thinks that the U.S. should continue to spend more on defense than all of the other almost-two hundred countries of the world combined. (The minor cuts suggested -- what the Pentagon lobby describes as "gutting the military" -- would impose a reduction in the rate of increase.) Do Republicans support a strong national defense? Absolutely. And they have no trouble whatsoever in separating Obama's wars from our heroic warriors: virtually all conservatives and most libertarians support American servicemen and women without reservation. But… legions of democracy imposing "Western values" on Muslims at the point of a bayonet? Trust me. There are reservations.


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Great article

Nice plug for our man:

The response from the GOP's presidential candidates has been more disappointing still. With the usual exception of Ron Paul -- a phrase that, in a more perfect world, political reporters could type with a single keystroke -- all of the candidates are flipping through the old neocon songbook about legitimate aspirations and democratic structures and the blessings of modernity, all of which will soon be attainable if we will just exercise patience and sign the check...