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Jewish neocons and the romance of nationalist armageddon

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Leon Wieseltier

Leon Wieseltier

At the Huffington Post, Jim Sleeper addresses “A Foreign-Policy Problem No One Speaks About,” and it turns out to Jewish identity, the need to belong to the powerful nation on the part of Jewish neoconservatives. Sleeper says this is an insecurity born of European exclusion that he understands as a Jew, even if he’s not a warmongering neocon himself. The Yale lecturer’s jumping-off point are recent statements by Leon Wieseltier and David Brooks lamenting the decline of American power.

In addition to Wieseltier and Brooks, the “blame the feckless liberals” chorus has included Donald Kagan, Robert Kagan, David Frum, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and many other American neoconservatives. Some of them have been chastened, or at least been made more cautious, by their grand-strategic blunders of a few years ago…..

I’m saying that they’ve been fatuous as warmongers again and again and that there’s something pathetic in their attempts to emulate Winston Churchill, who warned darkly of Hitler’s intentions in the 1930s. Their blind spot is their willful ignorance of their own complicity in American deterioration and their over-compensatory, almost pre-adolescent faith in the benevolence of a statist and militarist power they still hope to mobilize against the seductions and terrors rising all around them.

At bottom, the chorus members’ recurrent nightmares of 1938 doom them to reenact other nightmares, prompted by very similar writers in 1914, on the eve of World War I. Those writers are depicted chillingly, unforgettably, in Chapter 9, “War Fever,” of Amos Elon’s The Pity of It All: A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch, 1743-1933. Elon’s account of Germany’s stampede into World War I chronicles painfully the warmongering hysterics of some Jewish would-be patriots of the Kaiserreich who exerted themselves blindly, romantically, to maneuver their state into the Armageddon that would produce Hitler himself.

This is the place to emphasize that few of Wilhelmine German’s warmongers were Jews and that few Jews were or are warmongers. (Me, for example, although my extended-family history isn’t much different from Brooks’ or Wieseltier’s.) My point is simply that, driven by what I recognize as understandable if almost preternatural insecurities and cravings for full liberal-nationalist belonging that was denied to Jews for centuries in Europe, some of today’s American super-patriotic neo-conservatives hurled themselves into the Iraq War, and they have continued, again and again, to employ modes of public discourse and politics that echo with eerie fidelity that of the people described in Elon’s book. The Americans lionized George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and many others as their predecessors lionized Kaiser Wilhelm, von Bethmann-Hollweg, and far-right nationalist associates who hated the neo-cons of that time but let them play their roles….

Instead of acknowledging their deepest feelings openly, or even to themselves, the writers I’ve mentioned who’ve brought so much folly and destruction upon their republic, are doubling down, more nervous and desperate than ever, looking for someone else to blame. Hence their whirling columns and rhythmic incantations. After Germany lost World War I, many Germans unfairly blamed their national folly on Jews, many of whom had served in it loyally but only a few of whom had been provocateurs and cheerleaders like the signatories of [Project for New American Century’s] letter to Bush. Now neo-cons, from Wieseltier and Brooks to [Charles] Hill, are blaming Obama and all other feckless liberals. Some of them really need to take a look in Amos Elon’s mirror.

Interesting. Though I think Sleeper diminishes Jewish agency here (Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban are no one’s proxy) and can’t touch the Israel angle. The motivation is not simply romantic identification with power, it’s an ideology of religious nationalism in the Middle East, attachment to the needs of a militarist Sparta in the Arab world. That’s another foreign policy problem no one speaks about.

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37 Responses

  1. Krauss
    Krauss on May 6, 2014, 2:11 pm

    “Democracy in in the Middle East” was always just a weasel-word saying of “let’s try to improve Israel’s strategic position by changing their neighbours”.

    The neocons basically took a hardline position on foreign interventionism based out of dual loyalty. This is the honest truth. For anti-Semites, a handful of neocons will always represent “The Jews” as a collective. For many Jews, the refusal to come to grips with the rise of the neocons and how the Jewish community (and really by “community” I mean the establishment) failed to prevent them in their own midst, is also a blemish.

    Of course, Jim Sleeper is doing these things now. He should have done them 15-20 years ago or so. But better late than never, I guess.

    • Krauss
      Krauss on May 6, 2014, 2:16 pm

      P.S. While we talk a lot about neocons as a Jewish issue, it’s also important to put them in perspective. The only war that I can truly think of that they influenced was the Iraq war, which was a disaster, but it also couldn’t have happened without 9/11, which was a very rare event in the history of America. You have to go back to Pearl Harbor to find something similar, and that wasn’t technically a terrorist attack but rather a military attack by Japan.

      Leading up to the early 2000s, they were mostly ignored during the 1990s. They did take over the GOP media in the early 90s, using the same tactics used against Hagel, use social norms as a cover but in actuality the real reason is Israel.

      Before the 90s, in the 70s and 80s, the cold war took up all the oxygen.
      So yeah, the neocons need to be talked about. But comparing what they are trying to do with a World War is a bit of a stretch.

      Finally, talking about Israel – which Sleeper ignored – and the hardline positions that the political class in America have adopted, if you want to look who have ensured the greatest slavishness to Israel, liberal/centrist groups like ADL, AJC and AIPAC(yes, they are mostly democrats!) have played a far greater role than the neocons.

      But I guess, Sleeper wasn’t dealing with that, because it would ruin his view of the neocons as the bogeymen.

      Just like “liberal” Zionists want to blame Likud for everything, overlooking the fact that Labor/Mapai has had a far greater role in settling/colonizing the Palestinian land than the right has, and not to speak about the ethnic cleansing campaigns of ’48 and ’67 which was only done by the “left”, so too the neocons often pose as a convenient catch-all target for the collective Jewish failure leading up to Iraq.

      And I’m using the words “collective Jewish failure” because I actually don’t believe, unlike Mearsheimer/Walt, that the war would not have gone ahead unless there was massive support by the Israel/Jewish lobby. If Jews had decided no, it would still have gone ahead. This is also contrary to Tom Friedman’s famous saying of “50 people in DC are responsible for this war”.
      I also think that’s an oversimplification.

      But I focus more on the Jewish side because that’s my side. And I want my community to do better, and just blaming the neocons is something I’m tired of hearing in Jewish circles. The inability to look at liberal Jewish journalists and their role in promoting the war to either gentile or Jewish audiences.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen on May 6, 2014, 6:53 pm

      There was talk about this last night (Monday/5th) on Chris Matthew’s Hardball segment on Condi “mushroom cloud” Rice pulling out of the graduation ceremonies at Rutger’s. David Corn did not say much but Eugene Robinson and Chris Matthews were basically talking about Israel and the neocons desires to rearrange the middle east “the road to Jerusalem runs through Baghdad” conversation.

  2. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye on May 6, 2014, 2:33 pm

    “some of today’s American super-patriotic neo-conservatives hurled themselves into the Iraq War”

    Have to take issue with that – the neo-cons hurled young American (and foreign) servicemen and women into that war, many to their deaths, along with throwing as much taxpayer money as possible. They stayed ultra safe and grew richer for their efforts.

    • Pixel
      Pixel on May 6, 2014, 5:46 pm

      + 5

    • American
      American on May 6, 2014, 9:25 pm

      +10

    • Citizen
      Citizen on May 7, 2014, 9:03 am

      @ Bumblebye

      Good point. During WW1, as I read the history, the Jewish Germans provided their fair share of combat troops. If memory serves, despite Weimar Germany’s later “stab in the back” theory, e.g., Hitler himself was given a combat medal thanks to his Jewish senior officer. In comparison to the build-up to Shrub Jr’s war on Iraq, the Jewish neocons provided very few Jewish American combat troops.

      It’s hard to get reliable stats on Jewish American participation in the US combat arms during the Iraq war. For all I’ve been able to ascertain, more have joined the IDF over the years. At any rate, it’s common knowledge that Shrub’s war on Iraq was instigated and supported by chicken hawks (Jew or Gentile) at a time bereft of conscription. They built their sale by ignoring key facts, and embellishing misleading and fake facts, as illustrated by the Downing Street memo.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on May 7, 2014, 9:27 am

        As of 2/2011: 5, 575 American military had died in Iraq/Afghanistan. Of those, 32 are documented Jewish Americans. They deserve to be honored for their sacrifice by all Americans, to say the least. http://forward.com/articles/135331/profiles-of-our-fallen/

        As the article points out: There may be more as who wants to document you’re Jewish when fighting in a Muslim country?

        Still, now compare the proportion of known neocons in government and think tanks who argued so zealously for those wars. (And add the main media opinionators).

        And note that as to the general Jewish American population (distinguished from the Jewish Establishment) in the USA, more were against Shrub Jr’s war than the average Gentile American.

  3. pabelmont
    pabelmont on May 6, 2014, 2:33 pm

    This essay is an important part of a general discussion — how personal psychology influences or forms ideology and political positions.

    Here are two others: A Lot More Bad News for Conservatives, and a Little Bit of Bad News for Liberals? Moral Judgments and the Dark Triad Personality Traits: A Follow-up Study”. Here’s another: Internet Trolls Really Are Horrible People
    Narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic, and sadistic

  4. Krauss
    Krauss on May 6, 2014, 3:27 pm

    By the way: on neocons, Putin and Israel.

    http://theweek.com/article/index/260033/israel-and-russia-are-getting-along-have-the-neocons-noticed

    Doughtery, who comes out of the realist Republican tradition, makes very fine points. But since he is writing for a weekly with mainstream aspirations, he has to spend the closing paragraphs trying to cover bases for political purposes.

    But either way, the hypocrisy of these neocons over Russia/Israel is staggering – and quite telling.

  5. Keith
    Keith on May 6, 2014, 7:47 pm

    PHIL- Perhaps you are making too much of the so called decline of the neocons. At the strategic level, there is little difference between the neocon “Project for a
    the New American Century” and Brzezinski’s “The Grand Chessboard,” both of which are consistent with US policy and actions in the Ukraine. The most significant difference seems to me to be the neocon emphasis on American unilateral militarism versus Obama’s emphasis on multilateralism, covert operations and financial warfare to achieve the desired results. Perhaps another significant difference is the neocon emphasis on the primacy of the American nation-state versus the neoliberal emphasis on an American dominated global empire. So yes, the nationalistic emphasis is an anachronism, however, the decline of the US in conjunction with the extension of a system of globalized domination should hardly be of concern to elite power-seekers who will benefit. In fact, the new system of corporate/financial control will be beyond the political control of any nation, even the US. If they can pull it off. An interesting topic no doubt, but one which I doubt is suitable for extended discussion on Mondoweiss. As for power-seeking as a consequence of a uniquely Jewish experience, perhaps the less said the better.

    • Boomer
      Boomer on May 7, 2014, 5:59 am

      Interesting points.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS on May 7, 2014, 8:10 pm

      Interesting to juxtapose Brzezinski and the neocons. In a Venn diagram they would over-lap 90%. The Ukraine crisis exposes that 10% difference. Brzezinski I very much doubt has any emotional attachment to Israel though he is happy to work in coalition with them to further his one true goal which is to isolate and defeat Russian influence in the world. In the 1980s both were on the same page in the “let my people go” campaign against the Soviet Union. Brzezinski saw it as a propaganda opportunity to attack Russia and the neocons saw it has a source of more Jews to settle Palestine.

      Right now, their interests have diverged over the Ukraine crisis. Though many of the American neocons do support subverting Ukraine as does Brzezinski it looks like Israel itself is leaning towards supporting Russia. When it comes down to it it is hard for many Jews, right wing or not, to support the political movement inside Ukraine that identifies with Bandera. Now that was one nasty antisemite whose followers killed many thousands of Ukrainian Jews during the holocaust. My wife’s family immigrated from Galicia and the Odessa region and those left behind perished during the holocaust. The extended family includes anti-zionists and WB settlers. There is no way that any of them would identify with Ukrainian fascist movements now active there.

      In any case, there does seem to be a potential split among the neocons over Ukraine. It would be the ultimate in hypocrisy for all of those eastern European Jews who became successful in the US in the last few generations to enter into coalition with the Bandera brigades.

    • RudyM
      RudyM on May 7, 2014, 9:36 pm

      Interesting, meaty analysis here of the various players in Ukraine. This is unequivocally from a Russian perspective, incidentally:

      https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Document:Battleground_Ukraine

      (I know I’m always grabbing OT threads of discussion, but when it comes down to it, I know much less about Zionism and Israel/Palestine than many, if not most of the regular commenters here.)

      I also am going to drift further off-topic by saying there is strong evidence that the slaughter in Odessa last Friday was highly orchestrated and not solely the result of spontaneous mob violence. Very graphic and disturbing images in all of these links:

      http://orientalreview.org/2014/05/06/genocide-in-novorossiya-and-swan-song-of-ukrainian-statehood/

      http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2014/05/crucial-investigation-into-role-of.html

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-neo-nazi-thugs-supported-by-kiev-regime-killed-odessa-inhabitants-photographic-evidence/5380504

      I have only glanced at these:

      http://dbelyaev.ru/odessa-city-the-truth-that-is-to-be-hidden-21-16712.html

      http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Odessa_Trade_Union_massacre

  6. American
    American on May 6, 2014, 9:23 pm

    ” and it turns out to Jewish identity, the need to belong to the powerful nation on the part of Jewish neoconservatives. Sleeper says this is an insecurity born of European exclusion that he understands as a Jew,…..>>

    Stop it Sleeper. Do not continue to use the victim card ‘ to explain’ the trauma, the insecurities, the nightmares, the angst, the feelings, the sensitivities, blah blah ,blah of Zionist or Israel.
    That is not what they are about. These are power mad psychos like most neocons, period.
    And even if it were, and even if all the Jews in the world felt the same way, the bottom line would still be they do not have the right to make others pay in treasure and blood for their nightmares and mental sickness.

  7. wes
    wes on May 6, 2014, 11:19 pm

    Neocon as defined

    “If there is any one thing that neoconservatives are unanimous about, it is their dislike of counterculture”

    The state of israel is on a path to embracing counterculture in the middle east as an instrument of change.that movement will bring it into direct conflict with western interests.labels like “apartheid” are familar tools used by neocons to regime change and still remain in control of strategic assets.
    much like the fall of the berlin wall signaled the end of south african white rule,9/11 could be the signal for the end of american rule in the middle east.that drain will suck down the last of the US neocons but see the rise of the paleocon in the middle east to take its place but with a middle eastern identity to replace the western identity

  8. wondering jew
    wondering jew on May 7, 2014, 2:36 am

    It is of dubious honesty (downright misleading, lying or disingenuous) when the focus of a post here at MW is a single post by another individual: Jim Sleeper’s article in the Huffington Post and included in the headline here at MW is a term: nationalist Armageddon that is nowhere found in the article by Sleeper. This is a reflection of Phil’s theories and not Sleeper’s and to include this phrase in the headline is either sloppy or worse.

    Now to the gist of the article by Sleeper. His main point of contention is with the individuals Wieseltier and Brooks, for they were so gung ho on the war against Iraq and it was that fiasco that indeed has caused the collapse of American will to play superpower to the world. Even though Thomas Friedman also played cheerleader to the misadventure in Iraq, Sleeper specifically excludes Friedman from his targets, because Friedman, at least, enumerates the reasons why America is no longer willing to play superpower, whereas the other two pretend it is only Obama rather than the American people and the history of the last 13 or so years that is at the root of our government’s fatigue with foreign adventures.

    The misadventure in Iraq has cost the US and the world a lot. The US a loss in humans and money and willingness to play the role of superpower, and the world has lost its cop. Most people here would probably disagree with Sleeper, because he does not deny that the world needs a cop, nor that the US would play a positive role, if it only had the means and the desire to do so. People here (overwhelmingly) see the US role as a negative one (let the Russians have their sphere of influence, let the Iranians have their bomb, let the Chinese do whatever they want to do in their part of the world, for after all they hold a trillion dollars in US government debt and so let them act like the boss, for in fact they have been put in that role by feckless and destructive and wasteful US policy). But Sleeper does not say that and of course he does not write about national Armageddon.

    Of course there are those here who still have a good word to say about US isolationism circa 1941. Those who have something against Nazi Germany might not agree and of course those who see WWII as an inevitable and necessary war, ought to disagree loudly to 1941 isolationism. America’s isolationism today and in fact after the end of the cold war are of an entirely different character- without a clear adversary, without a clear set of interests, it may make sense for the US to stop playing policeman to the world and it would pay to study how to cut down the Pentagon budget and learn to live as just the biggest (soon to be 2nd biggest, but still the biggest) economy in the world and let the rest of the world fight it out, whether it is Iran supporting Assad or Putin bullying Ukraine or China asserting its ownership of islands in the Pacific. Isolationism, or something closer to isolationism vis a vis the spectrum between isolationism and world’s policeman, may be a worthy goal. But when the voices of isolationism in 2014 include those who feel that isolationism circa 1941 was also a worthy cause, at least those 1941 isolationism voices should face criticism.

    Regarding the post cold war attempt to grant freedom to those who had been oppressed by the Russian empire, I consider this urge a noble one. (How come the only time Ukranians are mentioned here is regarding the genocide of starvation they suffered in the ’30’s, because the Jewish “never again” needs to be disrespected when it does not cover the Ukranian genocide, but suddenly when it comes to present tense freedom, all the voices that are aware of Ukranian suffering are now silent.) It may have been a symptom of over reaching, but it was noble to wish to undo the damages inflicted by Joseph Stalin and the USSR. The fact that the US lacks the wherewithal and will to back up that wish to give those people freedom is lamentable. The history of the war against Iraq is not sufficient for me to reconsider the nobility of the original urge to give freedom to former vassals of the Soviet Union. The freedom of Ukraine is a worthy goal. If the US is not able to back up our attempt to help them gain their freedom it is not something to celebrate, but something to lament.

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew on May 7, 2014, 2:51 am

      The article by Sleeper does mention Armageddon, therefore I am wrong, although the emphasis given it by Phil reflects his own attitude rather than Sleeper’s.

    • Citizen
      Citizen on May 7, 2014, 9:46 am

      @ yonah fredman

      “The freedom of Ukraine is a worthy goal.”

      As near as I can tell (correct me if I’m wrong), the Ukrainians themselves are about half and half pro Russia and Pro NATO. Your glance at the history of the region as to why this is so, and your text on historical Ukranian suffering and POTV on MW commentary on this –did not help your analysis and its conclusion.

      There’s a difference between isolationism and defensive intervention, and even more so, re isolationism v. pro-active interventionism “in the name of pursuing the democratic ideal”. See Ron Paul v. PNAC-style neocons and liberal Zionists.

      Also, if you were Putin, how would you see the push of NATO & US force posts ever creeping towards Russia and its local environment? Look at the US military postings nearing Russia per se & those surrounding Iran. Compare Russia’s.

      And note the intent to wean EU from Russian oil, and as well, the draconian sanctions on Iran, and Obama’s latest partnering sanctions on Russia.

      Imagine yourself in Putin’s shoes, and Iran’s.

      Don’t abuse your imagination only by imagining yourself in Netanyahu’s shoes, which is the preoccupation of AIPAC and its whores in the US Congress.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS on May 7, 2014, 8:49 pm

      Interesting to juxtapose Brzezinski and the neocons. In a Venn diagram they would over-lap 90%. The Ukraine crisis exposes that 10% difference. Brzezinski I very much doubt has any emotional attachment to Israel though he is happy to work in coalition with them to further his one true goal which is to isolate and defeat Russian influence in the world. In the 1980s both were on the same page in the “let my people go” campaign against the Soviet Union. Brzezinski saw it as a propaganda opportunity to attack Russia and the neocons saw it has a source of more Jews to settle Palestine.

      Right now, their interests have diverged over the Ukraine crisis. Though many of the American neocons do support subverting Ukraine as does Brzezinski it looks like Israel itself is leaning towards supporting Russia. When it comes down to it it is hard for many Jews, right wing or not, to support the political movement inside Ukraine that identifies with Bandera. Now that was one nasty antisemite whose followers killed many thousands of Ukrainian Jews during the holocaust. My wife’s family immigrated from Galicia and the Odessa region and those left behind perished during the holocaust. The extended family includes anti-zionists and WB settlers. There is no way that any of them would identify with Ukrainian fascist movements now active there.

      In any case, there does seem to be a potential split among the neocons over Ukraine. It would be the ultimate in hypocrisy for all of those eastern European Jews who became successful in the US in the last few generations to enter into coalition with the Bandera brigades.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS on May 7, 2014, 9:39 pm

      Yonah writes The freedom of Ukraine is a worthy goal. If the US is not able to back up our attempt to help them gain their freedom it is not something to celebrate, but something to lament.

      What are you saying? Ukraine has been an independent nation for 22 years. What freedom is this? What we have witnessed is that one half of Ukraine has gotten tired that the other half keeps on electing candidates that represent those Ukrainians that identify with Russian culture. They (the western half) successfully staged a coup and purged the other (eastern half) from the government. You call that “freedom”. Doesn’t it embarrass you, Yonah, that the armed militias that conducted that coup are descendants of the Bandera organization.

      Does that ring a bell? These are the Ukrainians that were involved in the holocaust. Does Babi Yar stir any memories Yohan? It was a massacre of 40,000 Jews just outside of Kiev in 1942. It was the single largest massacre of Jews during WWII. The massacre was led by the Germans ( Einsatzgruppe C officers) but was carried out with the aid of 400 Ukrainian Auxillary Police. These were later incorporated into the 14th SS-Volunteer Division “Galician” made up mostly Ukrainians. The division flags are to this day displayed at Right Sector rallies in western Ukraine.

      Right Sector militias are the fighting force that led the coup against the legally elected Yanukovich government and were almost certainly involved in the recent massacre in Odessa. And you support them for their fight for freedom? You should be ashamed. Zionism is sinking to new lows that they feel the need to identify with open neo-Nazis.

      • piotr
        piotr on May 7, 2014, 10:18 pm

        Well, the point is that Zionists in Israel do not identify with that particular set of open neo-Nazis. I suspect that this is simply a matter of the headcount of Jewish business tycoons that are politically aligned with (western) Ukraine and Russia. Or you can count their billions. In any case, the neutral posture is sensible for Israel here. Which is highly uncharacteristic for that government.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on May 7, 2014, 10:38 pm

        Toivo S- The history of Jew hatred by certain anti Russian elements in the Ukraine is not encouraging and nothing that I celebrate. Maybe I have been swayed by headlines and a superficial reading of the situation. If indeed I am wrong regarding the will of the Ukrainian people, I can only be glad that my opinion is just that, my opinion and not US or Israel or anyone’s policy but my own. I assume that a majority of Ukrainians want to maintain independence of Russia and that the expressions of rebellion are in that vein. My people were murdered by the einsatzgruppen in that part of the world and so maybe I have overcompensated by trying not to allow my personal history to interfere with what I think would be the will of the majority of the Ukraine.

        But Toivo S. please skip the “doesn’t it embarrass you” line of thought. Just put a sock in it and skip it.

      • ToivoS
        ToivoS on May 8, 2014, 12:51 am

        Well thanks for that Yonah. My wife’s family descended from Jewish communities in Odessa and Galicia. They emigrated to the US between 1900 and 1940. After WWII none of their relatives left behind were ever heard from again. Perhaps you have family that experienced similar stories. What caused me to react to your post above is that you are describing the current situation in Ukraine as a “freedom” movement by the Ukrainians when the political forces there descended from the same people that killed my inlaws family (and apparently yours to). Why do you support them?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew on May 8, 2014, 1:30 am

        ToivoS- I support them because I trust/don’t trust Putin. I trust him to impose his brand of leadership on Ukraine, I don’t trust him to care a whit about freedom. It is natural that the nationalist elements of Ukraine would descend from the elements that expressed themselves the last time they had freedom from the Soviet Union, that is those forces that were willing to join with the Nazis to express their hatred for the communist Soviet Union’s rule over their freedom. That’s how history works. The nationalists today descend from the nationalists of yesterday. But it’s been 70 years since WWII and the Ukrainians ought to be able to have freedom even if the parties that advocate for freedom are descended from those that supported the Nazis. (I know once i include the Nazi part of history any analogies are toxic, but if I am willing to grant Hamas its rights as an expression of the Palestinian desire for freedom, why would I deny the Ukrainian foul nationalist parties their rights to express their people’s desire for freedom.) Political parties are not made in a sterile laboratory, they evolve over history and most specifically they emerge from the past. I accept that Ukrainian nationalism has not evolved much, but nonetheless not having read any polls I assume that the nationalists are the representatives of the people’s desire for freedom. And because Putin strikes me as something primitive, I accept the Ukrainian desire for freedom.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on May 8, 2014, 9:18 am

        @ yonah f
        What are you supporting? Let me refresh your historic memory: Black’s Transfer Agreement. Now apply analogy, responding to ToivoS. Might help us all to understand, explore more skillfully, Israel’s current stance on the Putin-Ukranian matter….?

        (I think Nuland’s intervention caught on tape, combined with who she is married to, already explores with great clarification what the US is doing.

    • irishmoses
      irishmoses on May 8, 2014, 12:32 pm

      Yonah said:

      “The misadventure in Iraq has cost the US and the world a lot. The US a loss in humans and money and willingness to play the role of superpower, and the world has lost its cop. Most people here would probably disagree with Sleeper, because he does not deny that the world needs a cop, nor that the US would play a positive role, if it only had the means and the desire to do so. People here (overwhelmingly) see the US role as a negative one (let the Russians have their sphere of influence, let the Iranians have their bomb, let the Chinese do whatever they want to do in their part of the world,”

      The problem with your reasoning, Yonah, is that you are espousing the Neocon line while not apparently recognizing that embarrassing fact. You lament that the US is no longer playing the role of the world’s superpower, and acting as the world’s cop, confronting militarily Russia, China, Iran and anyone else. It is precisely that mentality that got us into Iraq, could yet have us in a war with Iran, would like to see us defending Ukraine, and thinks we should confront China militarily over bits of rock it and its neighbors are quibbling over. That is a neocon, American supremacy mentality.

      Contrast that with the realist or realism approach recommended by George Kennan, and followed by this country successfully through the end of the Cold War. That approach is conservative and contends we should stay out of wars unless the vital national security interests of the US are at stake, like protecting WESTERN Europe, Japan, Australia, and the Western Hemisphere. This meant we could sympathize with the plight of all the eastern Europeans oppressed by the Soviets, but would not defend militarily the Hungarians (1956) or the Czechs (1968). It also meant we wouldn’t send US troops into North Vietnam because we didn’t want to go to war with the Chinese over a country that was at best tangential to US interests. When we varied from that policy (Vietnam and Iraq wars, Somalia) we paid a very heavy price while doing nothing to advance or protect our vital national security interests.

      The sooner this country can return to our traditional realism-based foreign policy the better. Part of that policy would be to disassociate the US from its entangling alliance with Likud Israel and its US Jewish supporters that espouse the Likud Greater Israel line.

      Zionism under Likud has played a major role in promoting the neocon approach to foreign policy in the US. It was heavily involved in the birth of that approach, and has helped fund and promote the policy and its supporters and advocates in this country. They (Likud Zionists and Neocons) played a major role in getting us into the Iraq war and are playing a major role in trying to get us involved in a war with Iran, a war in Syria, and even potential wars in Eastern Europe. That is a very dangerous trend and one folks as intelligent as you are, should be focusing on.

      Please note, my criticism is directed neither at all Jews in general, Jews in the US, nor or all Israeli Jews. It is directed at a particular subset of Zionists who support Likud policies, and their supporters, many of whom are not Jews. It is also directed at Neoconservative foreign policy advocates, comprised of Jews and non-Jews, and overlap between the two groups. Please also note my use of the term “major role”, and that I am not saying the Neocons and their supporters (Jewish or non) were solely responsible for our involvement in the Iraq war. I am offering these caveats in the hope that the usual changes of antisemitism can be avoided in your or anyone else’s response to my arguments.

      The influence of Neocons on US foreign policy has been very harmful to this country and poses a grave danger to its future. It would be wise for you to reflect on that harm and those dangers and decide whether you belong in the realist camp or want to continue running with the Neocons.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride on May 8, 2014, 1:01 pm

        irishmoses,

        Please note, my criticism is directed neither at all Jews in general, Jews in the US, nor or all Israeli Jews. It is directed at a particular subset of Zionists who support Likud policies, and their supporters, many of whom are not Jews.

        What about the role of *liberal Zionists*, like Hillary Clinton, in supporting and promoting the Iraq War? Clinton still hasn’t offered an apology for helping to drive the United States in a multi-trillion dollar foreign policy disaster — and she has threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran.

        What about Harry Reid’s lavish praise of Sheldon Adelson?

        “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has for some time billed the Koch brothers as public enemy No.1 .

        But billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson? He’s just fine, Reid says.

        “I know Sheldon Adelson. He’s not in this for money,” the Nevada Democrat said of Adelson, the Vegas casino magnate who reportedly spent close to $150 million to support Republicans in the 2012 presidential election.”

        http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/harry-reid-koch-brothers-sheldon-adelson-106484.html

        Are there really any meaningful distinctions between neoconservatives in the Republican Party and liberal Zionists in the Democratic Party?

  9. talknic
    talknic on May 7, 2014, 3:24 am

    @ yonah fredman “nationalist Armageddon that is nowhere found in the article by Sleeper”

    Strange

    state into the Armageddon .. ”

    “The misadventure in Iraq has cost the US and the world a lot. The US a loss in humans and money and willingness to play the role of superpower, and the world has lost its cop. “

    Tough. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives don’t rate a mention.

    ” (let the Russians have their sphere of influence, let the Iranians have their bomb, let the Chinese do whatever they want to do in their part of the world, for after all they hold a trillion dollars in US government debt and so let them act like the boss, for in fact they have been put in that role by feckless and destructive and wasteful US policy). But Sleeper does not say that.”
    You do tho, without quoting anyone “here”.

    BTW Pajero, strawmen no matter how lengthy and seemingly erudite, rarely walk anywhere

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew on May 7, 2014, 3:27 am

      pajero (talknic)- thanks for extending your potty mouth into new languages so that i learn how to swear in spanish.

      • talknic
        talknic on May 7, 2014, 3:50 am

        Pajero http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/pajero One who deals in straw

      • Ellen
        Ellen on May 7, 2014, 8:38 am

        Once again, Pajero, our resident Don Quixote who was so lengthy, eloquent and erudite, sees and speaks to stuff that is only in his imagination.

  10. JeffB
    JeffB on May 7, 2014, 9:06 am

    I’m going to put this down as Jewish navel gazing.

    Jews are disproportionately liberal. Jews make up a huge chunk of the peace movement. Jews are relative to their numbers on the left of most foreign policy positions. Iraq was unusual in that Jews were not overwhelming opposed to the invasion, but it is worth noting the invasion at the time was overwhelming popular. Frankly given the fact that Jews are now considered white people and the fact that Jews are almost all middle class they should be biased conservative. There certainly is no reason they should be more liberal than Catholics. Yet they are. It is the degree of Jewish liberalism not the degree of Jewish conservatism that is striking.

    But even if we do focus on neocons, neocons don’t have opinions about foreign policy and USA dominance that are much distinct from what most Republican interventionists have. How much difference is there between David Frum and Mitt Romney or between Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld?

  11. lysias
    lysias on May 7, 2014, 10:55 am

    The neocons lost one last night: Antiwar Rep. Walter Jones Beats Neocon-Backed GOP Rival:

    Strongly antiwar incumbent Rep. Walter Jones (R – NC) has won a hotly contested primary tonight, defeating a challenge from hawkish challenger and former Treasury Dept. official Taylor Griffin 51% to 45%.

    • American
      American on May 7, 2014, 11:24 am

      Yep.
      Voter turn out was light ….. tea party types did a lot of lobbying for Griffin here….but Jones prevailed. Considering the onslaught of organized activity against him by ECI and the tea partiers for the past month he did well.

    • Citizen
      Citizen on May 8, 2014, 9:24 am

      @ lysias
      Let’s refresh our look at what Ron Paul had to say about foreign policy and foreign aid. Then, let’s compare what his son has said, and take a look of his latest bill in congress to cut off aid to Palestine. Yes, you read that right; it’s not a bill to cut off any aid to Israel. Don’t look to the US to get any justice in the ME, nor to regain US good reputation in the world. This will situation will not change because US political campaign fiancé system won’t change–it just gets worse, enhanced by SCOTUS.

  12. traintosiberia
    traintosiberia on May 8, 2014, 9:12 am

    Stockman’s Corner
    Bravo, Rep. Walter Jones ! Primary Win Sends Neocons Packing
    by David Stockman • May 7, 2014 http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/bravo-rep-walter-jones-primary-win-sends-neocons-packing/
    The heavy artillery included the detestable Karl Rove, former Governor and RNC Chair Haley Barber and the War Party’s highly paid chief PR flack, Ari Fleischer.

    But it was Neocon central that hauled out the big guns. Bill Kristol was so desperate to thwart the slowly rising anti-interventionist tide within the GOP that he even trotted out Sarah Palin to endorse Jones’s opponent”

    But neoocns have the confidence that if they could impose the neocon’s theology on the rest of the world, they can do it here as well on American street . They call it education, motivation,duty,responsibility,moral burden,and above all the essence of teh manifest destiny.

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