I try to make sense of the news, but this one I just don’t get:
The Washington Post has published a front-page Michael Abromowitz article today entitled, “Conservative Anger Grows Over Bush’s Foreign Policy.” The lead quote in the article goes to Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute:
“It is Topic A of every single conversation…
I don’t have a friend in the administration, on Capitol Hill or any part of the conservative foreign policy establishment who is not beside themselves with fury at the administration.”
To be more specific, Abromowitz is talking about alleged neoconservative fury:
In fact, it has been Bush’s willingness to respond to criticism from the foreign policy establishment — which has long urged him to do more to pursue a more “multilateral” diplomacy in concert with allies — that has led to distress among many conservatives outside Congress, particularly the band of aggressive “neoconservatives” who four years ago were most enthusiastic about the Iraq war.
So, whence the fury at the administration? What are we talking about here?
Conservative intellectuals and commentators who once lauded Bush for what they saw as a willingness to aggressively confront threats and advance U.S. interests said in interviews that they perceive timidity and confusion about long-standing problems including Iran and North Korea, as well as urgent new ones such as the latest crisis between Israel and Hezbollah.
Iran and North Korea. Ok. I can see that. There are examples of that fury coming from AEI folks like Michael Rubin. From June. An old story. It makes this Abromowitz article something like an overdue profile of neoconservative (i.e., Right Zionist) anger at the Bush administration decision to make diplomatic overtures to Iran. Like a neoconservative lamentation for Time’s declaration of the end of “Cowboy” foreign policy.
But did the neocons at the American Enterprise Institute actually express “fury” or perceive unwarranted “timidity” or “confusion” about the “urgent new” problem–“the latest crisis between Israel and Hezbollah”? No way. Not a chance.
When did Abromowitz conduct the “interviews”? Did the Post dig up this story from the June files?
Is Abromowitz trying to makes it seem like neocons think Bush’s refusal to engage or take action in Lebanon reflects timidity and/or confusion? If so, he is playing a game and will surely be corrected in short order by the Right Zionists.
Current Bush administration inactivity–delay in sending an envoy, refusal to call for a ceasefire, refusal to back Kofi Annan’s efforts to cobble together an international force–is not timidity but bold–if implicit–support for an extraordinarily aggressive Israeli policy in Lebanon.
Bush’s reaction to Israel’s move to destroy Hezbollah will earn him eternal plaudits from neocon pundits. Abromowitz is blowing smoke.