Buchanan on Subversions of Neo-Conservatives
By S. Arif Hussaini

Seldom has any Presidential election in the US provoked so much of controversy, virtually caused a national split, and incited so many prominent figures to come out with books throwing light on some facet or another connected with the event. Of the six books that I have had the advantage of going through over the past 2-3 months, the one that arrested my interest directly is ‘Where The Right Went Wrong’ by Patrick Buchanan, thrice Presidential candidate, syndicated columnist, TV commentator and author of half a dozen political books.

His very conservative views having often jarred my ears, I reluctantly agreed to a friend’s insistence to glance through his latest work indicting the Bush administration - a conservative faulting another. The small bookstore in a Mall I visited had sold out all copies, the neighborhood library had three persons before me waiting for the return of copies. I could get a copy from a large bookstore.

Buchanan captures the attention of the reader by claiming at the very outset that the invasion of Iraq may prove a textbook example of the imperial over-stretch that brought down so many empires of the past. America became the sole superpower by staying out of the great wars of the 20th century longer than any other power.

The US non-interventionist foreign policy is rooted in history, tradition and the wisdom of the country’s Founding Fathers. He quotes historian A.J.P. Taylor in support of this contention: ‘Though the object of being a great Power is to be able to fight a Great War, the only way of remaining a Great Power is not to fight one’.

Interventionism, Buchanan maintains, is ‘the incubator of terrorism’. Interventionism is not the solution to America’s problems in the Middle East. It is the problem. ‘America’s huge footprints on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia let straight to 9/11. The terrorists were over here because we were over there. Terrorism is the price of empire. If you do not wish to pay the price, you must give up the empire.’

Bush had not entered the White House nurturing his doctrine of pre-emptive wars on rouge regimes and prevention of any other nation from acquiring the power to challenge US hegemony in all regions of the world. Bush converted to this doctrine in the shock of 9/11. The neo-conservatives who had surrounded him played a major part in selling him the doctrine. ‘Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Wurmser, Bolton all belong’, maintains Buchanan ‘to a clique of foreign policy specialists, academics and writers who see US and Israeli interest as identical. Arnaud de Borchgrave, the eminent journalist and much respected writer, calls them ‘Washington Likudniks’ and contends that they ‘have been in charge of US policy in the Middle East since Bush was sworn into office’ and have imposed a ‘Bush-Sharon’ doctrine on American foreign policy’”.

Elements of the Bush doctrine as enunciated by himself are:

· The war on terror is between good and evil; it will not end until we eradicate all terror networks of a global reach. Every nation must decide: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.

· No rogue nation, especially Iran, Iraq, and North Korea will be allowed to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

· We have begun, with Afghanistan and Iraq, a democratic revolution to overthrow all undemocratic regimes of the region.

· No nation will be permitted to rise to a position of power where it can challenge the US regionally or globally.

Buchanan calls this ‘Utopian’, a ‘democratic imperialism’. It would bleed, bankrupt, isolate the US, eventually causing its downfall from its high pedestal.

Buchanan calls the neocons ‘the war party: the hijackers of American foreign policy. The neocons started as socialists and liberals but moved over to the side of the conservative Republicans once they found the latter more congenial for their operations. They have infiltrated think tanks and academic circles, and have considerable clout in the corporate sector. As Buchanan puts it, ‘It is a tiny movement without a national constituency…while many neocons are Jewish, most Jewish writers and intellectuals in America are liberals.’

Max Boot of Wall Street Journal calls the support for Israel ‘a key tenet of neo-conservatism’. Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, known for his passionate attachment to Israel, has been called by Time Magazine ‘the intellectual godfather’ of the Iraq War. Jerusalem Post named him the ‘Man of the Year’. Richard Clarke, counter-terrorism chief at the White House, has described in some detail Wolfowitz’s obsession with war on Iraq and linking it to Osama’s terrorism and 9/11. Iraq was no doubt a threat, not to the US juggernaut but to Israel.

Nine days after the terrorist attacks on WTC and Pentagon, an open letter was sent to President Bush signed by forty eminent persons including Bill Bennett, Norman Podhoretz, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Richard Perle, William Kristol, and Charles Krauthammer, warning the President that failure to attack Iraq ‘will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.’

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Buchanan warned ‘President Bush is being lured into a trap baited for him by these neo-cons that could cost him his office and cause America to forfeit years of peace won for us by the sacrifices of two generations in the Cold War’.

Buchanan devotes an entire chapter tracing the rise and fall of Muslim empires and why the Muslims of today have developed a distaste for America. He gives the following five factors.

· The US preaches democracy and human rights, but props up dictators and oligarchies in Muslim states.

· The US has defiled the sacred land of Arabia by stationing its soldiers, particularly women, there.

· America’s libertine and hedonistic culture is a satanic lure to Muslim youth.

· America indulges in a double standard in dealing with Arabs and Israel.

· America has attacked and ruined Iraq - a country that did not want war - to capture its oil fields, erect an American empire in the Middle East, and remove the possibility of its threat to Israel in future.

The second half of the book is dedicated to an analysis of the faulty economic policies of Bush administration particularly towards China. He criticizes vehemently the transfer of manufacturing to China and high-tech jobs and services to India in subservience to the financial avarice of corporations who finance political campaigns. Globalism of world economy has benefited American and multinational corporations. But this short-term benefit will, in the long run, deprive America of its economic supremacy. Like the concept of free trade that brought down the British empire, globalization of world economy marks the beginning of the end of American empire. Buchanan’s detailed study of how globalization is damaging American interests makes fascinating reading. It is to be read to be fully appreciated.

Arifhussaini@hotmail.com October 29, 2004


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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