[FoRK] At the risk of inflaming JB and others ...

James Tauber <jtauber at jtauber.com> on Sat Mar 29 07:18:48 PDT 2008

On Mar 29, 2008, at 9:48 AM, Jeff Bone wrote:
> On Mar 28, 2008, at 8:10 PM, James Tauber wrote:
>> I think Hitchens, while not taking the label "neocon" would say he  
>> and the neocons have the same views on foreign policy.
> I'm not so sure about that.  The very succinct version of neo-con  
> foreign policy view is that America specifically has both a right  
> and an obligation to impose global American hegemony by any means  
> necessary.  Hitchens views may coincide with the neo-cons on  
> specific actions or issues, but --- at least as far as I have recall  
> --- I don't think he goes so far as to share their ultimate goal,  
> therefore any similarity is in fact simply coincidental.

A quick Google search found this:

"It was a time when the left was mostly taking the conservative,  
status quo position - leave the Balkans alone, leave Milosevic alone,  
do nothing. And that kind of conservatism can easily mutate into  
actual support for the aggressors. Weimar-style conservatism can  
easily mutate into National Socialism," he elaborates. "So you had  
people like Noam Chomsky's co-author Ed Herman go from saying 'Do  
nothing in the Balkans', to actually supporting[ital] Milosevic, the  
most reactionary force in the region."

"That's when I began to first find myself on the same side as the  
neocons. I was signing petitions in favour of action in Bosnia, and I  
would look down the list of names and I kept finding, there's Richard  
Perle. There's Paul Wolfowitz. That seemed interesting to me. These  
people were saying that we had to act." He continues, "Before, I had  
avoided them like the plague, especially because of what they said  
about General Sharon and about Nicaragua. But nobody could say they  
were interested in oil in the Balkans, or in strategic needs, and the  
people who tried to say that - like Chomsky - looked ridiculous. So  
now I was interested."

There are two strands of conservatism on the US right that Hitch has  
always opposed. The first was the Barry Goldwater-Pat Buchanan  
isolationist right. They argued for "America First" - disengagement  
from the world, and the abandonment of Europe to fascism. The second  
was the Henry Kissinger right, which argued for the installation of  
pro-American, pro-business regimes, even if it meant liquidating  
democracies (as in Chile or Iran) and supporting and equipping  
practitioners of genocide.

He believes neoconservatism is a distinctively new strain of thought,  
preached by ex-leftists, who believed in using US power to spread  
democracy. "It's explicitly anti-Kissingerian. Kissinger hates this  
stuff. He opposed intervening in the Balkans. Kissinger Associates  
were dead against [the war in] Iraq. He can't understand the idea of  
backing democracy - it's totally alien to him."

"So that interest in the neocons re-emerged after September 11th."


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