Archive for September, 2009

UKRAINE NEEDS SECURITY GUARANTEES

September 29, 2009

The attempts by Russia to influence Ukrainian politics are gradually growing in 2009 as the presidential elections in Europe’s second largest country. The latest disinformation campaign orchestrated by Moscow involves the poisoning of President Yushchenko in 2004. The leader of the pro-Russian Party of the Region, Viktor Yanukovych has long claimed that the poisoning of the president was concocted and that the United States played an important role in the “hoax”. This time has been resurrected in 2009.

With the new bill on the use of Russian Armed Forces outside Russia it seems clear that the Kremlin does not rule out the possibility of using force when it comes to Ukraine. Also President Medvedev of Russia has stated (on August 11, 2009) that Moscow will cooperate only with the kind of Ukrainian government that will show a loyal attitude to the Kremlin.

As a result of growing pressures leading Ukrainian personalities in the Ukrainian sphere have written an open letter to the signatories of the Budapest Memorandum on December 5, 2004, to give a signal to Ukrainian society that dangers to the country are growing.

Recently the Ukrainian daily The Day in an article (“Foreign Challenges, Domestic Risks”, September 22, 2009) published statements by one of the initiators of the letter mentioned above, Taras Stetskiv:

“December 5 will mark the 15th anniversary of the Budapest Memorandum. It was signed in 1994 by five countries – the US, UK, Russia, and later, China and France. In return for Ukraine’s nuclear free status, the signatories undertook to guarantee its national security. This date, December 5, is a certain landmark when we stop and think what the Budapest Memorandum is worth 15 years after it was signed. Does this instrument provide any substantial guarantee of Ukraine’s independence? The key message contained in the letter to the guarantor countries was the proposal to convene an international conference and discuss the alternatives to the Budapest Memorandum, since its ineffectiveness is clearly apparent.

Regarding our expectations, the message in question was sent to the guarantor countries through their embassies. A separate message will be forwarded to the European Commission, the Visegrad Group, and Sweden, which now hold presidency in the European Commission. This is a call for discussion and we count on launching a dialog aimed at holding this international conference.”

One can only hope that Sweden uses its influence as holder of the presidency of the EU to support an international conference to offer Ukraine security guarantees.

Ukraine clearly needs a formulated strategy for protecting its national interest in view of the growing anti-Ukrainian measures by the Kremlin. Russia obviously believes that the present situation in Ukraine offers an opportunity to bring it back into its imperial sphere. One must also remember the earlier statement of Prime Minister Putin that Ukraine is not a state but some kind of artificial entity.

Mr. Stetskiv, rightly, also called for an information campaign in Ukraine by the next president of the country informing the general public on NATO and the EU as a viable alternative to for instance Ukrainian neutrality. This is greatly needed to counter the Soviet era propaganda cliché used by Russia to portray NATO as an aggressor.

STRIKING IRAN – NOW OR LATER AND HOW

September 27, 2009

The revelation in public of a second uranium-enrichment facility has once again put an Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear program on the table. On September 20, Wall Street Journal published a lengthy article on the subject by Professor Anthony H. Cordesman. He holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS in the United States. Cordesman is also a recipient of the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal and an expert on Middle Eastern affairs.

The problem for Israel is distance to Iran. The targets are from 950 to 1,400 miles away. That is the far margin for Israel’s fighters. It would have been much easier if the Israeli Air force had long-range bombers. An attack can only delay the nuclear buildup of Iran as the regime of the mullahs have had much time to strengthen the target sites. In addition there is no support from the Obama administration to take out the facilities. It might not, however, stop Israel.

The targets of choice are the centrifuge facilities at Natanz, the light water nuclear power reactor near Bushehr and the heavy water reactor at Arak. The last mentioned reactor is partially sheltered. Bushehr is on the southwestern coast of Iran in the Gulf. It is not yet operational but could be fueled late this year. Natanz is underground and heavily sheltered. It is defended by Russian TOR-M surface-to-air missiles. The estimate is that Natanz could produce enough low enriched uranium for building two fission nuclear weapons.

In 2003 Israel demonstrated its capability by flying three F-15 jets to Poland which is around 1,600 miles away. It should be added that the Israeli Air Force has refueling tankers.

According to Professor Cordesman there are two critical problems. Can Natanz be destroyed and wouldn’t it be necessary to hit far more targets over a much larger area? There could also be covertly built facilities. Long-range missile sites would probably have to be targets (around several dozens) as well.

A further problem is to destroy the full range of Iranian nuclear installations there would have to be more striks than three. Installations could be many at a large number of facilities, too many for the Israelis to do the full job. Only the United States has that capability. It is, however, doubtful if the Arab Gulf states would allow the United States to use bases on their soil for massive strikes and follow-on strikes. While Iran is continuing to build up its military nuclear capability Irael is also moving forward. The range-payload of its nuclear-armed missiles is growing and there is development of sea-based nuclear-armed cruise missiles for the submarines in the Israeli Navy.

By provoking its Arab neighbors and Turkey Iran might well create an existential threat against itself. Turkey would easily be able to produce nuclear weapons. In the end it might not only be Israel that is preparing to stop the Iranian’s nuclear bombs.

Eastern Europe has after the betrayal of the Obama administration on anti-missile defense become much more vulnerable to Iran’s nuclear missiles. The number of states that might support an Israeli strike is growing.

Finally, as a comment on the analysis of Professor Cordesman, ancient Persian statecraft and military strategy can provide information on present Iranian military strategy. The basic text is The Shahnameh. Deception has always been an important tool for the Persians. It has been used extensively during the last ten years by Tehran. Certain aspects of ancient Persian thinking are similar to ancient Chinese strategy on how the inferior can defeat the superior. Surprise Persian techniques was historically important. Parthians, for instance, employed cavalry archers to attack their opponents quickly and unexpectedly. Swarming hit-and-run tactics is an important part of the technique used by the present day Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Especially interesting is that Iran in its search for nuclear weapons (and probably other high-tech weapons) pursues a line similar to the Chinese so called “assassin’s mace” weapons. To defeat a superior enemy like the United States China would, in this line of thinking, have to acquire a range of sophisticated weapons which the PLA can use in surprise attacks. A special field of the Chinese in assymmetric war is information warfare and destruction of enemy satellites in space.

For more on ancient Persian warfare thinking see the recently released book Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces (2009) by Steven Ward.

THE TERRORIST THREAT IN EUROPE

September 26, 2009

Washington Times/AP on September 26 reported that Osama bin Laden in an audiotape on the day before warned that Al Qaeda had plans to retaliate against European states that were allies of the United States in Afghanistan.

“The al Qaeda leader denounced NATO air strikes in Afghanistan that have killed civilians and warned that European countries would be held accountable alongside the Americans unless they withdraw from the country.

“A wise person would not waste his sons and money for a gang of criminals in Washington. … In summary, we are not asking too much or an invalid demand, but it would be fair that you lift your oppression and withdraw your troops,” bin Laden said, addressing the Europeans.”

The tape was just five minutes long. The reason for the broadcast may be a hope to influence the German election coming Sunday. Bin Laden predicted that American forces would pull out of Afghanistan and abandon its European allies.

The authenticity of the tape has not been confirmed but the voice resembled the voice on other bin Laden tapes. This is the third message of the jihadist Muslim terrorist leader over the past week.

When Nazis and Soviets threatened the West in the 20th century many leading leftists ignored the threats as just threats. There was no real danger, they claimed and after all was not Hitler on the same side as Stalin. Finally Hitler attacked Poland and started the Second World War. 9/11 illustrated that international terrorists did not hesitate to initiate large scale attacks against what the hold as the “main enemy”, the United States. For years they had declared their intention to do so. The terrorist attacks in Spain and Great Britain prove that there is a capability for attack in Europe. In Spain the main terrorist attack influenced the electoral process. The socialists won the election and promptly withdrew the Spanish forces from Iraq. There could well be plans in 2009 to attack Germany to influence this year’s election

SWEDISH JIHADISTS BACK IN BUSINESS

September 24, 2009

In the September 28, 2009, edition The Weekly Standard reported on M-M Ghezali, the suspected terrorist freed by the United States in 2004. He had been detained during the battle of Tora Bora by Afghanistan and handed over to the American military. After intense lobbying of the Swedish prime minister Goran Persson (socialist) Ghezali was after being a prisoner at the detention facility of Guantánamo Bay freed and flown back to Sweden on the government’s private Gulfstream jet. In Sweden he achieved “rock star status”. The justice minister in Sweden’s then socialist government did not want to prosecute Ghezali in Sweden. The story of the suspected terrorist faded from the headlines.

The new non-socialist government in 2007 interceded on behalf of Safia Benauda. She had been arrested and detained by the Ethiopian military. She was accused of waging jihad in Somalia. Her mother is chairman of the Muslim Council in Sweden. After release she claimed that she had been tortured. Both Ghezali and Benauda were in the left-wing press described as two innocents who wanted to study fundamentalist Islam but they were not connected.

Now in September 2009 both were arrested in Pakistan according the military carrying US 50,000 dollars in cash, maps in which Western embassies were marked and every fundamentalist student’s best friend, an explosives belt. Thus both are again arrested on terrorism charges.

“Jan Guillou, a bestselling spy novelist…shrugged that Ghezali’s “strong political interest in Islamist activism” is understandable, considering the time he spent in an American “concentration camp.” (It is perhaps worth noting that Guillou’s record of political prognostication is rather unimpressive. He wrote a book in 1977 praising the “stable” regime of Saddam Hussein, arguing that the conditions in Abu Ghraib surpassed those in Sweden’s notoriously indulgent penal system, and predicting that by 2000 Iraq’s economy would outpace most countries in Western Europe).

This time the now non-socialist government is proceeding with great caution. Little can be done for the suspects in Pakistan and Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said that the Foreign Ministry would probably not work overtime for the terrorist suspects.

It has certainly not helped that Oussama Kassir, a Swedish citizen, was sentenced to life in prison for attempting to set up an al Qaeda training camp in Oregon. In Sweden there does not seem to be to great an interest to have Kassir to serve out his sentence in Sweden where a life sentence is not life. He would be out in no time.

The Weekly Standard is recommending that should Sweden demand Kassir’s release the American Justice Department make sure that he serves out his full sentence. The question after the latest arrests in Pakistan is: how much control is there in Sweden on the groups that support terrorism? Is there a recruiting office or even training camps? Sweden’s record is seems not to be the best.

20TH ANNIVERSARY OF LIBERATION AND REUNIFICATION OF EUROPE – PART 3

September 23, 2009

The Westminster Speech

The speech by President Reagan to the British Parliament in 1982, the Westminster Address, was a call for “liberation” from communism. By providing an outline for the future of democracy he challenged the idea the communism was the idea of the future. President Reagan helped rally the West at a crucial moment in history. He described a plan and a hope for the long term “a march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”

A long struggle against communism was promised but in reality it lasted only a decade. Mr. Reagan never doubted victory would come, but the collapse of Soviet communism came quicker because of the pressures on the Soviet Union applied by his administration.

It is important to note that in the Westminster Address the President used a phrase by Leon Trotsky. He had once dismissed the Menshevik party as being doomed to the ash-heap of history.

In 1982 it was impossible that other Western leaders would talk of the fall of the Soviet Union. The views presented in London were really revolutionary. It went against the whole Sovietologist establishment.

The Reagan Doctrine was here for the first time outlined in the words “a democratic revolution is gathering new strength” around the world. It heralded American support of anti-communist guerrilla forces around the globe.

Attorney General Edwin Meese III has described the speech as a “kick-off” for the foreign policy efforts of the administration to reverse the expansion of communism. This and other events during 1982 make this a crucial year in preparing for victory over the Soviet system. In Mr. Meese’s words Soviet imperialism was morally unacceptable to President Reagan. But the views he expressed in London were not new. They were rooted in decades of thinking by Mr. Reagan, who in reality had spoken on this theme for 30 years. President Reagan provided the original idea of the speech and the final words, although the draft was written by speechwriter Mr. Tony Dolan.

East-West Economic Relations

In a memorandum in late November 1982 Clark distributed NSDD 66 signed by Ronald Reagan to key officials of the administration. It was in principle a declaration of economic war on the Soviet Union. In a summary of conclusions, which was added to the directive, is stated that representatives of the United States, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom had in conversations reached the following conclusions:

“1. They recognize the necessity of conducting their relations with the
USSR and Eastern Europe on the basis of a global and comprehensive policy designed to serve their common fundamental security interests. They are particularly conscious of the need that action in the economic field be consistent with that global and comprehensive policy and thus be based on a common approach. They are resolved together to take the necessary steps to remove differences and to ensure that future decisions by their governments on these issues are taken on the basis of an analysis of the East-West relationship as a whole, with due regard for their respective interests and in a spirit of mutual trust and confidence.

2. The following criteria should govern the economic dealings of their countries with the Soviet Union and East European countries:

–That they will not undertake trade agreements, or take steps, which contribute to the military or strategic advantage and capabilities of the USSR.

–That it is not in their interest to subsidize the Soviet economy; trade should be conducted in a prudent manner without preferential treatment.

….

3. As an immediate decision and following decisions already made, they have further agreed on the following:

(a) Building on the conclusions of the High-Level Meeting, they will work together within the framework of the Coordinating Committee (COCOM) to protect their contemporary security interests: the list of strategic items will be evaluated and, if necessary, adjusted. This objective will be pursued at the COCOM Review now under way. They will take the necessary measures to strengthen the effectiveness and responsiveness of COCOM and to enhance their national mechanism as necessary to enforce COCOM decisions.

(b) They have informed each other that during the course of the study on energy requirements, they will not sign, or approve the signing by their companies of, new contracts with the Soviet Union for the purchase of natural gas.” (Memorandum by William P. Clark, November 29, 1982 with attachment).

Conclusion

It has in this Special Report been possible only to give a short overview of the important preparations by the Reagan administration in 1982 to win the Cold War.

In 1982, on October 28, Leonid Brezhnev accused the United States of a policy of “adventurism, rudeness, and undisguised egoism” that threatened “to push the world into the flames of nuclear war.” The Soviets clearly were feeling the heat. But it was to be Brezhnev’s last speech. He died on November 10, 1982.

In one important Reagan biography in 2001 (Lou Cannon, Ronald Reagan: The President Portfolio (New York: Public Affairs) the NSDDs are not mentioned. Clark was in 2007 the subject of a biography (The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand by Paul Kengor and Patricia Clark Doerner).

20TH ANNIVERSARY OF LIBERATION AND REUNIFICATION OF EUROPE – PART 2

September 22, 2009

Pipeline Sanctions

Vital to Soviet economy was the building of a pipeline for gas to Western Europe. The United States pressed for stopping the pipeline and had to accept a compromise at a meeting of the North Atlantic Congress (NAC). West European countries could continue to develop the pipeline but not step in and fill contracts the Americans had abandoned. This was a critical part victory, however, for the United States.

The Soviets believing deliveries to the project could be secured elsewhere had however overlooked one detail – the rotor shafts and blades driving the gas turbines in compressor station along the 3,300 mile long pipeline. These shafts and rotors were made by General Electric, which was now stopped from delivering them. The Soviets managed to find a French alternative and the company was willing to sell, in spite of the NAC treaty.

Economic Warfare Against the Soviets

Under Clark the NSC was by now undertaking studies exploring other ways to damage the Soviet economy. A grain cartel to limit exports to the USSR was one subject the NSC looked at.

The council produced a study to clearly determine the basic differences between the Reagan administration’s national security strategy as expressed in NSDD 32 and the strategy of the Carter administration.

A memorandum for Clark revealed that there were significant differences as to substance, scope, tone, and world view.

The first was that the Carter administration’s basic approach was one of “competition and cooperation”. The “cooperative” element was a broadly based perspective ranging from ‘seek Soviet cooperation in resolving regional conflicts’ to ‘seek to involve the Soviet Union constructively in global activities such as economic, social developments, and peaceful non-strategic trade’ (PD-18 of the Carter administration). The strategic formula was detente. NSDD 32 instead concluded that “the Soviet policy of global expansionism backed by a dramatically strengthened military position challenges the strategic interests of the United States worldwide. From this basic perspective, our strategic approach toward the Soviet Union is one of realism. The formula seeks ‘to neutralize the efforts of the USSR to increase its influence’ and ‘to foster restraint in Soviet military spending, adventurism, and to weaken the Soviet alliance system”. The Soviet Union is to bear the brunt of its economic shortcomings’. The formula is not detente.” (FOIA Case No. NLS F96-069/1 # 4, Document Date October 5, 1982).

The second fundamental difference was “the degree of comprehensiveness of the two strategies.” (Ibid.) The Carter administration dealt almost exclusively with the military component. “NSDD-32 too acknowledges that the full articulation of a national strategy requires the development and integration of diplomatic information, economic/political, and military strategic components. NSDD-32 directs that these components be the subject of specific studies. Unlike the Carter administration documents, NSDD-32 establishes specific policies inter alia in the following areas: force development strategies and priorities; regional objectives, policies, and goals for Allies and friends; wartime objectives and priorities; force integration; mobilization; and security assistance. These examples are characteristic of the far broader scope of NSDD-32”. (Ibid.)

20TH ANNIVERSARY OF LIBERATION AND REUNIFICATION OF EUROPE – PART 1

September 21, 2009

Introduction

On September 18, 2009, Timbro and the Information on Communism-organization in Sweden celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Liberation and Reunification of Europe by holding a seminar in Stockholm. It celebrated some of the freedom fighters (among them President Ronald Reagan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II) of the 1980s and a number of events that played an important role in the struggle for freedom and democracy.

This multipart blog post honors the seminar and is especially devoted to the American preparations for victory in the Cold War in the beginning of the 1980s.

William P. Clark, a lawyer and rancher, a long time associate of President Ronald Reagan, was appointed Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on January 4, 1982. Clark was to remain in the position until late 1983 and came to be a leading force in preparing for American cold war victory.

He aimed at a more coordinated national security strategy and in March of 1982 the president signed a national security decision directive (NSDD 32), that would transform U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. It was proactive and broke with the past. Ronald Reagan made clear that he would not accept domination by Moscow of its satellites.

The principal objectives were a covert support of underground anticommunist movements behind the Iron Curtain. Psychological operations would be directed at the region with radio broadcasts of Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.

Furthermore the United States would use trade and diplomacy to loosen the grip of Moscow.

The Polish Crisis

The Polish crisis offered good opportunities to put the rules laid down in the directive to work. Martial law had been introduced in Poland in December of 1981. Polish General Woyciech Jaruzelski had taken over power supported by Moscow. In late January 1982 he in the Polish parliament he declared that martial law would continue. Over 4,000 opponents to the regime had been interned. But demonstrations continued as in Gdansk on January 31, 1982, and in February the regime had to arrest at least additional 3,000.

FORMER CIA CHIEFS ASK OBAMA TO HALT INVESTIGATIONS

September 21, 2009

Fox News reported on September 18 that seven former CIA heads had written to ask him to stop an investigation by the Attorney General on interrogations. They argued in the letter:

“The post-September 11 interrogations for which the attorney general is opening an inquiry were investigated four years ago by career prosecutors. The CIA, at its own initiative, forwarded fewer than 20 instances where agency officers appeared to have acted beyond their existing legal authorities.

Career prosecutors under the supervision of the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia determined that one prosecution (of a CIA contractor) was warranted. A conviction was later obtained. They determined that prosecutions were not warranted in the other cases. In a number of these cases the CIA subsequently took administrative disciplinary steps against the individuals involved.

Attorney General Holder’s decision to re-open the criminal investigation creates an atmosphere of continuous jeopardy for those whose cases the Department of Justice had previously declined to prosecute. Moreover, there is no reason to expect that the re-opened criminal investigation will remain narrowly focused.”

The chiefs also warned that disclosures can only help Al Qaeda to plan future operations. The diclosures will only make it harder for operatives to maintain the momemtum of operations that have saved lives and helped protect America from further attacks.

“Finally, another certain result of these reopened investigations is the serious damage done to our intelligence community’s ability to obtain the cooperation of foreign intelligence agencies. Foreign services are already greatly concerned about the United States’ inability to maintain any secrets. They rightly fear that, through these additional investigations and the court proceedings that could follow, terrorists may learn how other countries came to our assistance in a time of peril. “
The letter was signed by Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet, John Deutch, R. James Woolsey, William Webster and James R. Schlesinger.

In the Philadelphia Inquirer law Professor John Yoo in a column on September 13 concluded that “persecuting the CIA risks another surprise attack or major intelligence failure”. If an operative is risking persecution or being fired for doing something, Professor Yoo added, the safest thing for him or her is to do nothing.

The Democratic administration 1992 to 1999 led to grave setbacks due to the decimation of U.S. intelligence capabilities. Intelligence agencies failed to stop the 9/11 attacks and appear not to have penetrated the al-Qaeda’s leadership. The estimates on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were almost totally mistaken, wrote Yoo.

ENDGAME IN AFGHANISTAN

September 20, 2009

In view of the increasing debate on Afghanistan and the American as well as NATO commitment to that country it may be of interest to return to a book published in 2004 (Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror, Regnery Publishing, 256 pages).

The authors are two retired American generals, Tom McInerney and Pal Vallely. In the book they devote themselves to the question of how to win the war on terror. It is important to point out that in this war the enemy is not a particular nation or nations. It would be impossible to win only using conventional warfare against the enemy. The foe, radical Islam, is bloodthirsty and imperialist. The terrorists seek to create a worldwide Islamic caliphate controlled by an extremist elite, much like international communism from 1917.

The terrorist, so the authors, main enemy is America. With the war on terror winding down in Iraq the main remaining battleground is Afghanistan but there is much more to be considered. It is necessary to effectively deal with the main eight countries that support the web of terror. A main target of the counterterrorist efforts must be Al Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Taliban must be defeated or reduced to insignificance. McInerney and Vallely recommend more efforts in Pakistan against terrorist centers in the areas bordering to Afghanistan. Such offensives have also in the past years been started by the government in Islamabad. The development in Iran has proven that the government in Tehran might fall without American or Israeli intervention. The anti-government protests in the streets of the Iranian capital on Jerusalem Day (supposed to be a day of support for the Palestinians) is a sign of the weakness of the ruling fundamentalist mullahs and their puppet president.

Syria’s influence in the Middle East has been reduced from 2004 and the regime might well fall if pressured by American and Israeli military might. The only front against global terrorism where there has been no sign of improvement is North Korea. The regime is a supporter of radical Islam and once it has completed its nuclear weapons it will be a dangerous player against the West and its struggle against international terrorism.

Endgame is an important book and the authors clearly demonstrate how the ongoing war is a battle of wills. The risk now is that it will be lost by politicians in America and in allied countries.

Now is the time to close in on radical Islam in Afghanistan. The fight is winnable and politicians in the coalition countries must all increase funds and troops. Of course a continued effort by the United States is the crucial part in the coming endgame.

WHAT IS NEOCONSERVATISM?

September 19, 2009

In 2003 The Weekly Standard (Volume 008, Issue 47) published an article by the father of neoconservatism, Irving Kristol. There is indeed no better way to describe the ideas of this faction of the American Conservative movement than to refer to Kristol.

Six years ago neoconservatism had been absorbed into the mainstream of American conservatism. It is not a “movement” as the critics describe it. Rather it can be described as a “persuasion” that manifests itself over time. The historical task and political purpose was to convert the Republican party and American conservatism in general. It was to convert the believers into accept a conservative politics that was suited to govern a modern democracy. This new conservatism was distinctly American. Thus many European conservatives have been sceptical of it.

No doubt conservatism in the United States is more healthy than in Europe and more politically effective. Neoconservatives are forward-looking, not nostalgic. The general tone is cheerful, not dyspeptic. Two of the heroes are Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.

The influence of neoconservatism has reached beyond the traditional and financial base and has made political conservatism more acceptable to a majority of American voters. The policy of cutting taxrates was not a neoconservative invention but it provided a focus on economic growth. Only with the prospect of economic growth in which everyone prospers can guarantee a stable democracy. Earlier democracy was a fight between “haves” and “have-nots” which caused a destructive class struggle. With economic growth modern democracies could gain legitimacy and durability. The focus on economic growth, however, can result in the necessity to sometimes shoulder budgetary deficits. A property-owning and tax-paying population will be less vulnerable to egalitarian illusions and demagogic appeals.

In the matter of the role of the state neoconservative do not like a concentration of services in a welfare state and are happy to study alternative ways to deliver those services. However, they do not feel the alarm of anxiety over the growth of the state. It is seen as natural, even inevitable. All does not have to be based on the belief of man versus state. People prefer strong governments to weak but have no liking to overly intrusive government. Thus neoconservatives feel more at home in America today than traditional conservatives. They do find much to be critical of but they find more intellectual guidance in the democratic wisdom of for instance Tocqueville than in Tory nostalgia of for instance Russell Kirk.

At the same time they feel very much worried about the decline of the democratic culture in America, the vulgarity which unites them with the traditional conservatives. Thus one should not be surprised at the common views of neoconservatives and religious traditionalists.

“They are united on issues concerning the quality of education, the relations of church and state, the regulation of pornography, and the like, all of which they regard as proper candidates for the government’s attention. And since the Republican party now has a substantial base among the religious, this gives neocons a certain influence and even power. Because religious conservatism is so feeble in Europe, the neoconservative potential there is correspondingly weak.”

Finally, of course, there is foreign policy. Here there are no set beliefs, only attitudes which are based on historical experience. Favorite texts are classical such as Thucydides on the Peloponnesian War thanks to great extent to professors Leo Strauss and Donald Kagan. Views can be summarized as

Patriotism is a natural and healthy sentiment. It should be encouraged both by private and public institutions. It is a powerful sentiment because America is a nation of immigrants.

World government is a terrible idea. It can lead to world tyranny. International institution that can lead to world government should be regarded with the deepest suspicion.

Statesmen should have the ability to distinguish friends from enemies. This sounds easy but the Cold War demonstrated that it is not. The number of intellectuals in the Western world that could not count the Soviet Union as an enemy was absolutely astonishing.

Finally, for a great nation, “national interest” is not a geographical term except for fairly prosaic matters like trade and environmental regulation. Smaller nations might feel that the national interest begins and ends at its borders. Foreign policy is almost always defensive. Larger nations have more extensive interests.

“…large nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today, inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns. Barring extraordinary events, the United States will always feel obliged to defend, if possible, a democratic nation under attack from nondemocratic forces, external or internal. That is why it was in our national interest to come to the defense of France and Britain in World War II. That is why we feel it necessary to defend Israel today, when its survival is threatened. No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary.”

“…the incredible military superiority of the United States vis-à-vis the nations of the rest of the world” has not been planned. “The superiority was planned by no one, and even today there are many Americans who are in denial. To a large extent, it all happened as a result of our bad luck. During the 50 years after World War II, while Europe was at peace and the Soviet Union largely relied on surrogates to do its fighting, the United States was involved in a whole series of wars: the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Kosovo conflict, the Afghan War, and the Iraq War. The result was that our military spending expanded more or less in line with our economic growth, while Europe’s democracies cut back their military spending in favor of social welfare programs. The Soviet Union spent profusely but wastefully, so that its military collapsed along with its economy.

Suddenly the United States emerged as uniquely powerful. The “magic” of compound interest over half a century had its effect on our military budget, as did the cumulative scientific and technological research of our armed forces. With power come responsibilities, whether sought or not, whether welcome or not.”

Comment

The above presentation of the basic “persuasion” of neoconservatives was published in 2003. In 2004 President George W. Bush was reelected. The following four years neoconservatives were blamed by leftists and paleoconservatives both for all problems that occurred. As a result democrats with a leftist agenda for the United States were elected and captured both the Presidency and the Congress. This does not mean that neoconservatives are “defeated”. From the Cold War they are used to opposition and the Conservative movement and the Republican Party are preparing for a comeback.