A Sour Holiday Season for Neocons
America’s extended Christmas holiday season, stretching through much of November and all of December, has not been a happy time for Official Washington’s dominant neoconservatives and their liberal interventionist sidekicks.
First, they had to lick their wounds over the defeat of their preferred U.S. presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton; then they had to watch as their “moderate” Syrian rebel proxies and their Al Qaeda allies were routed from east Aleppo; and finally they watched in disbelief as the Obama administration permitted passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian lands.
To say that the neocons and liberal hawks have not taken these reversals well would be an understatement. They have pretty much blamed Clinton’s defeat on everyone but themselves and Clinton herself. They have been apoplectic over Aleppo and their lost dream of “regime change” in Syria. And they have sputtered in outrage over President Obama’s failure to veto the Israeli anti-settlement resolution.
Regarding Clinton’s defeat, her embrace of the neocon/liberal-hawk “regime change” obsessions siphoned off enthusiasm among the peace faction of the Democratic Party, a significant and activist part of the progressive movement.
Clinton’s alignment with the neocon/liberal hawks may have helped her with the mainstream media, but the MSM has lost much of its credibility by making itself a handmaiden in leading the nation to wars and more wars.
Average Americans also could feel the contempt that these elites had for the rest of us. The neocons and liberal hawks had come to believe in the CIA’s concept of “perception management,” feeling that the American people were items to be controlled, not the nation’s sovereigns to be informed and respected. Instead of “We the People,” Official Washington’s elites treated us like “Us the Sheep.”
Though this “perception management” idea took hold during the Reagan administration – largely in reaction to the public’s distrust of U.S. foreign policy following the Vietnam War – it became a bipartisan practice, extending through George W. Bush’s WMD sham about Iraq and into the behavior of the Obama administration in manipulating public opinion about Syria, Libya, Ukraine and Russia, pretty much any country targeted for “regime change.”
So, when this establishment tried to force Hillary Clinton’s coronation down the nation’s throat, enough Americans choked at the idea – even to the extent of voting for the eminently unqualified Donald Trump – to deny Clinton the White House. Indeed, many Americans who reluctantly did vote for Clinton did so only because they considered Trump even more unfit to lead the nation. The two candidates were in a fierce competition for who would arouse the most public revulsion.
But the neocons and liberal hawks are not ones for self-reflection and self-criticism. They move from one disaster to the next, finding others to blame and justifying their own failures by publishing self-apologias in the editorial pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.
Thus, for the past several weeks, we have witnessed daily meltdowns across the mainstream media as neocons and liberal interventionists fume about all the forces that conspired to deny them their God-given right to select who runs America.
The mainstream media ranted about a few incidents of “fake news” – concocted stories designed to get lots of clicks from Trump supporters – despite its own long history of publishing false and misleading stories. The MSM then tried to tar with that “fake news” broad brush serious independent Web sites that simply displayed professional skepticism toward propaganda emanating from the U.S. State Department.
The smear blurred the “fake news scandal” with what was deemed “Russian propaganda.” Anyone who wouldn’t march in lockstep with the State Department’s messaging must be a “Kremlin stooge.” Mainstream media outlets even began demanding that major technology companies, such as Facebook and Google, join in establishing a modern-age Ministry of Truth for the Internet that would punish independent Web sites that didn’t toe the Official Line.
Then, there was the hysteria over the CIA’s still-unproven claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw a scheme to hack into Democratic emails and expose embarrassing facts, such as the Democratic National Committee’s tilting the primary playing field to favor Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders, the contents of Clinton’s paid speeches to her Wall Street benefactors, and pay-to-play features of the Clinton money machine.
Though this information all appeared to be true — and revealed dubious or improper actions by Democratic officials and the Democratic presidential nominee — this truth-telling was also mixed in with the “fake news scandal” and other excuse-making for why Clinton lost. Her defeat was Putin’s fault. It was also FBI Director James Comey’s fault for chastising Clinton for her “extremely careless” handling of U.S. government secrets because she insisted on using a private email server as Secretary of State. And, of course, there was the supposed over-reaction to Clinton calling many Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables.”
In other words, the Clinton campaign appears to have been done in by various people telling the truth about a variety of unsavory aspects of Hillary Clinton’s behavior and decision-making. If none of these facts had come out before the election, the thinking was that Clinton would have won and the neocons/liberal hawks could have continued and even expanded their dominion over U.S. foreign policy.
Yet, to me, the biggest head-scratcher about Clinton’s disastrous campaign was why – after she left the State Department in 2013 – did she jump into the sleazy business of collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars for brief speeches to Wall Street and other special interests.
Her prospective presidency was crucial to the Clinton business model of soliciting huge donations and fees from corporations and foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation and to allied consulting firms, such as the Podesta Group. These corporate and foreign leaders were pre-paying for “access” to the future U.S. president. However, instead of shielding Clinton from the grubby business of collecting the money herself, she was dispatched to join in the money grabbing.
This greed or hubris left millions of Americans troubled by what a restoration of Clinton control of the Executive Branch might mean. Whether Trump was sincere or not, he hit a nerve when he talked about “draining the swamp.”