NeoCons and Dem Zionists: “Not Stunningly Different”

Posted by Cutler on May 30, 2006
Foreign Policy Factions

Right Zionists in the US are examining political options for 2008. “Exhibit A” in this regard is Robert Kagan’s column “If Power Shifts in 2008“–the subtitle of which is “A Democrat Might Not be as Different as You Would Think”–from May 28 issue of the Washington Post.

Kagan is co-founder, with William Kristol, of the Neocon/Right Zionist “Project for a New American Century.”

Kagan has hardly given up all hope of a friendly Republican administration after Bush. McCain remains the key to that vision for Kagan:

Republicans could nominate someone capable of winning broad Democratic support, which would partly address the debilitating national divide on foreign policy.

But Kagan is hedging his bets. The central issue for Kagan is not simply the prospect of a Democrat victory in 2008 but the implications for US foreign policy:

Lately [the Democracts are] starting to show signs of life and could still take the reins again if the right Democrat won in 2008. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing. No one can claim any more that the old Clinton foreign policy team is less competent than the Republicans who succeeded it.

Kagan’s criticism of Bush administration “competence” is a partisan bone to the Democrats, in case you missed it. Less clear, however, are the Democrat “signs of life.” What could Kagan mean? He doesn’t mean the polling numbers since the whole question that interests Kagan concerns policies adopted after a Democrat victory: would “signs of life” would appear IF “the right a Democrat won in 2008.”

What are the signs of life? Hard to know, since Kagan is vague. Maybe Kagan has in mind Senator Joe Biden and his recent nod toward the old Right Zionist plan for “decentralization” of Iraq, discussed here.

There is no question of the Democrats being sufficiently Zionist for Kagan. The only real concern for Kagan is the mix of “soft power” diplomacy and hard power interventionism.

Soft power will go only so far in dealing with problems such as North Korea and Sudan.

On Iran, though, he gives a small nod toward negotiations:

A smarter negotiating strategy toward Iran might or might not make a difference in stopping its weapons program.

On the whole, Kagan is quite optimistic about Dem Zionists in ’09.

If the Democrats did take office in 2009, their approach to the post-Sept. 11 world would be marginally different but not stunningly different from Bush’s. And they would have to sell that not stunningly different set of policies to their own constituents.

The significance of this last line should not be missed: given Bush’s lousy poll numbers, Kagan seems to suggest that it might be better to have the Democrats selling the Iraq war than sniping at it. Democrats could more effectively co-opt and contain anti-war sentiment in the US.

The key point is simply that an electoral tilt toward the Democrats cannot be equated with a defeat for Kagan and Co.

1 Comment to NeoCons and Dem Zionists: “Not Stunningly Different”

  • His argument is really aimed against the nascent alliance between the centre left and Buchanan style ‘isolationism’ (which being translated means, let’s stop playing global f├╝hrer).

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