Wombaticus Rex » Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:05 am wrote:
It's all FUD from here to the convention, but it's remarkable that anyone, anywhere is advising a turn towards "the center" -- especially when "the center" is just Neocons.
I would define neoconservatism as extreme American exceptionalism based on
1. maintaining the military capacity for perpetual war and, more importantly, the political will to regularly and unapologetically exercise unilateral, overwhelming, sudden, god-like, total force as the sovereign management principle of a global US empire;
2. a homefront united or completely quiescent behind a foreign policy of unilateral action and full-spectrum global domination;
3. a state willing to do whatever it takes to impose the needed domestic unity by repression, including campaigns of witchhunts in the old, anti-communist style, but with some flexibility on domestic politics otherwise, since it's secondary;
4. and, as the North Star to animate and guide the doctrine of perpetual war, the designation of a primary enemy
that will be defined by every means of propaganda and indoctrination as completely evil, destructive, relentless, omnipresent, cunning, dangerous, infectious, and determined.
Ideally the enemy should be a powerful, nuclear-armed country that can be personalized and reduced to a creepy dictator with a moustache, but in the absence of a suitably scary candidate, any horde will have to do. The late-stage Soviet Union, despite its obvious unsuitability, was the necessary original choice for the role, both as the main nuclear-armed heavy oppressing Eastern Europe and holding Soviet Jews hostage, as well as a kind of unseen spider within the global web of "international terrorism" and anti-Americanism that was imagined to ally Iran, Palestinians, European leftists, certain Arab nationalist-autocrats, Japanese communists, environmentalists and pacifists, etc.
Unfortunately Gorbachev folded it up, allowing a glorious triumphal moment but forcing the neocons and their allies into 30 years of improvisation that initially focused on Saddam Hussein, Arabs generally, or "Islam" as the favored antagonists. After 9/11 this was morphed into the "Axis of Evil" and the "global war on terrorism," and thus "Islamism" more generally. Over the last decade Russia assumed the starring role again, although in the wake of the total failure of the #Russiagate campaign (despite the great investment of emotional-propaganda resources), there now seems to contention over whether the enemy is really China or the China-Latin axis, as the straightforward Trumpian-Bannonish nativists have set it up. Or, perhaps, that has to be, given the shifts in actual real-world geopolitics.The mission of those called neocons (originally by themselves, now more often derogatorily by others) has always been to redefine the neocon program as the center.
They understand themselves in heroic, vanguardist terms, and several of their original stars went through Trotskyist phases in their youth. They attack the mission with great ambition and no sense of limits, as a professional ethos. Exploiting the Reagan "revolution" and election, they succeeded in redefining "the center" of US political discourse in the early 1980s. Their efforts became superfluous in the 1990s, when second-phase neoliberalism achieved hegemony within the social-democratic parties of the Anglosphere and Europe, and the "conservatives" organized by the more Bircherish billionaire money were busy opening the Overton Window for later exploits (should I call that Tea Party V. Minus 1.0?).
The neocons then had their whole-hog triumph in the wake of 9/11.
It's not happening this time, but they're at it again -- their characterization of the enemy-image as relentless and omnipresent is surely a projection. Many of the same Reagonagenarians are trying to lead the charge, with leading neocons of the Bush era ensconsced at still sort-of-key media outlets: Frum at the Atlantic, Kristol managing a small attack fleet of his own, familiar minor exponents like Kathleen Parker still holding down columns at the legacy media and reborn as anti-Trumpists. The guys who crashed McCain and aborted Jeb! are calling themselves by pretentious names like "The Lincoln Project," and playing the role of an ideological steering bureau for a Democratic Party that currently lacks one. The party's establishment leadership intentionally adopts no real-world vision or definable principles, since even broaching the subject of Who We Are might entail rapid surrender to the Berniecrat ideas that have infected the overwhelming majority of potential Democratic voters.
That's why the neocons have no hope for the kind of combined cultural revolution and state takeover their earlier generation was able to pull off in the early 1980s; but they may still hope to repeat the arguably even more radical state takeover of the early 2000s through the simple expedient of a covert coup d'etat.
A choice of Condoleezza Rice would really be a clarifying moment.