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Neocons ahoy!

by Colman Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 09:37:52 AM EST

Via a commentator on dKos, I came across this little house of horrors:

The Henry Jackson Society is a non-profit organisation that seeks to promote the following principles: that liberal democracy should be spread across the world; that as the world’s most powerful democracies, the United States and the European Union – under British leadership – must shape the world more actively by intervention and example; that such leadership requires political will, a commitment to universal human rights and the maintenance of a strong military with global expeditionary reach; and that too few of our leaders in Britain and the rest of Europe today are ready to play a role in the world that matches our strength and responsibilities.

Their "principles" include forceful democratisation, an emphasis on military power, "the importance of unity between the world’s great democracies, represented by institutions such as NATO, the European Union and the OECD, amongst many others" and "Believes that only modern liberal democratic states are truly legitimate, and that any international organisation which admits undemocratic states on an equal basis is fundamentally flawed."

Their list of signatories is interesting: their list of patrons reads like a most-wanted list.

From one of their editorials we get the following, appropriate, quote:

Equally, there have been stirrings throughout British society that tolerance – an intrinsic part of British culture – can only be taken so far, especially when dealing with bigots.


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I can't remember which story the comment was in, or I'd credit the pointer better!
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 09:38:58 AM EST
The "Project for a New American Century" has morphed into a "Project for Democratic Geopolitics".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 09:47:41 AM EST
Not long ago here we came across Bruce P. Jackson (head of the list of patrons of this other Jackson thing) telling Le Figaro that PNAC had in fact folded to become The Committee for a Strong Europe.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 11:19:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do believe they're trying to replicate the US think-tanks over here - lots of them, with overlapping memberships to to amplify their message.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 11:23:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the European Union - under British leadership

I wonder what Brussels says about that. Is this group out to fracture the EU?

And I see from their list of signers that they have their own Judy Millers incorporated. I guess we can't trust the Times anymore.

by high5 (high5104@gmail.com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 10:15:50 AM EST
You trust the Times?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 10:19:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course they are out to fracture the EU. The UK has been the traditional wedge, and the new Eastern European members look increasingly like the hammer (unfortunately).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 10:23:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Among the signatories, I see "Dr. Denis MacShane MP". Wasn't he minister for European Affairs for quite a bit of time? What's become of him now? He's a blairite for sure.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 10:35:40 AM EST
Denis isn't a Blairite or a Brownite, that's always been his problem!!
by ------- on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 11:02:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of Tories in that list. Predomintly so, in fact.

Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying
by RogueTrooper on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 10:43:04 AM EST
Shocking, isn't it?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 10:51:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heretic Tories too. I thought Tory orthodoxy for Europe was along the line of "Troops Out!!!" rather than delusions of grandeur.

There are a few Labour Party members in the group too. Jomentum Brtish style.

Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying

by RogueTrooper on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 11:31:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of prominent British journalists (from the FT and the T). Expect more fireworks in the press on that topic.

On the other hand, it gives us a label to put on them when they write the kind of stuff we love to hate...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 11:28:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that bad judging on the two editorials I read. In one on Uzbekistan there's this curious comment:

This is not to say that democracies should not sometimes apply double standards. There are autocracies, such as Egypt and Syria, where secular leaders appear to have seen the writing on the wall and may be heading our way; they may be the Gorbachevs of the Arab world. We should give them a fair wind, at least for the moment, in return for tangible progress. But to apply this model to Karimov is a category error.

Note the mention of Syria alongside Egypt.

In their editorial on Iran they say that force isn't an option - bombing won't work, forces tied up in Iraq and  even if they weren't Iran would take far more military resources than Iraq because it is so much bigger.

Then again I'm a liberal hawk so my perspective on this is likely to be rather different from most ET members. Still, even from a non-liberal hawk perspective I think you are being somewhat unfair.

In terms of achieving democratic change they do include force as an option but clearly emphasize non military carrots and sticks. (Personally, post Iraq, I think force should only be used for standard security threats or acute humanitarian crises - i.e. Iraq would not have qualified.)

They are not full blown neoliberals in the economic sphere - "Gives two cheers for capitalism. There are limits to the market, which needs to serve the Democratic Community and should be reconciled to the environment."  Nor is the stuff about the EU moving forward under British leadership all that strange considering that it is coming from Brits. Go to France and that would be standard boilerplate stuff for a French politician (substituting France for Britain of course).

 

by MarekNYC on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 12:33:09 PM EST
PS. Yes the list of patrons is rather scary.
by MarekNYC on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 12:41:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe them. There is no way in hell the US can go into Iran, so it costs them nothing to say it. It's not that they don't think it's a good idea, it just can't be done. If the forces were there it'd be bombs away.

As for the fluff about capitalism, the devil is in what they actually want to do. The credentials of those involved does not reassure me.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 12:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking at the list of principles and list of patrons makes me think that it is deliberately designed by the neocons to attract liberal hawks. Pre-Iraq I would have found nothing to disagree with on that list, and even now   its not that far from my views. Judging from what I read of those liberal hawks whose views actually matter, unlike my own - e.g. the writers over at America Abroad on TPM cafe - I think that I'm not untypical in this. On the other hand I think I'm also true to type in having a strong dislike for the neocons after seeing them in action. Getting a bunch of lib hawks to subscribe to what are basically their principles but in an organization controlled by the neocons might come in useful. (Look! The Jackson society, supported by all those centrists, is in favour, it obviously can't be complete wingnuttery!)
by MarekNYC on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 04:02:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My problem with Kerry was that, had he won, he would have simply replaced a puppet of neocon hawks with a liberal hawk, but hawk he would have remained. The "liberal" would have given everyone an unjustified sense of relief.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 06:14:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but he might have been a competent hawk rather than an entirely deluded one.

We don't expect the US to be nice, but faintly sane would be good. At least Kerry might have acted in what he saw as the US national interest. I don't think you can say that about the neocons.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 09:46:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kerry would have been better than Bush for the US national interest, but if you believe it is a good thing that the web of international relations supporting the US imperium is unraveling, Kerry would have been worse geopolitically.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 10:31:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain leading Europe and France leading Europe evoke very vastly different Europes, to say the least. A British led Europe is not an innocent wording - it means a Europe with no political will of its own, fully subversient to US foreign policy goals, and economically focused on being a mere free trade area with mucho deregulation.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 04:12:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which France?  The Chirac one? - A complete lack of vision.  An attitude to its fellow EU countries reminiscent of the Bush administration's way of treating its European allies, i.e. one that can be summed up as 'support us or shut up.'  Or the hard right whether in its Le Pen or de Villiers variant?  Or maybe the left-wing 'non' camp - whether the complete hostility of the Trotskyists and some of the Communists or the refusal to move forward unless it is exactly along the lines they want of the PS non campaigners - i.e. a de facto fallback on a Europe as a politically hamstrung free trade zone.  In a sense they are the mirror image of Blair's 'leadership' on Europe - yes to greater integration, but only if its economic policies are those they want, otherwise do everything to sabotage the EU.

Sure, I'd be perfectly happy with a French led Europe if those doing the leading were the PS yes camp or the center right europhiles of the UDF. Unfortunately they are a minority in their own country. France has not been leading Europe anywhere ever since Chirac won power a decade ago. So for me 'French' and 'British' leadership evoke equally bad images.

In any case, what matters most for me is integration and the increase in power of the democratic institutions of the EU - i.e. the European Parliament. Then the voters could decide what sort of direction they want.

by MarekNYC on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 04:46:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, fully agree on that one. The free trade and no politics Europe vs the PAC Europe. Not a great choice these days.

Chirac will not be seen kindly by history.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 06:02:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have been asked to post here some comments on the more prominent British participants in the Henry Jackson Society, that I posted before on Booman Tribune.

Michael Ancram MP (he is actually the Marquis of Lothian but does not use the title). Depity Leader of the Conservative Party. I would say a declining political fugure unlikely to prosper in the Cameron era.

Col. Tim Collins. The officer who gave a famous speech to his men before the start of the Iraq invasion.

Michael Gove MP. A Times columnist before and after his election to Parliament this year. I saw him on TV over the weekend looking forward to getting all Tony Blair's daft right wing domestic policies through Parliament with the Tories votes replacing those of defecting Labour backbenchers. He is supporting Cameron for leader and may have a bright political future.

Denis MacShane. Labour MP and former Europe Minister.

Lord Powell of Bayswater. Margaret Thatcher's foreign affairs adviser and the brother of Tony Blair's Chief of Staff.

Gisela Stuart. German born Labour MP.

Ed Vaizey MP. I think he is another journalist turned Conservative MP.

David Willetts MP. Member of the Conservative Shadow Cabinet, known as Two Brains. Backed Davis in the leadership election but probably able enough to be forgiven.

Odd mixture of politicians (particularly the pro-European Labour ones), academics and journalists associated with The Times newspaper (prop. Rupert Murdoch).

by Gary J on Tue Nov 15th, 2005 at 04:32:50 PM EST
Gove and Vaizey are the "neo-con-imperial-romanticists" of the Tory party in my observation over the last few years of their journalism. Just the kind of people to sign up to Rumsfeldian theoretics because it fits their prejudices, without ever asking about the practicialities.

In short, very dangerous.

This triggers some thoughts in me about think-tanks and their value for the left... hmm.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Nov 16th, 2005 at 05:39:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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