Caroline Glick blasts NeoCons and explains the Jacksonian foreign policy model

August 13, 2011

THE NEOCONSERVATIVE preference for populist forces over authoritarian ones propelled leading neoconservative thinkers and former Bush administration officials to enthusiastically support the anti-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo in January. And their criticism of Obama for not immediately joining the protesters and calling for Mubarak’s removal from power was instrumental in convincing Obama to abandon Mubarak. Between those who predicted a flowering liberal democracy in a post-Mubarak Egypt and those who predicted the empowerment of radical, Muslim Brotherhood aligned forces in a post-Mubarak Egypt, it is clear today that the latter were correct. Moreover, we see that the US’s abandonment of its closest ally in the Arab world has all but destroyed America’s reputation as a credible, trustworthy ally throughout the region. In the wake of Mubarak’s ouster, the Saudis have effectively ended their strategic alliance with the US and are seeking to replace the US with China, Russia and India. In a similar fashion, the neoconservatives were quick to support Obama’s decision to use military force to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power in March. The fact that unlike Syria’s Bashar Assad and Iran’s ayatollahs, Gaddafi gave up his nuclear proliferation program in 2004 was of no importance. The fact that from the outset there was evidence that al-Qaida terrorists are members of the US-supported Libyan opposition, similarly made little impact on the neoconservatives who supported Obama’s decision to set conditions that would enable “democracy” to take root in Libya. The fact that the US has no clear national interest at stake in Libya was brushed aside. The fact that Obama lacked congressional sanction for committing US troops to battle was also largely ignored. Neoconservative writers have castigated opponents of US military involvement in Libya as isolationists. In so doing, they placed Republican politicians like presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in the same pile as presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan. The very notion that robust internationalists such as Bachmann and Palin could be thrown in with ardent isolationists like Paul and Buchanan is appalling. But it is of a piece with the prevailing, false notion being argued by dominant voices in neoconservative circles that “you’re either with us or you’re with the Buchananites.” In truth, the dominant foreign policy in the Republican Party, and to a degree, in American society as a whole, is neither neoconservativism nor isolationism. For lack of a better name, it is what historian Walter Russell Mead has referred to as Jacksonianism, after Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the US. As Mead noted in a 1999 article in The National Interest titled “The Jacksonian Tradition,” the most popular and enduring US model for foreign policy is far more flexible than either the isolationist or the neoconservative model. According to Mead, the Jacksonian foreign policy model involves a few basic ideas. The US is different from the rest of the world, and therefore the US should not try to remake the world in its own image by claiming that everyone is basically the same. The US must ensure its honor abroad by abiding by its commitments and maintaining its standing with its allies. The US must take action to defend its interests. The US must fight to win or not fight at all. The US should only respect those foes that fight by the same rules as the US does. THE US president that hewed closest to these basic guidelines in recent times was Ronald Reagan. A Jacksonian president would understand that using US power to overthrow a largely neutered US foe like Gaddafi in favor of a suspect opposition movement is not a judicious use of US power. Indeed, a Jacksonian president would recognize that it would be far better to expend the US’s power to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad – an open and active foe of the US – and so influence the nature of a post-Assad government. For all the deficiencies of the neoconservative worldview, at least the neoconservatives act out of a deep-seated belief that the US is a force for good in the world and out of concern for maintaining America’s role as the leader of the free world. In stark contrast, Obama’s foreign policy is based on a fundamental anti-American view of the US and a desire to end the US’s role as the leading world power. And the impact of Obama’s foreign policy on US and global security has been devastating. Read the whole thing.
It will be interesting to see if Caroline endorses anyone in the Republican primaries. Note that the main principle of Jacksonian foreign policy is one that Obama has rejected: American exceptionalism.


The US is different from the rest of the world, and therefore the US should not try to remake the world in its own image by claiming that everyone is basically the same? There goes the Jeane Kirkpatrick doctrine.

The Problem With J Street

October 17, 2010

good Jews come to influence at various times in American history. It just isn’t right now. I think this analysis overextends itself:

The US supports Israel because most American Christians support Israel, and not because of the small number of Jewish voters in the US. That’s another reason why Walt and Mearsheimer are wrong too.

If AIPAC and related groups call politicians anti-Israel, the tens of millions of non-Jewish voters who connect Israel’s security with American values and interests will believe them. (A recent poll found that 53% of voters were more likely to vote for a candidate who was ‘pro-Israel’.) AIPAC is powerful because it is the accredited watchdog on an issue the non-Jewish public cares about; if the dog barks, something is wrong.

The Problem With J Street

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Media gives Anti-Semites cookies and milk

July 30, 2010

Everyone knows that the media is reeling. For instance, New York Times staffers recently took a 5 percent pay cut after a hundred of their colleagues were laid off. And yet, compared to their colleagues at the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, both of which have been gutted after sliding into bankruptcy, journalists at the Times are clearly the lucky ones. None of the big media companies has figured out how to make their Internet presence into a profit center that can sustain operations, even as they turn their hallowed brand-names over to opinion bloggers who can generate copy at a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional reporting. The Israel, or rather anti-Israel, market is one of the most attractive niche markets in this trade because it taps into a passionate audience that is interested in news and can generate immediate and measurable results—page views, hits, and comments. Even on his best days, Stephen Walt can’t hold a candle to premier sports, shopping, or pornography websites traffic-wise. But he can tap into the prurient passions of a niche market.

In his review of The Israel Lobby, Walter Russell Mead explained how Jew-baiting has historically functioned: “Jews are in a double bind: refrain from responding with outrage and the charge becomes accepted as a fact, express utter loathing at the charge and give anti-Semites the opportunity to pose as the victims of a slander campaign by venomous Jews.” For the purposes of driving Internet traffic, it is helpful if Jews respond, but not necessary, as anyone who has waded through the cesspool knows.

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