Monday, January 12, 2004

Neo-Cons, Unmasked

No less a source than The American Conservative has published an analysis of the much-bandied term "neoconservative" written by Claes G. Ryn, who is professor of politics at Catholic University and chair of the National Humanities Institute. "Neoconservatives" are said to be in charge of George Bush's thinking, especially his thinking on foreign policy, more specifically his determination to invade Iraq, which according to Paul O'Neill started on Day One of this administration.

The neoconservative domination of American foreign policy has become enough of an issue, in fact, that a disinformation campaign has been launched (by ideologue Richard Brooks, among others) to deny that any such animal as a neoconservative even exists. "Ain't nobody in here but us chickens!" But just get a load of Richard Perle and David Frum flacking their new book, An End to Evil ... the neoconservative prow on this ship of state.

Ryn likens the neoconservatives to the Jacobins of revolutionary France. The ideology of the Jacobins "was summed up in the slogan 'liberty, equality, and fraternity.' Equally universalistic and monopolistic, they demanded that other countries change their ways. Good stood against evil."

So the "new Jacobin" neoconservatives "are intent on global reconstruction and rooting out 'evil.' " One might obviously note their influence in George W.'s fearless repetition of the term "evil-doers" in the days, weeks, and months following 9/11 (and in the title to Perle & Frum's new book). That influence came, apparently, in the flash of the twin towers going down in New York City. "Neo-Jacobins who had worried that Bush might be an obstacle to their plans were delighted by the ease with which he could be converted to their cause. He adopted the neo-Jacobin rhetoric of his speechwriters with evident relish, explicitly committing America to armed world hegemony, portraying it as the savior nation...."

The neo-Jacobins are addicted to power, says Ryn, and they happen to have in George W. a weak-minded puppet who "was not ... able fully to understand the cause that he adopted." Here's the full paragraph that contains that characterization:

"The new Jacobins are not content to promote and protect American and Western interests and to nurture a common ground with other countries. They have a panacea and insist that the world adopt it. Virtually all Americans recognized the necessity of an emphatic response to 9/11. The reason this atrocity did not elicit focused action against the perpetrators but became instead the justification for war against Iraq and a worldwide battle against terrorism is that neo-Jacobin intellectuals and activists had long prepared to launch such a policy. After 9/11 they could push through policies whose full implications were not obvious to their less ideological bosses. President Bush had the excuses that he confronted wholly unanticipated and unsettling circumstances and was not an intellectual and historian able fully to understand the cause that he adopted...."

And here's where it gets hairy in Ryn's estimation ... the megalomania of the neo Jacobins is tended toward World War IV. It's frankly enough to make the small hairs rise involuntarily on our napes:

"[Bush's] recruitment to the ideology of empire and the war against Iraq were great victories for the new Jacobins. Now they are working towards the further implementation of their plans for an expanded American role in the world, especially in the Middle East. Other countries -- Syria and Iran first of all -- are said urgently to need "regime change." Toppling the Saudi government is another important goal. Some neo-Jacobins want the U.S. to develop "small" nuclear weapons for use against entrenched terrorists and guerrilas and their buried weapons. Some seriously advocate a World War IV against the Muslim world before it has had a chance to build up its power...."

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