return of the neocons

This is scary. American writer Jacob Heilbrunn (born around 1965) explains.

[T]he Republican party is resurrecting the unilateral foreign policy doctrines that first took hold under President George W Bush and his vice-president Dick Cheney.

Unlike the Democrats of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, who later came to express regret over their role in the Vietnam war, leading Republican figures such as Mr Cheney and former deputy secretary of defence Paul Wolfowitz have never admitted to making missteps in Iraq or Afghanistan. On the contrary, they have argued that it is President Barack Obama who has erred by failing to prosecute combat in Iraq and Afghanistan vigorously enough.

Until recently they did not get much of a hearing. But recent events have blown fresh wind into the sails of the neocons. ….

Perhaps no one has been more impassioned in their support of the foreign policy of George W Bush than Tom Cotton, a 37-year-old Iraq war veteran who has won election as senator in Arkansas. Mr Cotton has called the Iraq war a “just and noble” cause and said that victory in Afghanistan is simply a matter of finding enough willpower. In Iowa incoming Republican senator Joni Ernst, another Iraq veteran, also lauded the war. Based on her service in Iraq, she said: “I do have reason to believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”  [Emphasis added.] ….

Whether a Republican president would result in wholesale reversion to Bush-era policies is an open question. But the fact that the neocons are driving the debate in the Republican party and putting Mr Obama on the defensive is itself a remarkable tribute to their resilience. Indeed, to say that they are back may be something of a mistake. They never went away in the first place. The difference is that the Republican party is listening to them once again.

Jacob Heilbrunn, “Unvanquished Republican neocons surge back“, Financial Times, 12 November 2014.

Mr Heilbrunn is author of  They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons (Doubleday, 2008) and editor of The National Interest (TNI), an American international affairs magazine. TNI was founded in 1985 by Irving Kristol.  Henry Kissinger is the magazine’s honorary chairman.

Candidate Joni Ernst (born 1970) was endorsed by the Tea Party.  According to Wikipedia, she opposes cap and trade, a federal minimum wage, and same-sex marriage while supporting gun rights and partial privatization of Social Security old-age pension accounts. She won the 2014 race for the US Senate 52.2% to 43.7%. Senator-elect Tom Cotton was also supported by the Tea Party movement.


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