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Neocon Watch

Will Trump Fire John Bolton Next?

After he nearly scuttled the historic talks with North Korea by hinting that Kim Jong Un could face a fate similar to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, National Security Advisor John Bolton is being sidelined by President Trump ahead of the historic June 12 summit in Singapore, CNN reports.

According to the report, several senior administration officials have lost their patience with Bolton and his hawkish approach to North Korea, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has pushed to limit Bolton's role in the upcoming summit, saying it would be "counterproductive" for Bolton to attend certain Oval Office meetings.
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Donald Trump’s Neocon Conversion was Predictable



During the election, I wrote a little ebook titled “Donald Trump’s War on Islam.” In addition to pointing out Trump’s pandering to Islamophobia, I wrote about his association with a number of neocons, including Frank Gaffney and John Bolton, who is now his national security adviser. “I think John Bolton’s a good man,” Trump told the Hugh Hewitt Show. 

“I watched him yesterday, actually, and he was very good in defending me in some of my views, and very, very strong. And I’ve always liked John Bolton. Well, we are thinking about it, Hugh [nominating Bolton as secretary of state]. I will say that. We are thinking about it. I mean, the negative is what I told you. But we are seriously thinking about it.”

That didn’t fly because Congress would never vote to approve Bolton, same as they wouldn’t approve his nomination as ambassador to the United Nations during the reign of Bush. Instead, he assumed the role of national security adviser, a position that doesn’t require congressional approval.
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The Right to 100 Percent Security?


The basic fault in the Bush Doctrine and in Norman Podhoretz’s praise of it is that they both assume a state’s or people’s right to perfect security or 100 percent safety. This is impossible, because not everyone can simultaneously have such a right and still remain free.

To get 100 percent security, a state has to defeat and control its neighbors and eventually every last one of them. Even then, it won’t be 100 percent secure until it controls every rebellious element under its flag.

Extremism in defense of 100 percent security is a vice: wicked and immoral behavior. Such extremism stems from an erroneous moral philosophy in which one does not allow equal freedom to one’s neighbors, but instead one exercises power over them in the name of one’s own false conception of one’s right.

As an important example of this thinking and how it can lead to war, consider Israel and Iran. Trump and Pompeo have both made statements that support the neoconservative position of Norman Podhoretz. His position and theirs contain the flaw of making extreme demands for the extreme security of Israel that cannot be met without making war against Iran and suppressing their rights.
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The Neocons Are Selling Koolaid Again!

In 2004 I published an article in the journal, Middle East Policy that was entitled “Drinking the Koolaid.” The article reviewed the process by which the neocon element in the Bush Administration seized control of the process of policy formation and drove the United States in the direction of invasion of Iraq and the destruction of the apparatus of the Iraqi state. They did this through manipulation of the collective mental image Americans had of Iraq and the supposed menace posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Not all the people who participated in this process were neocon in their allegiance but there were enough of them in the Bush Administration to dominate the process. Neoconism as it has evolved in American politics is a close approximation of the imperialist political faction that existed in the time of President William McKinley and the Spanish-American War. Barbara Tuchman described this faction well in “The Proud Tower.”
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Bombing Syria: Trump Earns His Neocon Gold Star

It’s official. Donald Trump is now a full-blown neocon.

This was obvious even before he appointed the war criminal John Bolton to be his senior advisor. In fact, as predicted before he was elected, it was inevitable he would join the neocon club, although most neocons dislike him, just like the establishment dislikes him, not because he won’t follow instructions, but because he’s an interloper, an outlier, somebody who didn’t come up through the ranks, never mind he’s moving the agenda forward.

Trump earned his gold star on Friday night. He violated the Constitution, didn’t bother with the United Nations, and bombed Syria based on a lie. That’s pure neocon.

However, after the dust settled, it was apparent his multi-million dollar bombing raid didn’t really accomplish much.

John McCain was appreciative, but said Trump needs to do much more—not only in Syria, but in the entire region.
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Memo to Lindsey Graham on Syria

Senator Graham:

Your recent views on Syria, expressed here, are mistaken and confused.
If we withdrew our troops anytime soon ISIS would come back…
This prediction is mistaken. If ISIS reconstitutes, the Syrian coalition (Syria, Syrian Kurds, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia) will defeat it again. Remember, “ISIS has suffered consecutive defeats at the hands of separate but simultaneous offensives in Iraq and Syria by the Russian-backed Syrian forces and allied militias as well as US-backed Iraqi and Syrian fighters.”
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Meaningless Words Alert: Neoconservatives are Now 'Classical Liberals

The term "classical liberal" always has been a misnomer, in that it presupposes an earlier or undiluted form of liberalism that must be distinguished semantically and temporally. and  But the great historian Ralph Raico disabused us of this empty distinction in his great book Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School:
There was no ‘classical’ liberalism, only a single liberalism, based on private property and the free market, that developed organically, from first to last. Liberalism . . . is based on the conception of civil society as by and large self-regulating when its members are free to act within the very wide bounds of their individual rights. Among these, the right to private property, including freedom of contract and exchange and the free disposition of one’s own labor, is given a high priority. Historically, liberalism has manifested a hostility to state action, which, it insists, should be reduced to a minimum.
But today we find, in the grand Orwellian tradition of meaningless words, arch neoconservative Jennifer Rubin has declared herself a "classical liberal."
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Rex Tillerson: Neocon

In case it is not clear, the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is a neocon. Strong evidence of this unfortunate fact is his speech on January 17, 2018 at Stanford’s Hoover Institute. After warmly acknowledging his debt to Dr. Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz, Tillerson goes into his “Remarks on the Way Forward for the United States Regarding Syria.”

What do we hear? “…it is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, and assist the Syrian people as they chart a course to achieve a new political future.” He wants the US to stay in Syria indefinitely, its purposes being to defend the American nation, to cause the war to end, and to create a new government/state in Syria.
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