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      Tuesday
      Sep042012

      Ryan a Pawn in Neo-Con Return

      Dan Senor, left, at a briefing on Saturday for the Romney campaign on a plane en route to Israel. (Photo: Stephen Crowley)The neo-conservatives have consolidated their plan for control of US foreign policy with the vice-presidential nomination of Paul Ryan.

      Ryan is best known as an Ayn Rand-devotee of rugged individualism enforced through spending cuts. But he is equally ardent as a crusading hawk who spares the Pentagonin his budget-cutting exercises.

      Ryan is being briefed by Dan Senor, described mildly in the New York Times as "an expert on Israel and the Middle East." Senor, however, is anything but expert. He was mistaken and misleading spokesperson, or spin-doctor, for the initial Coalition Provisional Authority, which occupied Iraq in 2003 with promises about democracy blooming after weapons of mass destruction were removed. Not since Vietnam had state propaganda so completely dominated the narrative about going to war, in keeping with the Pentagon/neo-con view that "the liberal media" caused the fall of Saigon.

      Ever since, Senor, often armed with "fat briefing books under his arm,” has supplied Republicans with spin in furtherance of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and hawkish pro-Israeli advocates represented by Sheldon Adelson. It was Senor who traveled with Romney to London, Israel and Poland on his recent foreign policy tour, and it was Senor who told the traveling media that Romney would support an Israeli strike on Iran.

      Senor has achieved more respectability than Bush or Dick Cheney in Washington power circles, apparently by indefatigably showing up with briefing books, by his marriage to former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, his ties to wealthy hedge-fund investors, and political connections across the Beltway. He is the chief spokesman for a neo-con circle advising Romney, one including more controversial hard-liners such as Bush's UN ambassador John Bolton. Senor's sister, Wendy Singer, is the AIPAC - critically known as the "Israeli lobby" - representative in Israel.

      Ryan's famous budget-slashing plan for the US, approved twice in the House of Representatives, does not include a nickel reduction in the Pentagon budget. And while Ryan has given little-reported foreign policy speeches extolling "American exceptionalism" to the applause of neo-conservatives, he has carved his reputation as a deficit-fighter on domestic budgetary issues. Since foreign policy is likely to be a marginal issue in the campaign, a Romney-Ryan victory would mean a smooth pathway to restoration for the neo-cons who dominated the Bush foreign policy. Their core constituencies of fundamentalist Christians and ultra-hawkish Jews would benefit from a Romney-Ryan scenario despite lack of any majority support for their militarist agendas in America. If they go to war, it will be without an informed public mandate. Adding Ryan to the ticket will appeal to the Tea Party constituency of Ron Paul libertarians while masking their big government militarism.

      The Obama Democrats would be on solid ground arguing that Romney-Ryan represent a return to the Bush era not only on economic issues but on foreign policy as well. A Democratic attack on "the same people that caused the Great Recession" could be supplemented by a parallel warning against "the same people who fabricated our way into Iraq." But it remains to be seen whether Obama-Biden or their Democratic surrogates will attack the neo-con resurgence on any such grounds.

      It is not in the Republican campaign's interest to strongly highlight foreign policy differences with Obama. By their historic nature, the neo-conservatives are elitists who tend to infiltrate foreign policy infrastructures, a pattern that began when they were followers of the venerable Trotskyist Max Shachtman as long ago as the 1930s. They evolved to become militantly pro-Israel in the late 1960s when many quit the Democratic Party and migrated into the Republican Party in response to the New Left and civil rights movements. There they made a home for themselves as fierce anti-Communists and ultra-Zionist hawks despite the blunt anti-Semitism of Richard Nixon and the Fundamentalist Christian script for the Second Coming in which the Jews either convert or disappear. They played an instrumental role in the Central American wars before their direct engagement in the Iraq War and the Bush presidency.

      Their primary target today is regime change in Iran. Among their primary allies in this effort are Netanyahu and Adelson. The strategy requires occasional saber rattling and Obama-bashing, but is primarily waged with discretion, "off camera" as Robert Kaplan wrote in his 2003 Atlantic article, "Supremacy by Stealth."

      Just as the Romney-Ryan campaign is a Trojan horse for the Tea Party, it also provides protective cover for the return of the neo-cons. Fighting Obama on deficit reductions is fine with the neo-cons as long as they win – and cutting war budgets are off the table.

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      Reader Comments (5)

      Unfortunately the average American is so naive, programmable, tribal/clannish, Americanism and easily brainwashed by the pro money media. The AIPAC is quite a clever organization; they use money very effectively to buy influence in congress to dominate the main stream media. It is worth noting that I have even seen and heard their representatives preaching pro-Israeli anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian lectures at rural and semi-rural protestant Churches in the west. Similarly the neo-con/AIPAC plus fundamentalist evangelical Christians are coalescing to further increase their influence over the lives of ordinary Americans. I fail to see what the middle class and poor Christians gain from their blind support for Israel and militarism other than perhaps some aid to the war veterans those lucky enough to come back alive. The only counter venue still somewhat available to us is the internet which we have to use at maximum efficiency to offset their deadly impact.

      August 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertimebr

      Building a war is a huge project, requiring the mobilization of millions of full-time people, paid and unpaid. The operation of the war system in the U.S. can be understood. It is self-referential and indifferent to anything else in the world but its own networks of patronage and support. Crucially, it has captured most of the discretionary spending of the US government and taxation system (upon which it completely depends), and apparently allocates the rest to keep the population calm. OK, nuffa this. What you can do is identify one or another of the components of the war system, which includes the military complex (MICCdiagram) but also many other components of media, church, schools, Internet and political apparatus described by Tom Hayden. Recognize what you can do to stop them, and commit decades of your life to stopping them. I do video, for example. But do SOMETHING real, as well as talking and thinking.

      August 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTodd Boyle

      Hope more people read this. I'm so sick of corporations and the military industrial complex. So glad that my eyes were opened about Israel and what they did and continue to do to the Palestinians. Wish for peace and understanding between all peoples but guess that is utopian theory.

      August 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDorisVH

      Israel is hell bound on waging a war because it sees the trend of development in the entire Arab world bearing ill omen for Israel. After fruition the new trend will demand the full restoration of Palestinian rights, which Israel has usurped and opposed to this day. Therefore Israel sees war as the mean to break the momentum of the trend toward total total liberation from America and genuine democracy for the masses. Neither the US's MIC, nor Israel want the trend to reach fruition. They are dtermined to curtail it.

      August 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbderrahman Ulfat

      Ron Paul Libertarians do not trust Ryan.

      September 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjay lindberg

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