View Poll Results: Are Neocons A Threat To World Peace?

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Thread: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

  1. #141
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    Re: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kobie View Post
    Given that Wolfowitz's general doctrine is one of preemptive war, I think he's right only in concept, not by how he'd go about reaching that goal if he were in charge.
    I don't think that the notion of preemption, as conceived by Wolfowitz, is right. Preemption is only proper when you are preempting a clear and present danger, not otherwise. The notion that we should be preempting the rise of rivals that have the capability to destroy the US is a recipe for suicide. It is very dangerous. There is nothing right about it, and it should be beat down in the ground.

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    Re: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

    I think it's time that we revisit the following concepts, put forward by George Washington. They may need some adjustments to conform to the realities of today, but they are still largely relevant.

    The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
    The rule of thumb should be is that as far as possible, mind your own business.

  3. #143
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    Re: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

    Since one of the learned persons here feels that Paul Wolfowitz should be the focus of attention in this discussion, let's take a look at how Mr. Wolfowitz's views are problematic.

    "Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union, and Southwest Asia."
    Here Wolfowitz has put forward the notion that the primary focus of US foreign policy should be to prevent to rise of potential rivals. Thus he sets the basis for the doctrine of preemption. I have briefly stated why this is problematic, but for the sake of emphasis, let's restate those objections.

    One of the primary goals of any nation state is to improve the economic conditions of it's citizens. In order for them to do so, they must strive to increase their influence amongst other nations. This in turn demands that they strive to develop relations with other nations that are conducive to the favorable exchange of goods and services. To say that one nation will preempt the rise of another is to imply that there is a necessity to restrict this exchange. Because this is an imperative of each nation, the US through such policy, naturally places itself as an adversary of other nations. This is natural because when a nation seeks access to the goods of another and is restricted, simply on the basis that such access would bestow upon it too much influence, the nation will feel that it has fallen victim to injustice. From such injustice, animosity develops, and from such animosity a deterioration of relations occurs.

    Thus by advocating the preemption of the rise a potential rivals, Wolfowitz puts the US on a trajectory of seeing it's relations with other nations deteriorate. Indeed this is exactly what the US experienced worldwide, with the possible exception of the lapdog Tony Blair, during the Bush administration. An administration that was characterized by it's unusual amount of neocon influence.
    Last edited by MildSteel; 04-12-14 at 05:24 PM.

  4. #144
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    Re: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

    Indeed it was an excellent idea to focus on Wolfowitz because an examination of his ideas glaringly demonstrates the threat posed by neocon ideology.

    "There are three additional aspects to this objective: First the U.S must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. Second, in the non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order."
    The problem here is that if the US is to lead the establishment of such an order, it would require that it lead in establishing the boundaries upon which such an order is based. In practical terms, such leaderships would require that the US dictate exactly what those boundaries would be in the event of a dispute. If it could not do so, it's leaderships would be weak at the very least, or possibly meaningless. By putting the US is such a position as a policy goal, adversarial relations with other countries are the natural result because the losing side in the dispute will feel animosity towards the United States. This is not to say that the United States, because of the nature of it's power may inadvertently find itself in a position where it must dictate such solutions. However the US should not strive, as a result of some ill conceived policy goal, to be in such a position.

  5. #145
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    Re: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

    Moving along

    "Finally, we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."
    The problem here is that the US currently spends more than every other nation on the face of the Earth combined on defense. It appears that Wolfowitz would have us do so indefinitely. But this is simply unsustainable because the US does not have infinite resources. Of course currently, the power of the Federal Reserve to grant the US government practically unlimited amounts of cash, has enabled this exorbitant spending spree. However this power is coming to an end as other nations start to realize that a nation with over one hundred twenty seven trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities cannot continue to borrow money in such a fashion. As the US comes to the point where it's ability to maintain this edge as Wolfowitz recommends, it will be forced to either hold onto it's power by the use of raw military force, or accept that it cannot maintain such a policy. Therefore, it would be better for the US to try to cultivate the creation of a sustainable world order with the cooperation of other nations, rather than trying to outspend them in the area of defense.

  6. #146
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    Re: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    I was just trying to recall what I was thinking at the time. If I remember right, I didn't believe he had a program to develop nuclear weapons. Joseph Wilson and others had cast doubt on that whole issue. There was also doubt he had chemical weapons. At the end of the day no WMDs were found. They say Colin Powell is still sore that he made a fool of himself.

    No, the US has not always been a neocon nation and the example you gave does not prove that. What the neocons purpose is preempting the rise of other powers. One only need to refer to Washington's admonishment that the US should stay out of European affairs to see that the founders were not trying to implement a neocon vision of preemption.

    Wrong again. The war of 1812 was not about preempting the rise of the British empire. To do that the US would have had to station troops in places where Britain was in the process of colonizing such as India, to thwart their rise.

    Again neither of those wars were to preempt the rise of a rival power.

    US involvement in both world wars was reactive, not preemptive.

    Although that can be seen as a preemptive with regards to China, you could also say it was reactive.

    Vietnam was weird. Basically the French were being beat and we started to increase our involvement. But we got stuck in quicksand. I don't consider that preemptive.

    Now Iraq was a true neocon, preemptive war. And although Congress did vote for an authorization of a use of force, it contained this section:

    Bush never got a security council resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. It could therefore be said that the war was illegal and Bush and Cheney are war criminals.

    The world has changed quite a bit since the Roman empire. Neither the Roman or British empires had to face adversaries with nuclear arsenals that could destroy their civilizations. That simply is not the case now, and it is the major factor that leads one to the conclusion that the neocons are indeed a threat to world peace. The notion of preempting the rise of such adversaries is dangerous and will likely lead to a nuclear disaster in the future if such notions are not strongly put down.
    FWIW, my take on US History came from Zinn's "People's History of the US" and Loewen's "Lies my Teacher Told Me".

    It seems to me that you are defining neo-con to suit argument. The original definition was a liberal who changed his views to conservative after some of Stalin's methods were better known. The current definition is more someone who believes that the first line of defense should be overseas and we should stop problems before they come to our shores. Your definition, apparently, "What the neocons purpose is preempting the rise of other powers." Had not heard that before but let's use it.

    The War of 1812 involved the attack on British Indian allies in Ohio and the Northwest Territories and included the attack on Canada, both of which would, if not pre-empt the growth of the British empire would greatly reduce it.

    The Mexican War ended with the US gaining California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. I would think that greatly reduced the likelihood of a Mexican empire in addition to adding to the US empire. Without that, the US and Mexico would be about equal.

    Weird to call Wilson's desire to enter WW1 reactive. No idea why we did except the Zimmerman memo or Wilson chest pounding.

    And Korea and Vietnam. That was combating the fear of an expanding communist empire, unified. Domino theory.

    The Bush Administration might argue that the UN security council 1441 gave their permission. There would be "serious consequences" if Iraq did not comply with the inspectors. At the time that it was passed the UK and US did not think that it meant war and planned to get another resolution more explicit if needed. The inspectors, according to Wikipedia:
    "Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei presented several reports to the UN detailing Iraq's level of compliance with Resolution 1441.[7][8][9] On 27 January 2003 Chief UN Weapons Inspector Blix addressed the UN Security Council and stated "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance – not even today – of the disarmament, which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace."[10] Blix went on to state that the Iraqi regime had allegedly misplaced "1,000 tonnes" of VX nerve agent—one of the most toxic ever developed"
    France then backed away from a war resolution and they had veto power. But the possibility of serious consequences for failure to comply was still in UN resolution 1441. And 43 nations agreed. A lot of war criminals. And please don't insult those proud sovereign countries by calling them running dogs of American imperialism.

    But my argument still stands: If it is a neo-con policy to pre-emptively attack Iraq and the clear majority in Congress and in the public supported this then we have a lot of neo-cons. Being wrong on the presence of nuclear weapons doesn't change that. Unless the definition of neo-con is simply someone who wants to do a pre-emptive attack on another country based on false intelligence.
    Last edited by Eric7216; 04-12-14 at 08:06 PM.

  7. #147
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    Re: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric7216 View Post
    It seems to me that you are defining neo-con to suit argument. The original definition was a liberal who changed his views to conservative after some of Stalin's methods were better known. The current definition is more someone who believes that the first line of defense should be overseas and we should stop problems before they come to our shores. Your definition, apparently, "What the neocons purpose is preempting the rise of other powers." Had not heard that before but let's use it.
    Concerning preemption, here's Paul Wolfowitz

    Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric7216 View Post
    But my argument still stands: If it is a neo-con policy to pre-emptively attack Iraq and the clear majority in Congress and in the public supported this then we have a lot of neo-cons.
    The problem with your argument is that you have conflated support for the Iraq war as the advocation of preemption as a policy in general. There is a difference.

  8. #148
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    Re: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric7216 View Post
    FWIW, my take on US History came from Zinn's "People's History of the US" and Loewen's "Lies my Teacher Told Me".

    It seems to me that you are defining neo-con to suit argument. The original definition was a liberal who changed his views to conservative after some of Stalin's methods were better known. The current definition is more someone who believes that the first line of defense should be overseas and we should
    You're half there. The first substantial usage of the term in American circles was from Michael Harrington in regard to his former colleagues backing off on domestic policy matters in the United States during the Great Society. The methods of Stalin was more affecting the Partisan Review crowd who were becoming pro-American socialists or perhaps strident liberals at most. This predated neoconservatism by about 20-30 years.

    I tried to directly link to the clip, but I haven't figured out JW-Player yet. Anyhow, Glazer's summary starting after five minutes or so of the last session (located at the bottom of the page) is an excellent summary, and largely (with exception to what I pointed out above) backs up what you have observed.

    http://web.princeton.edu/sites/jmadi..._interest.html

    That being said, being a "Neo-Reaganite" neoconservative (something that's a great deal easier to nail down in terms of foreign and defense policy orientation) has a number of specific precepts that one will usually (but not always adopt). This includes what you said, but also the promotion of democracy abroad (by force if deemed necessary), the maintenance of American hegemony (in political, social, economic, and military terms), and the promotion of a better world (which coincides with American social, political, and economic ideas). Likewise, while it is tempting to box politicians into it, it almost becomes difficult to do so, because it is so heavily imbued with a sense of intellectual discourse and government officials (rather than necessarily cabinet posts or even Presidents). It's almost more of an intellectual's orientation (including intellectual politician) than a strictly political strand.
    Last edited by Fiddytree; 04-12-14 at 10:17 PM.
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    Re: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

    Quote Originally Posted by MildSteel View Post
    The problem with your argument is that you have conflated support for the Iraq war as the advocation of preemption as a policy in general. There is a difference.
    However, the Iraq War explicitly ignited public debate on the nature of threat assessment and action, especially preemption.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

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    Re: Are Neocons A Threat to World Peace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    However, the Iraq War explicitly ignited public debate on the nature of threat assessment and action, especially preemption.
    Absolutely. Indeed I doubt that I would be discussing it here if that had not been the case because frankly I had never given the issue of preemption any thought.

    That said, I can't help but recall the saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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