Friday, October 24, 2008

Neoconservative Racism?

One day after declaring himself a socialist radical, Matthew Yglesias has one of more disturbing titles for a post I've seen: "Neoconservatism Today, Neoconservatism Tomorrow, Neoconservatism Forever!

Yglesias is attacking Charles Krauthammer's endorsement today of John McCain for president (a fabulous read, by the way). He first trots out the old antiwar tripe on the Bush administration's foreign policy:

America’s standing in the eyes of the world is at its lowest ebb ever. Our level of influence in Latin America has declined precipitously on Bush’s watch. Israel’s security is more at risk than it was eight years ago, and Palestinian suffering is more intense than it was eight years ago. Osama bin Laden remains at large.
Yeah, yeah ... where have I heard that before?

Next follows Yglesias' neocon excoriation:

We’ve been following Krauthammer’s advice for years. Has it delivered a peaceful and secure world? No, it has not. Not just according to me, but according to Krauthammer himself. To Krauthammer the “solution” to the peace and prosperity of the Clinton years was neoconservatism. With neoconservatism having created a dangerous and insecure world, his solution is — more neoconservatism. And yet somehow it’s supposed to be the people who want to stop pursuing failed policies who are said to be blind to the troubled nature of the present.
Readers may recall that I've read Yglesias' Heads in the Sands, and I'm unimpressed (but don't take my word for it, see Jamie Kirchick's devastating indictment of the book). So, I guess it takes one advocate of a "failed approach" to understand another.

The problem: Krauthammer's inconsistent, with all due respect.
In an essay back in late-2006, when the U.S. was facing the darkest times in Iraq, Krauthammer proclaimed the end of U.S. international hegemony:

What is becoming clear is that the overall international strategic situation in which we had unchallenged hegemony for the first decade and half the unipolar moment is now over. We are seeing on the horizon the rise of something that is always expected in any unipolar era, which is an alliance of others who oppose us.
Krauthammer's claim was not only wrong, but rather disheartening, considering he wrote what I considered some of the most importantt tracts on the theory underlying the Bush Doctrine, "The Unipolar Moment Revisited." Of course, Krauthammer's earlier works might be having a lingering effect on Yglesias, despite the fact that the WaPo columnist appeared at one point as a fair-weather neocon.

That said, what's particular disgusting here is the title to Yglesias' post, which draws on
Alabama Governor George Wallace's Inaugural Address, January 14, 1963:

I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny . . . and I say . . . seregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever.
Yglesias makes no specific reference to a racial nexus in neoconservative ideology.

But with his radical associations and demonic attacks on American foreign policy in the Bush years, the logical implication is that Yglesias adopts the same type of theory of American history as does William Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn: The United States is irredeemably racist, at home and abroad, and in some twist of logical contortion, Charles Krauthammer,
a Jewish psychiatrist and one-time researcher to President Jimmy Carter, fits into that alleged abmonation of American imperialism like a puzzle piece.