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Prestowitz Attacks Neocons from the right in World Council PBS Broadcast
World Affairs Council of Northern California media site ^ | 07/21/03 | World Affairs Council

Posted on 08/19/2003 12:27:50 AM PDT by risk

Rogue Nation Clyde Prestowitz

Economic Strategy Institute's Clyde Prestowitz

Title Media Options
Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions (Meet the Author)

Date: 07/21/03
Speaker(s): Clyde Prestowitz
Description: Examining the erosion of goodwill toward the United States, Prestowitz lays out a scathing criticism of American foreign policy. He insists that America's intentions are usually good, and that the world admires Americans when they live up to their own ideals. However, according to Prestowitz, the world is able to see, with glaring clarity, some of the hypocrisies of American foreign policy and this is a primary source of resentment.

14K RealMedia Audio
Duration: 01:08:09
Bitrate: 16Kbps

IconRogue Nation
by Clyde Prestowitz
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars

From Publishers Weekly
As the worldwide outpouring of post-9/11 sympathy for America has given way to worldwide anti-American protests, Americans are asking why the world hates us. This nuanced but unsparing book gives a bill of particulars. American high-handedness has exacerbated tensions in hot spots from the West Bank to the Korean peninsula. American unilateralism has sabotaged a host of international agreements on such issues as land mines, biological weapons and the International Criminal Court. America preaches free trade while protecting its steel, textiles and agriculture from foreign competition. America, Atkins argues, runs a wasteful, SUV-centered economy while it rejects treaties on the environment and global warming. America's self-proclaimed role as champion of democracy flies in the face of its history of installing and supporting dictators in countries from Indonesia to Iraq. Most of all, Atkins says, the world fears America's overwhelming military might, now ominously paired with a doctrine of "preempting" the emergence of rival powers. These problems have been much discussed of late, but Prestowitz, author of Trading Places, pulls them together into a comprehensive and historically informed survey of contemporary U. S. foreign relations. Although he forthrightly calls the United States an imperial power, Prestowitz, a former Reagan Administration trade official, is by no means anti-American. He insists that America's intentions are usually good, and that the world likes and admires Americans when they live up to their own ideals. Still, his is a damning portrait of the United States as seen through the angry, bewildered eyes of foreigners: selfish, erratic, hypocritical, muscle-bound and a bad citizen of the world.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; Israel; Mexico; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; Russia; US: California; US: West Virginia; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: antiwarright; bookreview; cfr; dean; foreignpolicy; goldwater; iraq; manifestdestiny; mexico; neocons; neoconservative; npr; prestowitz; republican; rino; un; vietnam
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I happened to hear a part of Clyde Prestowitz's talk from 07/21/03 to the World Affairs Council, broadcast tonight on KQED FM in the Bay Area.

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, 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:

  1. The UN is flawed but necessary. So far so good. However, he only wants one EU veto -- to eliminate Great Britain! He is in favor of adding India and Brazil (!?) to the security council, but not Japan! He does want Lybia and Syria off the human rights commission.
  2. Wants Americans to recognize that the terrorism of 9/11 is not new. So far so good. But then he brings up IRA terror, and claims that it was funded by Americans who refused to stop it! Perhaps a grain of truth is present here, but what are his real aims? Limiting American focus on 9/11 and its true meaning. Like the media outlets who restrict WTC images from 9/11, Prestowitz wants us to forget this contemporary Pearl Harbor.
Prestowitz claims that neoconservatives are imperialists, and praises senator Chuck Hagel (NV-R) and Robert Byrd (WV-D) for their willingness to question America's involvement in "foreign adventurism." He attempts to connect fuel consumption directly to terrorism, and uses this as the prime reason for decreasing our dependence on foreign oil (as if we didn't have other reasons to do that).

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.

1 posted on 08/19/2003 12:27:51 AM PDT by risk
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To: Enemy Of The State; DoctorZIn; FreepForever; JohnHuang2; ALOHA RONNIE; NMFXSTC; ExSoldier; ...
CFR media watch ping: neo-neo-conservative posing as Goldwater republicans (foreign policy to the RINO extreme)
2 posted on 08/19/2003 12:31:22 AM PDT by risk
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To: risk
It's getting more common for lefties to attack us from
within. Every time they lose elections, they turn into
a bunch of little Nikita Khrushchevs and attack us from
within. I've worked with family advocacies and
see it often from the feminist types. When they can't
make any new major moves, they all suddenly turn false
conservative and try to derail or upstage our plans with
3 posted on 08/19/2003 12:38:53 AM PDT by familyop (Essayons)
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To: familyop
One thing the foreign policy aspect of this illustrates: American geopolitical power goes beyond a left vs. right, Democrat vs. Republican vs. Libertarian sensibility. I'm sure you can find more than the Christianity vs. humanist debate in your work, as well.
4 posted on 08/19/2003 12:43:31 AM PDT by risk
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To: risk
Hate America, blame America, undermine America.
5 posted on 08/19/2003 4:03:14 AM PDT by tkathy
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To: risk
The right believes that rogue nations led by terrorists must be destroyed.

The left believes that America is a rogue nation led by terrorists which neeeds to be destroyed.

6 posted on 08/19/2003 4:06:18 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Well said, TJ. I will have to remember that one to use on some people I know.

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

7 posted on 08/19/2003 5:24:50 AM PDT by Joe Brower (Evolution stops when stupidity ceases to be fatal.)
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To: Joe Brower
As one of the often attacked "neos" I find Clyde Prestowitz's charges unpersuasive. We've done such a bad job of getting the world angry at us. As a conservative I feel its evidence we must doing something right. The world is a lot more peaceful and stable now in no small part thanks to the policies President Bush has persuaded in the wake of 9-11. I'd like to hear from the paleocons and the Left exactly what they would do or have done in the WOT and in Iraq. Basically as a hyperpower the U.S does have global interests and the means to protect and secure them. And this is not a responsibility that is going to disappear anytime soon. It is part and parcel of the obligations that come with being the greatest country in the history of mankind.
8 posted on 08/19/2003 5:34:07 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: risk
Does anyone really care if or why the rest of the world hates us? I know I don't but I guess that would make me a "unilateralist"
9 posted on 08/19/2003 6:01:14 AM PDT by edchambers
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To: goldstategop
I'm still trying to understand the distinctions between "neocon", "paleocon", and whatnot. I just consider myself an old-fashioned "conservative". As for why "the world hates us", well, I think you nailed it in your statement about how the U.S. is simply the biggest and the best with large interests abroad, and the rest of the world is just wishing. The fact that they shot themselves in the foot, by and large, and that's why they're now limping along doesn't enter their mindset -- a textbook case of cognitive dissonance on their part.

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.

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

10 posted on 08/19/2003 6:28:58 AM PDT by Joe Brower (Evolution stops when stupidity ceases to be fatal.)
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To: risk
Sell PBS and NPR to the liberals who want their own librul media outlet. It is already pre-made for them. And we would get to CUT IT FROM SPENDING!!
11 posted on 08/19/2003 6:30:15 AM PDT by eyespysomething
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To: Constitution Day; wardaddy
Bring beer and a tub of popcorn. Maybe some nachos.

[sound of churchkey pulling off bottle cap]

12 posted on 08/19/2003 6:32:58 AM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine ("what if the hokey pokey is really what its all about?" - Jean Paul Sartre)
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To: risk
I can never recall Prestowitz being anything but a Democrat, in support of all things Democratic and shilling Keynesianism by the bucketful, along with dollar devaluation a la Fred Bergsten.
13 posted on 08/19/2003 6:34:53 AM PDT by habs4ever
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To: goldstategop
Since I believe in smaller government, lower taxes and that the US armed forces are organized to defend the US and not wander around the globe looking for dragons to slay, I guess you'd consider me a paleoconservative. That being the case, I'll give you some of my thoughts on the WOT and Iraq.

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.

14 posted on 08/19/2003 6:53:07 AM PDT by caltrop
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To: risk
The hysteria over "Neo-Conservatives" is at a crescendo.

Left and fake right left have gone crazy with this anf it has hit themainstream as well.

It is weird.

15 posted on 08/19/2003 8:33:36 AM PDT by tallhappy
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To: edchambers
Does anyone really care if or why the rest of the world hates us?

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.

16 posted on 08/19/2003 10:21:05 AM PDT by risk
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To: Joe Brower
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".

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.

17 posted on 08/19/2003 10:27:28 AM PDT by risk
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To: risk
Gosh, risk, thanks. That's the nicest thing anyone's said to me all week. $;-)

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...

18 posted on 08/19/2003 10:33:05 AM PDT by Joe Brower (Evolution stops when stupidity ceases to be fatal.)
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To: caltrop; goldstategop; yonif
IMHO there is no connection between Iraq and the WOT.

It depends on how we define the war on terror. There are three issues that bind us in strife with the Axis of evil.

  1. The power of the Axis when treated as a whole. This includes financial and natural resources.
  2. The mere potential of WMD, let alone specific items.
  3. The understanding that financial and military backing of attacks on Israel have spread to include Anglos.

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.

19 posted on 08/19/2003 10:46:57 AM PDT by risk
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To: risk
You've given me plenty to disagree with.

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.

20 posted on 08/19/2003 11:27:40 AM PDT by caltrop
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