Competing Visions in American Politics: Obama versus McCain
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
Part One: Introduction
Many Muslims ask whether there are any real choices in the 2008 presidential election. The head of NAMAW (National Association of Muslim American Women), Anisa ‘Abd el Fatah, writes, “Both Hillary and Barak said they will unilaterally attack Iran, and Pakistan, and I am convinced that the Dem ticket will be Obama/Hillary or vice versa.. Are they better or worse than McCain? Muslim leaders need to meet to set criteria for endorsement, and also a list of political priorities.”
Among the two surviving Democrats it may be a toss-up. Hillary is tough as nails and would ride roughshod over opposition, perhaps to the extent even of re-investigating 9/11, whereas Barak Obama likes to avoid confrontation. On the other hand, Obama really has vision for the future and may act to change the very paradigms that control the policy agendas, which, in turn, control policy. Hillary may be too concerned with acquiring and maintaining power to risk any fundamental change, though she has to advocate change, since the majority of Americans want anything other than continuation of the status quo.
Among the two surviving Republicans, John McCain and Mike Huckabee, there is a world of difference. The difference between McCain and Huckabee as well as the major difference between McCain and the Democrats is that McCain is the quintessential NeoCon and the others are not. McCain was a NeoCon leader before 9/11, whereas Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld opposed the NeoCons until 9/11, which gave the NeoCons the golden opportunity finally to take over the White House.
From a lifetime of working both with and against the NeoCons, beginning several decades before any but the real insiders had ever heard of the Neo-Conservative strategy for global conquest, my assessment is that John McCain as president would make the Bush catastrophe look like a mere blip in time. Back in 2003, when the media first started talking about the NeoCons and almost nobody had ever heard of them, I wrote several long articles about them, based in part on my book, Shaping the Future: Challenge and Response, which was published in 1997. Daniel Pipes threatened to sue me if I ever again publicly implicated him as a NeoCon leader, as I did in this book, but I had sufficient proof of his role almost twenty years ago to deter him from embarrassing himself further.
One of my articles on the NeoCons, among those posted in http://www.theamericanmuslim.org shortly after the attack on Iraq, is entitled, “The Neo-Conservative Alliance: A Constellation of Competing Paradigms.” This may be found in TAM’s internal search engine under the entry, Crane, May 2, 2003, and is reproduced as part two of the present article. The key paragraph for comparing presidential candidates today is the following: “The principal leader of neo-conservatism at the time [the Year 2000] was William Kristol, who edited the openly imperialist journal, The Weekly Standard. Kristol’s journal supported Bush’s principal rival in the 2000 primaries, Senator John McCain. As a result, until 9/11, Karl Rove and company consigned the neo-conservatives to an outer limbo in Washington. Although they had some “sleepers” in the Pentagon [Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Doug Feith], the neo-cons had virtually no access to the White House”.
This essential background, which, to my knowledge, no-one in the media has brought out during the current election campaigning, shows that the undoubtedly honest, bold, and committed American patriot, John McCain, is a dire threat to America precisely because he conceives that his commitment to global conquest on behalf of America makes himself the most patriotic of all the candidates.
If Muslims could ever agree on criteria for endorsement and a list of priorities, I would suggest one single criterion for endorsement. This is the commitment to change the American and global foreign policy paradigm from peace through power to peace, productivity, and freedom only through compassionate justice. The priorities in pursuing such a global mission are spelled out in the platform of the American Revolutionary Party, of which I was one of the two drafters. This can be found through any of the major search engines.
Here in Virginia, we go to vote in the presidential primary day after tomorrow. As a life-time Republican, I will vote for Mike Huckabee in order to register a protest vote against McCain and because he could be good president. In the fall election I will vote for Barak Obama. My party has been hijacked, and I see no chance of freeing it from the NeoCons during the near future. The NeoCons have also hijacked my country, and Obama may be the only one who can restore it toward the vision of America’s Founders as a moral model for the world.
The Neo-Conservative Alliance:
A Constellation of Competing Paradigms
The proud proclamation of a global Pax America for the twenty-first century was caused by the conjunction of three paradigmatic forces that had been developing for many decades in Washington’s foreign policy think-tanks and among the boards and program officers of their supporting charitable foundations. The history of the foreign policy establishment represented by the Council of Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute, and such international gatherings as the annual Bilderberg conferences has been analyzed at length in scholarly publications, as has also the history of how evangelical Protestantism began to focus on the single issue of Christian Zionism. Less well known is the history of the ideological movement, known variously as secular fundamentalism and “NeoConservatism,” which after 9/11 has exploited and attempted to capture the first two.
Foreign policy in America is formed largely by intellectual leaders who migrate regularly within the troika of academia, think-tanks, and government. Unlike the shapers of domestic policy, these intellectual leaders influence policy primarily by shaping ideological paradigms of thought and are little influenced by domestic special interests. Multinational oil and construction giants as well as lobbyists for Israeli interests operate within the framework, constraints, and guidance of these competing paradigms.
The traumatic event of 9/11 made it possible for the leaders of three such paradigms for the first time to ally in support of a single foreign policy. These three are; the permanent bi-partisan foreign policy establishment, typified by the scion of the status quo, Henry Kissinger; the Christian evangelical movement, as represented by the millenarian Pat Robertson; and the neo-conservative revolutionaries, proto-typified by the father and son duo, Irving and William Kristol. The single foreign policy on which all agree as an ultimate goal is the institution of a Pax America through bold policies of unilateral, military pre-emption.
America’s best friends all over the world are mystified how such a policy could emanate from a country that started out with a commitment to moral leadership and an equal commitment to avoid entangling alliances that might compromise it. None can believe that the attack on America’s leading symbols of economic and military power on September 11, 2001, could produce such an unprecedented new foreign policy. The answer is that this unique event precipitated but did not cause the revolution toward unilateralism at the expense of America’s half-century of global leadership in international cooperation under the rule of law.
The proud proclamation of a global Pax America for the twenty-first century was caused by the conjunction of three paradigmatic forces that had been developing for many decades in Washington’s foreign policy think-tanks and among the boards and program officers of their supporting charitable foundations. The history of the foreign policy establishment represented by the Council of Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute, and such international gatherings as the annual Bilderberg conferences has been analyzed at length in scholarly publications, as has also the history of how evangelical Protestantism began to focus on the single issue of Christian Zionism.
Less well known except by two generations of paleo-conservative warriors against it is the history of neo-conservatism, which is the subject of this essay.
The Origins of Neo-Conservatism
One of the issues that has emerged among students of the presidency is whether the current President George W. Bush directs the unique paradigmatic alliance in post-911 American governance or is led by it.
The first two of the three formerly competing paradigms were well-known to George W. Bush long before he became president. The most well-established of the three are the pursuit of stability through a global balance of power as a means of civilizational survival, which dominated for almost half a century during the Cold War from 1947 to 1990. President Bush was well briefed on the first paradigm by his father and by two of its intellectual leaders, Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney, whom he subsequently appointed to key positions of power.
The second paradigm, influential for the first time in the White House, is the millenarian mission of the 30,000,000 or so radical Protestants in the United States who support Israel as a means to accelerate the return of the Messiah. George W. Bush was already familiar with the evangelical movement and its pro-Zionist policies long before he became a student of foreign policy, and, in fact, reportedly gave talks on more than one occasion to its supporters. This movement originated more than 130 years ago in the form of Christian Zionism, but did not affect foreign policy until the so-called religious right decided to go into politics as an organized movement in the early 1970s.
The most important of the three paradigmatic movements after 9/11, neo-conservatism, originated only a few years earlier during the late 1960s in the rise within foreign policy circles of what might be termed a fundamentalist version of the older movement known as secular humanism. There is no reason to believe that President Bush favored or even knew anything about neo-conservatism until the election campaign of 2000. The principal leader of neo-conservatism at the time was William Kristol, who edited the openly imperialist journal, The Weekly Standard. Kristol’s journal supported Bush’s principal rival in the 2000 primaries, Senator John McCain. As a result, until 9/11, Karl Rove and company consigned the neo-conservatives to an outer limbo in Washington. Although they had some “sleepers” in the Pentagon, the neo-cons had virtually no access to the White House.
The popular press, to the extent that it permits any transparency at all on the subject, oversimplifies the origins and nature of the neo-conservative movement by branding them simply as Zionist or pro-Zionist and as originating as a product of the Reagan Revolution in the 1980s. In fact, the neo-conservative founders were mainly Jewish but for reasons unrelated to Zionism. And the originating era was the real conservative revolution that gained political power after Ronald Reagan’s famous speech during the run-up to the elections of 1964, when the hopes of Barry Goldwater flamed out and a new leader emerged in competition with the centrist, Richard Nixon.
The appellation “neo-conservative” was invented by liberal leftists to attack two of their own, the neo-conservative god-fathers, Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, who are founders of the movement’s principal publications, now represented by the two flagship publications, the Weekly Standard and Commentary. They committed treason against the liberal establishment by attacking both Lyndon Johnson’s welfare economics as ineffective in his “war against poverty” and the strategy of compromise rather than victory as self-defeating in Vietnam. They were refugees from the McGovern Revolution. Irving Kristol once joked that a neo-conservative is a liberal mugged by reality.
Although their congressional heroes were the two Democratic senators, Pat Moynihan in domestic policy and Henry “Scoop” Jackson in military strategy, these founding neo-cons openly shifted party alliances by joining the Republicans, despite their total opposition to the philosophical bases of what became the Reagan Revolution. They were welcomed by the three principal conservative think-tanks at the time. These in chronological order of founding were the domestic-oriented American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, founded in 1943 and governed until his death three decades later by the Lebanese Bill Baroody (the Big Barood); America’s second foreign policy think-tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which was spun off from the AEI by Dave Abshire in 1962 shortly before the Cuban Missile Crisis; and the Heritage Foundation, founded in 1973 by Edward Feulner, who at the time was the Administrative Assistant of Congressman Philip M. Crane, who now heads the Republican Caucus as the longest serving Republican in the U.S. House of representatives.
Under the neo-cons’ dynamic influence, these once paleo-conservative centers soon transmuted into bastions of neo-conservative thought and action in Washington, as did eventually the supporting conservative foundations. The last foreign policy think-tank to come under the sway of the neo-conservatives, and the first one in date of founding (1955), was Robert Strausz Hupe’s Foreign Policy Research Institute. At the beginning of 1990, Daniel Pipes became the FPRI’s sole Director, replacing the classical Middle East scholar, Frederick M. Binder. The last conservative foundation to hold out on behalf of paleo-conservatism was the Earhart Foundation, which went the way of all the others when its long-serving Program Director, Tony Sullivan, quit in the year 2001.
This breakaway movement from the Democratic Party at the beginning of the Nixon Administration was in no small measure responsible for the future success of the Republican Party to the extent that some observers now are even speaking of Republicans as the permanent party of the future.
The neo-conservatives were the very opposite of traditional conservatism, which builds on respect for the past wisdom of America’s Whig founders. The paleo-conservative paradigm emphasized a reinforcing balance of order, justice, and freedom, based on recognition of the flaws in human nature and the dangers of utopian ventures in either domestic or foreign policy.
The neo-cons, on the other hand, are virulently anti-establishment, and hence basically hostile also to the Kissingerian pursuit of a permanent status quo. Neo-conservatism was conceived in reaction against the moral relativism of the Sixties, represented by the “new age” openness to all cultures, and against Kissinger’s pursuit of a value-free alliance of “moral equivalence” in a condominium of Soviet and American power to stabilize the world. The neo-cons preferred moral clarity, though not religious dogma, in opposition to diplomatic finesse. They were skeptical of old alliances and multilateral institutions, and preferred the unhindered pursuit of America’s destiny to shape a new world of its own making.
The Mentors of Neo-Conservatism
The three seminal mentors of all modern neo-conservatives are Albert Wohlstetter in military strategy, originally from the U.S. Air Force’s captive think tank, The RAND Corporation; Leo Strauss in paradigmatic philosophy, who brought a European version of conservatism to the University of Chicago from Germany; and Robert Strausz-Hupe, who brought long-range global vision from Austria to America’s first foreign policy think tank, originally based at the University of Pennsylvania.
Wohlstetter opposed détente with the Soviet Union, even the very thought of disarmament, and pioneered, together with Herman Kahn, a fellow RANDian who founded the Hudson Institute in 1961, a sophisticated nuclear doctrine of escalation dominance to legitimate the use of nuclear weapons, especially preemptively in tactical warfare against the enemies of America. Instead of the paralyzing strategy of arms control through Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) among equals, Wohlstetter favored preparation for limited wars, both locally and globally, based on building unrivaled technological superiority and new generations of “smart” high-precision weapons capable of disrupting the enemy’s tactical command and control. This strategy, which Wohlstetter and Kahn promoted perhaps ahead of its time in the 1960s, was the inspiration for President Reagan’s Star Wars initiative in the 1980’s and is precisely what their disciples under Donald Rumsfeld, who started his political career in 1962 at the age of 29 in the House Science and Astronautics Committee, are trying to apply in the Pentagon today.
The neo-conservatives’ principal political mentor, Scoop Jackson, was a student of Wohlstetter, as was perhaps the principal neo-conservative policy-maker in Washington today, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, whom Wohlstetter mentored during Wolfowitz’ doctoral studies at the University of California in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Fully half of the leading neo-conservatives in Washington today, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, and Elliot Abrams, worked on the Hill for Scoop Jackson. The depth and breadth of the neo-con old-boy’s network is shown by the fact that in 1985 Wohlstetter introduced to Perle the “man with the inside track” in the Pentagon for support in governing Iraq, Ahmed Chalabi.
The grand old man of the neo-conservative grand strategy, for whom Wohlstetter was relatively only a tactician, was the social philosopher, Leo Strauss. Born in 1899 in Germany, he was deeply influenced by the Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933 from the Weimar Republic, which Strauss asserted “presented the spectacle of justice without power, or of a justice incapable of resorting to power.” The Straussians, based in his Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, laid the foundation for the neo-conservatives’ near paranoia about the threat of universal chaos and for their conviction that peace is possible only by proactive projection of force to preempt the very possibility of attacks on America’s vital interests.
Strauss’s influence on neo-conservatism and its influence today is perhaps best shown by the impact on President Bush in March, 2001, before 9/11, by the former Israeli military man, Robert D. Kaplan, who briefed President Bush on his book, The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War. Kaplan presented his thesis that the world faces a “Lord of the Flies meltdown,” that America’s dominance is tenuous, and that “the most important moral commitment for America is to preserve its power.”
Kaplan’s subsequent book, Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos, was required reading in the higher circles of Washington policymaking leading up to the attack on Iraq in March, 2003. Kaplan’s basic message is that, “Our moral values … represent our worst vulnerabilities,” and that the only realistic grand strategy for America after 9/11 is to follow the enduring relevance of ancient principles represented by the great empires of antiquity. The new element in the world after 9/11, according to Kaplan, is that barbarians have exploited a global ideology – Islam - to recruit “holy warriors” and allies in a global war that has now struck at the heart of the empire. The only adequate counter-strategy is to remake the map of the Middle East, and indeed of the world, not geographically but through regime change in order to eliminate the ideological infrastructure of terrorism.
This is right out of Leo Strauss’s playbook, though Strauss was a master of the classical philosophy of the ancients and not a military strategist. Strauss saw an inherent tension between liberalism, which can lead to relativism, and the active defense of democracy by bold measures against forces that do not share American values. Although he was an atheist Jew, Strauss emphasized the necessity of superiority in principles, even if this required the ministrations of religion to maintain the solidarity of the populace. He taught that the key to pro-active democracy against its enemies is the “superiority of the regime,” by which the younger or second-generation Straussians understand a quasi-religious exaltation of American values worldwide against the threat of both state and sub-state tyrannies of thought and action.
This new interpretation of Strauss’s basic concepts can embody utopian messianism on a par with that of modern Evangelicals. Both the first and second-generation followers of Leo Strauss call for the rule of law in the world but only after a new world order has been established by astute orchestration of America’s overwhelming military and economic power.
True to their philosophical god-father, the present-day neo-cons have had no qualms about and striking success in constructing a working alliance among establishmentarians, religious devotees, and their own revolutionary vision. This vision calls for global acceptance of their own universal paradigm under the auspices of their own planetary regime.
The Grey Eminence in the Triad
Among the three principal mentors of the neo-conservatives, perhaps the most profound was a former investment banker, Robert Strausz-Hupe, who fled Germany during the depression. He considered himself to be a principled conservative (subsequently known as a paleo-conservative) back when the only other choices were to be an American liberal, a European Social-Democrat, a Trotskyite Maoist, or a Soviet Stalinist. He was not outwardly religious, but was a deeply moral man who abhorred the reactionary conservatism that he thought played into the hands of the totalitarians of the left.
Dr. Strausz-Hupe was definitely not a neo-conservative in the sense of supporting Israel as an independent foreign policy goal or even sympathizing with secular Zionism, as distinct from the spiritual Zionism best reflected in the profound wisdom of the chief rabbi of Palestine from 1919 to 1935, Rebbe Abraham Isaac Kook.
Like all great thinkers and visionaries, Strausz-Hupe was controversial. For him all politics was moral crusade and he always knew the enemy. Communism was not a geopolitical force, as it was for Kissinger, but an evil empire. The only real power in the world for him was moral authority. He insisted that one can not exercise moral authority while denying the authority of morality.
This conceptual emphasis on basing all foreign policy on absolute truth derivitive from a transcendent source put Strausz-Hupe and Kissinger, as well as most of the present generation of neo-conservatives, at opposite ends of the metaphysical spectrum, as well as on opposite sides of the cultural warfare that has racked Euro-America and through it the entire world for more than a century.
Like Ronald Reagan, who appointed him U.S. Ambassador to Sweden in his old age, Strausz-Hupe was open to see in Zionism, as well as in Islam, both bad and good based on performance. He saw both Zionism and Islam as potential allies against Communism and in building a new world order. He did not even exclude a new civilizational force, such as a revived Islam, as the “historical center of gravity” in the twenty-first century.
The brilliance and European urbanity of Strausz-Hupe impressed every American president, and he was an honored member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Although Strausz-Hupe never attended the global strategy councils of the Bilderberg, Bohemian Grove, Renaissance Weekend, Davos, and other such groups, he was never far removed from the inner councils of the permanent foreign policy establishment. His thinking was incompatible with Kissinger’s leadership of the Bilderberg group, but he had much in common with the other principal Bilderberg leader, Under Secretary of State George Ball, who spent his entire career trying to infuse morality into American foreign policy. All three, Strausz-Hupe, Kissinger, and Ball, had as their common methodology the orchestration of global power by intellectual control of elite thought in America. They knew where real power lies in any civilization, they saw the same threats to it, and they agreed on the same basic solutions.
Strausz-Hupe was a progenitor of neo-conservatism in the sense that he first presented coherently the concept of unilateral American leadership in the world. In his seminal article, “The Balance of Tomorrow,” published at the beginning of 1957 in the first issue of his journal, Orbis: A Quarterly Journal of World Affairs, he introduced the founding paradigm of America’s first foreign policy think-tank, the Foreign Policy Research Institute. More than a third of a century before the demise of Communism and Francis Fukuyama’s paradigm of “the end of history,” Dr. Strausz-Hupe formulated what we might call the mother of all imperialist paradigms. He forecast not only that Communism was doomed to failure and extinction but that democracy would succeed it as the world-ordering principle if the United States were prepared to seize the opportunity.
Strausz-Hupe’s paradigm was known as a forward strategy to win the protracted conflict against the forces of chaos. The following are quotes from his seminal articulation of this paradigm in his founding think-piece, “The Balance of Tomorrow”:
“The issue before the United States is the unification of the globe under its leadership within this generation. How effectively and rapidly the United States will accomplish this task will determine the survival of the United States as a leading power, probably the survival of Western culture, and conceivably the survival of mankind.
“This task must be accomplished within the near future because of two overriding considerations: 1) the political emergence of the Asian peoples, together with their tremendous population growth, is altering profoundly the international and regional balance of power and presages regional and international conflicts and war; and 2) within the foreseeable future, a number of nations, other than the United States, the Soviet Union, and Britain, will acquire nuclear weapons and other means of mass destruction.
“There are many and convincing reasons why this earth should be politically one. But these reasons, namely, the explosive forces on the loose in Asia and the implications of a multiple balance of nuclear power, are sufficient to necessitate the establishment of unitary world rule. The collapse of ancient empires, the rise of population pressure, the disintegration of old cultures, and shifts in balance-of-power attended by radical changes in weapons techniques have always been followed by revolution and war. There is no reason to believe that the contemporary statecraft has succeeded in ‘flattening out’ the great cycles of history. By the same token, upon all revolutionary ages followed the establishment of a universal order in the image and under the domination of one power. The establishment of such a universal order has become now the sole alternative to anarchy and the destruction of what man has wrought since his ancestors left their caves. The one and only question therefore is who will be the people that will establish the universal order in their image and under their domination. …
“Nationalism is the greatest retrogressive force of this century. … In our times, nationalism is restrained neither by liberal constitutions nor by concern for the common interests of mankind. It is checked only by superior political power; it has become the school of violence and dictatorship. It is narrowly parochial; it negates the promises and requirements of modern technology; it impedes the exchanges of goods and ideas and thus stunts economic and cultural growth.
“While international pacts and charters pay homage to the idea of national sovereignty – that absolute of political absolutes – national independence has never been as much at the mercy of supranational forces as it is now. The idea of the equality of all national sovereignties, yesterday only a pious fiction politely sustained by diplomatic custom, today has been transformed into a dangerous tool of political warfare. It serves, in the international power struggle, as a screen for political and ideological penetration and subversion of first, the domestic, and then, the international order. … Yet this hallucination does rule the conduct of the United Nations Assembly and, albeit with a different twist, the deliberations of U.S. policy.
“The history of the last twenty years should be viewed as a series of conflicts of federative power. Both Germany and Japan attempted to create regional federations, the one a system of ideologically coordinated dictatorships in Europe, the other a ‘co-prosperity zone’ of nationalist and ‘anti-colonial’ dictatorships in Asia. Neither possessed the means required for the task because each launched it from a base – the German and the Japanese nation state – that was too narrow. Each dishonored the term federation by baseness of motive and monstrosity of conduct. Neither was able to contrive that semblance of a community-of-interest without which any federative effort is doomed from the start. Each had to revert to the use of naked power in order to keep the system from falling apart. Yet their functional conceptions were in complete harmony with historical necessity: the making of regional systems encompassing a number of states. The various organizations, for example, of European economic integration, do not differ greatly in functional design from those planned by Nazi Germany. Undoubtedly, the “take” of Nazi Germany would have been exorbitant – at least in the beginning. But the Nazi planners had a perfectly reasonable understanding of the economic interdependence of Europe and the economic and technological inadequacy of the nation state.
“The defeat of Germany and Japan and the decline of Britain and France not only close the epoch of the nation state as a viable unit of world politics but also furnish proof that the nation state cannot transcend itself. It cannot step across its own shadow and raise itself to the plateau of federative power. …
“The United States now meets with historical necessity. The United States remains as the sole holder of federative power. The one question to be answered is: will the United States do what must be done? …
“The United States is uniquely fitted for leadership in global unification. The immense military power of the United States is, of course, the first and indispensable attribute of leadership. …
“Will the coming world order be the American Universal empire? It must be that – to the extent that it will bear the stamp of the American spirit. Since the American spirit is that of an open society – open to all men and all cultures – and since the political genius of America is the federative idea, the distinction between rulers and ruled will fade into a continuous process of assimilation. The coming world order will mark the last phase in a historical transition and cap the revolutionary epoch of this century. The mission of the American people is to bury the nation states, lead their bereaved peoples into larger unions, and overawe with its might the would-be saboteurs of the new world order who have nothing to offer mankind but putrefying ideology and brute force.
“It is likely that the accomplishments of this mission will exhaust the energies of America and that the historical center of gravity will shift to another people. But this will matter little, for the opening of new horizons which we now faintly glimpse will usher in a new stage in human history; man will have found in cosmic ventures an equivalent for war. Man may destroy himself but then he will do so by means other than war. This part of the human story is still mercifully veiled to anyone now living. For the next fifty years or so the future belongs to America. The American empire and mankind will not be opposites but merely two names for the universal order under peace and happiness. Novus orbis terrarum.”
This almost forgotten formulation of the mother of all imperialist paradigms became part of the neo-conservative movement when Daniel Pipes revived it in the Winter 1991-1992 issue of Orbis, which was mailed on January 3, 1992. Daniel Pipes disclaims responsibility for co-opting Strausz-Hupe into the neo-conservative movement by re-publishing Strausz-Hupe’s founding formulation. In 1997, he charged me with the legal responsibility to delete all references in any future editions of my book, Shaping the Future: Challenge and Response, to any role by him in popularizing the role of Strausz-Hupe as a neo-conservative mentor.
Nevertheless, having moved up, as listed in the Spring 1990 issue of Orbis, from Vice-President and Director of the sponsoring organization, the FPRI, replacing the president, Frederick M. Binder, Daniel Pipes was not uninformed about the publication of Strausz-Hupe’s piece. Dr. Pipes objects that Patrick Clawson had replaced him as editor of Orbis a year before the Winter 1991-1992 issue, namely, in the issue of 1990-1991, distributed in February, 1991. But, Patrick Clawson has always been a loyal follower of Daniel Pipes and followed his mentor later to the journal, Middle East Quarterly, where Pipes became the Editor and Clawson his Senior Editor.
Furthermore, Dr. Pipes objects that in the Winter 1992 issue he is no longer listed as Managing Editor but as Book Review Editor. As such, however, he is included in the signature of the issue’s remarkable editorial, signed “The Editors.” Joining him in the journal’s Board of Advisers for this issue are Martin Indyk, a well-known Zionist stalwart who later became Assistant Secretary of State, Samuel P. Huntington, who at that time postulated that Islam is the arch enemy of Western civilization, and Bernard Lewis, who had become famous as the scholar who attributed the dynamics of Islam to “rage” and prepared the way psychologically in May, 1990, for the confrontation between Iraq and the United States three months later in the build-up to the Second Gulf War (the first being the Iraqi attack on Iran).
This editorial in the Winter 1992 issue of Orbis, entitled “Foreign Policy Research Institute: Seeking a New World,” states that most issues of Orbis do not represent the institutional views of its governing body, the FPRI, but that this special issue is to serve in the nature of a “house organ” “in order to give our readers a flavor of the research being done at our sponsoring institution.” The editorial adds, “Robert Strausz-Hupe wrote in this introductory essay that Americans were just then assuming the leadership of a new universal empire. … The research done at the FPRI and elsewhere continues to testify to the perceptiveness of Strausz-Hupe’s vision, and the soundness of his policies.”
Furthermore, rather ominously, the editorial lauds the “forward strategy” of Strausz-Hupe in what he called the “protracted conflict” against the USSR and, referring to another article in the same issue of the journal, states that, “the USSR is not the last of America’s totalitarian enemies; he [the author] recommends that the same forward strategy used successfully against Moscow now be used elsewhere.”
The meaning of this veiled threat was detailed three years later by House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, who in the year 2003 has emerged as a leading neo-conservative extremist. On February 8, 1995, at a conference of military and intelligence officers on developing global strategy, Speaker Gingrich announced, “I have yet to see a coherent strategy for fighting Islamic totalitarianism.”
This neo-conservative attack on Islam as a religion reverses the normal distinction between Islam as a peaceful religion and Muslims as occasional totalitarian extremists. To attack the religion, as distinct from its misled followers, is a technique of mimetic warfare to control the terminology of public debate by introducing mimes or words as symbolic shorthand for entire visions, paradigms, and accompanying strategies.
The purpose of such disinformation is to revive the concept of protracted conflict between the old forces of the “totalitarian” Evil Empire or Axis of Evil and the white knights of the “free world” fighting for “freedom and democracy.” The emotive word “totalitarian” becomes an instrument of thought control designed to escalate the battle against terrorism to the ideological level of grand strategy, because totalitarianism was the major global threat to Western civilization for most of the twentieth century.
The danger of such a self-fulfilling prophecy and action in accord with it is that Islam might no longer be able to function as an ally of America against fascism and every kind of tyranny, as both President Nixon and Strausz Hupe envisioned it, but, by association with the term “totalitarian,” must become an inexorable and mortal enemy.
By the mere turn of a phrase, Islam becomes not merely a religion that occasionally has been distorted to produce both private and state-sponsored terrorism, but a generic monster that must be fought wherever it raises its ugly head, because “Islamic totalitarianism” by definition threatens the survival of the free world.
This simple turn of terminology serves to short-circuit thought so that operational doctrine and specific military plans no longer have to be based on knowledge. The thinking has already been done and encapsulated in the new language, where symbolism becomes an unchallengable reality. And by a process of self-fulfilling prophecy, the potential danger becomes real and thereby triggers a spiraling confrontation of action and reaction with the zero-sum result of universal chaos.
The intended result of such mimetic warfare is the formation of an alliance among the formerly competing paradigms of status quo establishmentarianism, messianic evangelism, and neo-conservatism, all focused on the institution of a Pax America through bold policies of unilateral, military preemption.
Those friends of America who are dumbfounded by what they see happening both within America and within America’s foreign policy need look no farther for answers than the history of neo-conservatism. This remarkable departure from the vision of America’s founders did not begin with the attack on America in September, 2001, but dates back many decades either directly or indirectly to its co-founding by acknowledged mentors, all of them perhaps more profound and wiser than most of their acolytes today.
Fast Forward to 2008
The NeoCon line has been dutifully and earnestly presented most clearly by Senator John McCain throughout the Iraq debacle, and was updated in January, 2008, as shown through the following simple quotes:
January 2003: “But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” [MSNBC, 1/22/03]
March 2003: “I believe that this conflict is still going to be relatively short.” [NBC, Meet the Press, 3/30/03]
June 2004: “The terrorists know that this is a very critical time.” [CNN, 6/23/04]
December 2005: “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have a fair amount of progress [in Iraq] if we stay the course.” [The Hill, 12/8/05]
November 2006: “We’re either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months.” [NBC, Meet the Press, 11/12/06]
McCain’s Vision for the Future:
McCain: “[M]ake it a hundred” years in Iraq and “that would be fine with me.” [Derry, New Hampshire Town Hall meeting, 1/3/08]
McCain on how long troops may remain in Iraq: “A thousand years. A million years. Ten million years. It depends on the arrangement we have with the Iraqi government.” [Associated Press, 1/04/08]