Skip to comments.Prestowitz Attacks Neocons from the right in World Council PBS Broadcast
Posted on 08/19/2003 12:27:50 AM PDT by risk
Economic Strategy Institute's Clyde Prestowitz
|Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions (Meet the Author)
by Clyde Prestowitz
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From Publishers Weekly
I feel compelled to respond to his claims to Goldwater Republicanism and patriotism because his attacks on the Bush administration's "neoconservatism" were anything but patriotic. In short, Prestowitz is a CFR operative with only one agenda: to use his former conservative identity as a disguise for political attacks on the Bush administration's strong policies for military preemption of terrorism and invasion, American strategic and environmental sovereignty, and the Bush administration's value for the American destiny as a global defender of intellectual and economic freedom. Despite what Prestowitz would have us believe, these are recipes for continued American vigor and economic viability. A strong America means continued progress in this world where the alternatives are Islamic Shari'ia law, Chinese fascism, and European socialism.
Prestowitz denounced Manifest Destiny and claims that our "unilateralism" is a continuation of this tradition. He labels our conquest and purchase of the North American southwest as empire building, and lumps our time limited control over the Philippines in with our destruction of the Spanish empire as imperialism, as well. Despite America's victories in WWI, WWII, and the Cold war, he claims we are not the "chosen people." His claims to Christian evangelicalism aside, this issue need not be seen as a Christian-only claim, and many Americans have faith that this nation is holding the baton of liberty regardless of their religious convictions.
Prestowitz, who is a CFR contributor (Council for Foreign Relations, see http://www.namebase.org/main1/Clyde-V-jr-Prestowitz.html), claims that we need to reduce the size and power of our military. This is typical of the contemporary "multilateralism" spearheaded by Presidents Jimmy Carter and William Clinton, and their wives. Claiming as a Republican in favor of small government, he argues that having a large military is anything but a conservative policy. He even blames California's problems on a form of "Trotskyism on the Right," evidently meaning that our military expenditure is part of the problem with our state's economy, despite its close association with the military industrial complex's R&D and manufacturing.
Prestowitz calls the Israel lobby in Washington a "tough nut to crack," and in a thinly veiled anti-Zionist comment, cites an unnamed Israeli professor who says that "Americans are more Jewish than Israelis." He proudly claims to have interviewed Arafat, Sharon, Barak as "Key Players" in the peace process in Israel, but claims that 80% of the Israeli public are for getting rid of settlements, and pulling back to the "green line." He blames settler parties, "extreme" religious parties for being determined to have Israel settle the "whole west bank." He mentions that Jenin "massacre," saying he saw BBC, Deutsche Telecom (meaning Welle?) Al Jezzera. FOX, and CNN news sources as being from extremely different perspectives, clearly unwilling to admit that there wasn't a "massacre." Prestowitz upholds the road map as our only hope, saying 'In that sense, "let's wish him well."' Despite the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the mideast with any measure of religious freedom, it is somehow due to Jewish manipulation that we support its right to exist in strategic araes such as the west bank!
To solve our problems, Prestowitz speaks kindly of Dean as being the only candidate willing to stand against "unilateralism," saying that America can't afford to do things by itself, and wouldn't want to. He recommends the following:
He upholds the United Nations as a multilateral, post-war era success (despite the war in Korea) and even mentions an early American proposal to put our nuclear weapons under international control as exemplary multilateralism. He cites Vietnam as a unilateral failure, despite its origins in a UN failing, ignoring CFR's culpability.
Prestowitz accuses neoconservatives as being imperialists (where have we heard that?) and stresses that preemptive war requires "good intelligence," as if we didn't act on exactly the right intelligence when we crushed Saddam. He holds up Kosovo as our shining accomplishment, and mentions that the Kyoto accords would have given us a stronger position going into Iraq.
To recap, Prestowitz is a CFR wolf in Goldwater "small government" clothing. Republican conservatives believe in just enough government to do the job at hand. As he admits, 9/11 changed everything. It ended a legacy of 60 years of appeasement, going back to Eisenhower's halt at the river Elbe in deference to the advancing Soviet army, a pattern begun by FDR and Churchill at Yalta. When a muslim-controlled American airliner slammed into our Pentagon, the era of appeasement ended, hopefully forever. Multipolarists need not apply as manipulators of our foreign policy, and an East coast ivory tower elitist like Prestowitz has nothing to offer the present debate as to the causes of California's economic woes.
Despite what neo-neocons like Prestowitz would have us believe, the American Revolution continues to this day, and our gift of intellectual and economic freedom to humanity will continue to shine as a beacon on the hill of this world as long as the majority of Americans believe we can. Prestowitz usurps this metaphor, and deserves to be criticized for it.
The left believes that America is a rogue nation led by terrorists which neeeds to be destroyed.
As a software engineer whose platform speciality is of a largely international nature, I find myself debating the subject of American power with otherwise intelligent individuals from Britain, Canada, Sweden, Norway, France, Australia, etc., etc., and it is simply horrifying how much they have bought the BS. Brainwashed to a stunning degree. In the face of their endless attacks, calling the U.S. an "empire", I point out to them how that label, however convienent, fails the test of truth, because we do not conquer, but they have already made up their minds.
The fact that I defend America while remaining wary of the folks in our government still makes me, in their eyes, a "unthinking flag-waver". Of course, when they resort to ad hominem attacks, they have lost the argument and they know it, but their brainwashed ideaology (for lack of a better term) is amazing to behold.
[sound of churchkey pulling off bottle cap]
IMHO there is no connection between Iraq and the WOT. In contrast to North Korea, Iraq was no threat to the US. North Korea has, and willingly sells to anyone with the price, all WMDs and the missiles to deliver them. NK also has missiles capable of reaching the US and is therefore a clear and present danger. In attacking Iraq and giving NK a pass we made two things clear: 1) if you have nuclear weapons we won't confront you and 2) we seek a greater presence in the Middle East. The result will be proliferation of nuclear weapons across the globe (great for NK's business) and encouragment for those who'd seek a war against the Moslem world. The entire Middle East, absent oil, isn't worth an American sprained ankle. Since whoever controls the oil fields in the Middle East needs to sell oil to purchase food, it'll always be available. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq have again demonstrated that the US has overwhelming military power. It's also demonstrated we haven't got the ground forces necessary to deal with our current commitments. We've had to take forces from Afghanistan (a war which made and continues to make sense) to support our folly in Iraq, for example.
The lessons drawn from our efforts to be policeman to the world are weakening our defenses by shifting our ground forces to light and quickly deployable from heavy and capable of conquering any opposing force, no matter how large and capable. We've always had the ability to get to a battle quickly through depolyment of either airborne forces or, if our naval forces are offshore, the Marines. The problem is that neither of these quickly deployed forces are capable of sustained combat against large concentrations of heavy enemy forces. Since I feel the Army should rarely be employed except in cases of national survival I believe we should be emphasizing our heavy (decisive) forces, bringing them home to the US from their various overseas postings and rebuilding our naval forces to ensure we can keep any conflict as far from our shores as possible and give us the ability to move our heavy forces to any theater.
The world is full of ethnic and religious conflicts. 99.9% of them we don't understand well enough to positively influence. Our record in the conflicts in which we've chosen to involve ourselves is, at best, not encouraging. Leaving the combatants in these unhappy conflicts to themselves is the best course for the US and would reduce the desire on the combatants part to extend the conflict to the US and its legitimate interests.
Left and fake right left have gone crazy with this anf it has hit themainstream as well.
It is weird.
The thing is, they don't hate us. They can't get enough of American culture. They can't wait to invade our country by visa and "fix" us from within. They read our founding fathers' documents to find out why we're wrong, and then end up quoting them out of context to their friends and enemies. Whatever we do becomes the talk of the global "town."
Yes, I do not want to be hated as an imperialist. But no, I don't care if I'm hated for being in the greatest nation on earth. And America is great because of its ideas, not its empire; even if we had only begun in a tiny island in the west indies, our ideas would have spread like wildfire in the world.
Recognizing the requirement that the most powerful human organization on earth requires strict civic restraints makes you a patriot of the first order. Our founding fathers would welcome you into their midst and thank you for upholding their ideals to people from so many places, as well.
Honestly, these goobers cannot mentally seperate the two ideas. As I remind them, such a black-and-white worldview is the earmark of the fanatic...
It depends on how we define the war on terror. There are three issues that bind us in strife with the Axis of evil.
The world is full of ethnic and religious conflicts. 99.9% of them we don't understand well enough to positively influence.
I see the suggestion that Israel isn't important in this argument. Without any religious justifications, we can see that Israel is not just another ethnic problem. Our values in the west are Judeo-Christian in origin, regardless of our individual beliefs. Furthermore, Israel is the only democracy in the mideast where religious tolerance is practiced. And our commitment to Israel stems from our horror at the depravity of the Holocaust, a phenomenon that apparently continues to have legs; Arafat and Saddam have direct links to Nazism via the Mufti of Jerusalem, who worked for Hitler in Kosovo and in the mideast.
A billion muslims fall asleep every night worrying about six million Jews who are just trying to survive until the next day. That has to worry us, as Israel is yet another democracy on the edge of civilization facing the thundering hordes beyond our gates. It's our fight, too. And 9/11 proved it. Prestowitz tells us to pull back and avoid dependance on mideast oil -- that will solve our problems. But if I've paid for the damned oil, I refuse to have my dollars used against me. If they are, then I believe we have a number of financial, political, and military options at our disposal, and we needn't fear the effects of crushing our enemies.
Iraq had reached the pinnacle of pan-arab nationalist power, if one discounts the as yet undeloped atomic weapons in Iran, a Persian nation. Iraq was sponsoring mideast terror, and I am not going to ignore the rumors that it had global ambitions for terrorism; sheltering as many international terrorists as it did right up until Baghdad's fall is enough of a threat to me. Pakistan should also be included in the Axis of Evil, but continues to be a juggernaut of State Department bewilderment that I think is beyond the scope of this discussion.
If you think we need to strengthen our military, then we should give recruiters better financial news for recruits, and we should continue developing our own weapons systems, both NMD (missile defense) and nuclear. Pulling back, losing focus on the Axis of Evil, any sort of hesitation now would be a victory for this ragtag collection of international robbers, dictators, and racists.
The WMD genie is already out of the bottle - plenty of countries have chemical and biological (the most dangerous of all) capabilities. At the moment our greatest danger, IMHO, isn't state sponsored attacks on the US but WMD in the hands of those involved in religious and ethnic wars who seek to punish the US for taking sides. That incidentally, is the reason the attacks on Israel have spread to the US.
I certainly see the Israeli-Palestinian War as just that, a war fought over religion and land - just like lots of other wars. Like other ethnic and religious wars, I think we should make it a point to stay out of it - in every way.
Iraq was a basket case. It's equipment was outdated and in short supply. That Iraq was a power in any respect when we invaded and occupied it is a laughable assertion. There isn't any connection between Iraq and 9/11. Don't take my word for it, that's the US government's position - the result of a lack of evidence to suggest any other possible conclusion. Since two (of four) of Pakistan's provinces have elected governments sympathetic to the Taliban you might be right about Pakistan. Since almost the entire region defines us by our support for Israel, however, I don't know why that should be all that surprising.
My concern for our armed forces is really two fold. In the first place, I'm concerned that we're configuring our forces to play policeman to the world and therefore handicapping us in the event of a major, large scale war of national survival. My second concern is that we won't have the military forces in the numbers we need because of recruitment/retention shortfalls which I believe are looming. In my view, we'll need to return to the draft if our committments aren't quickly reduced and we don't return to a policy which places the emphasis on defense instead of playing policeman to the world.
That's like saying you have a leak in your car's radiator, but you don't think you need to fix it.
Like other ethnic and religious wars, I think we should make it a point to stay out of it - in every way.
So you're an anti-Zionist who doesn't see the moral difference between the Islamic pan-arab culture and the Jewish one? In your view, they're just uninteresting cultural combatants in a land that just happens to have oil? Would you have said the same during the Holocaust,, that the Germans were just another cultural combatant? Because if we were to abandon Israel, there wouldn't be a Jew left alive in Israel within five years. That is the stated goal of all of Israel's enemies. And it is not symmetric: Jews are tolerant of Arabs in most situations.
Americans are not too weak to take a stand in support of Israel. We would be considered weak in the eyes of our enemies if we didn't support Israel now.
There isn't any connection between Iraq and 9/11.
What about the first WTC bombing? The OKC bombing? What about Saddam's attack on Bush Senior? What about the use of chemical weapons on our troops in Gulf war I? What about the continual AAA ordnance hurled against our no-fly enforcers?
In my view, we'll need to return to the draft if our committments aren't quickly reduced and we don't return to a policy which places the emphasis on defense instead of playing policeman to the world.
The draft issue is mostly caused by the low pay our service members receive, at least in my view. In any case, you haven't answered my biggest objection to critics of our war in Iraq: the Axis of Evil is a whole that is larger than the sum of its parts. Iraq was the easiest one on the list to neutralize, and I think we're just getting started.
I don't know if being completely indifferent to Israel's fate makes me an anti-Zionist. I guess if it does I must also be anti-Biafran, anti-Cambodian, etc. The US taking sides in a religious war is, IMHO, anti-American. My guess is the rest of the world wouldn't see us as weak if we chose to stay out of the Israeli-Palestinian War, just that we finally came to our senses.
If you think Iraq had a connection to 9/11 contact the government with your information. They'll be happy to hear from you as they've tried hard, and without success, to make a connection. If all you've got is promotional material designed to sucker us into invading Iraq they won't be any more interested in it than I am.
The recruiting/retention problems I see looming have nothing to do with pay. I served in the Army to defend my country and stayed in the reserves for the same reason. When I volunteered for Vietnam, where I served for a year, I didn't do it for the combat pay and when I gave up evenings, weekends, took time off and went away every year in the reserves I lost money most of the time. I've since been retired. Were I younger and still in the reserves I'd probably be retiring at the first moment they'd let me - solely because wandering around the globe looking for dragons to slay isn't something I support.
Of course. But doesn't change the truth that America is still lightyears ahead of whoever is in second place.
I have to reject this point of view. Western (and that includes Japanese) law enforcement and military agencies should be doing everything they can to eliminate these weapons. Deciding that they are simply out of control and warrant a mere buildup of deterrence-style counterforce is insufficient. I think the horror of Aum Shinrikyo's subway attacks is plenty of evidence to that effect. They just happen to be virulently anti-semitic, as well.
I don't know if being completely indifferent to Israel's fate makes me an anti-Zionist. I guess if it does I must also be anti-Biafran, anti-Cambodian, etc
I think it makes you an isolationist. That's a choice we all need to make, but I don't see the world as being more stable or less threatening than it was in 1937 today. There were plenty of people making similar justifications for our isolation then. But I think many of us have learned that preemption is a better way. Nations in the Axis of Evil or international terror groups that talk about attacking us and show an ability to do so are little less of a threat than Hitler was in the 1930s. Don't you think it the least bit significant that they speak the same language, the hatred and vilification of the Jews?
The US taking sides in a religious war is, IMHO, anti-American.
As I've said, it's not a religious war. Muslim extremism is barbarism without a doubt. Judaism is just another religion that happens to be practiced in the west with no deep-seated animosities for you or me. If 9/11 didn't persuade you, if the continual stream of death threats to Americans that we've heard over the past 30 years hasn't persuaded you that the pan-Arab nationalism (either Islamic or Baathist) isn't about anti-westernism, anti-modernity, and nothing short of a war on human progress, then I don't know how to persuade you. Prestowitz's attack on Bush's Christianity is an affront to my own secularism. When President Bush speaks of our duty to defend freedom, I don't hear the religion first, I hear his call to recognize an American opportunity to improve the world from a humanist standpoint. Prestowitz is just grandstanding and playing to the anti-Christian sentiments in this leftist crowd.
If you think Iraq had a connection to 9/11 contact the government with your information.
I dont know anything that you don't about that, and I don't think it's necessary to justify our presence in Iraq.
I think this concludes my argument. I'll let it stand for itself. I think you've earned the right to advocate isolationism, and you've earned the right to say that you'd sit out our overseas "adventure." So please don't take any of my continued disagreements with your position as a lack of respect for your status as a citizen soldier.
Is, not isn't.