[FoRK] The re-branding of the neo-cons

Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> on Sat Mar 29 07:22:03 PDT 2008

On Mar 29, 2008, at 8:48 AM, Jeff Bone wrote:

> 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.

I think perhaps it's worth digging in a little further on this.  Over  
the last several years I've come to understand the neo-cons *purely*  
in the sense defined above;  this attitude of paired entitlement to  
and obligation for American hegemony is in my mind THE defining  
characteristic of the neo-con view, and what sets them apart from e.g.  
the theo-fascists, garden-variety hawks, pro-Israel lobby and other  
right-wing sorts that they've been aligned with to a greater or lesser  
extent over the course of the last several years.  It is what sets  
them apart from e.g. Cheney, who while he has nurtured tight alliances  
with the neo-cons over the course of decades is not truly one of them  
himself.  (Cheney's particular makeup, history and motivation is a  
complicated topic and beyond the scope of the point I'm trying to make  
here.  Cheney, Bush Jr. and Reagan are often cited as neo- 
conservatives;  I reject that classification for those individuals.   
G.H.W.B., arguably, would fit the neo-con mold, though not as well as  
the (previously) back-stage shadow-puppeteers.)

The neo-cons are particularly dangerous for various reasons.  First,  
they have a sort of demonstrated fluidity of ideology that allows them  
to adapt and assimilate into, and ultimately co-opt, other groups and  
movements.  Remember, these guys were Trotskyites of the Straussian  
persuasion some 40 years ago.  Their collective politics has been a  
chameleon-like disguise over the last several decades;  their  
professed belief in and practice of the "Noble Lie" has made it  
notoriously difficult to actually pin down their actual political  
beliefs, to the point that one could say they have none but one:  a  
belief in the necessity of a New World Order indeed, one with America  
either explicitly or clandestinely exercising control over all aspects  
of global life.  It is for America alone to plot the future, and for  
them alone to do this plotting on her behalf.

Furthermore, the ability of successive generations of neo-cons to  
practice this sort of ideological fluidity while still managing to  
effectively pursue courses of action to put themselves in the seats of  
power is impressive, and perhaps unheard of among political  
movements.  Their tenacity and the long-range nature of their planning  
ability is unheard of in a political landscape that operates almost  
entirely on the time scale of the next election, and makes them  
uniquely dangerous.

I think it is difficult to overemphasize how big a setback the neo- 
cons have experienced in the last 5 years.  The debacle of Iraq has  
dealt tremendous damage to this group and has resulted in "outing"  
many of them, revealing their modus operandi to the public (the Office  
of Special Plans was a quintessentially neo-con operation) causing  
massive disruption of their power, influence, and effectiveness.  Yet  
through the apparatus of the media and its right-wing vanguard, they  
have already started their retrenchment, and a key element of that  
plan is the re-branding of the term "neo-con" to take the focus off  
the actual executive core and generalize it to the point of  

I don't think we want to let these snakes go to ground;  but to avoid  
that, we need to not play into their agenda by allowing this re- 
branding to happen.



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