FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Neocon Redux

President Barack Obama’s sin at the first Presidential debate was one of misunderstanding the rules.  The rules, that is, of theatre.  American presidential politics has for at least two generations been a matter of the forced smile, the folksy refrain, the false sense of interest in the people.  But when he decided to treat Romney as a sparring partner at a school debate, or at the very least a village idiot’s gathering, he came across as “detached”. The hideous reaction to the President’s disinterested behaviour has spawned a host of impromptu advisors seeking a retainer with the President.  Please Mr. President, we are here to help you deceive.

The age of ramped up deception is certainly upon us.  Mitt Romney chose to tell his audience at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington that he is keen on aping an old neoconservative platform.  He chose, with a certain degree of ill-informed guise, the words of George Marshall.  “The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.” This is hardly believable, but then again, this is Mitt, a person so malleable as a gummy character he is hard to pin down.

The world is a terrifying place for Romney, but he is happy to shed light upon the darkness and add a rudder to a directionless war machine.  He speaks of “mobs” shouting “Death to America” across the globe.  “As the dust settles, as the murdered are buried, Americans are asking how this happened, how the threats we face have grown so much worse, and what this calls on America to do.” Naivety has its place, but not here.

Behind the shoulder of Romney remain neoconservative pressures that are becoming all too familiar.  Complex rules of realpolitik are matters of inhibition for the dark arts of neoconservative philosophy. The freedom game, something America exports with spectacular, bloody ineptitude, is starting to find voice in the Romney arsenal.  “Statesmen like Marshall rallied our nation to rise to its responsibilities as the leader of the free world. We helped our friends to build and sustain free societies and free markets.”  Such atrocious simplicity shows Romney’s vision – stuck somewhere after the drafting of George Frost Kennan’s Long Telegram and before Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars initiative.

Romney scolds the President for ignoring American exceptionalism (something that all President’s irritatingly harp on about).  He bristles at Obama’s laxity towards Iran.  “It has never posed a greater danger to our friends, our allies, and to us.”  “Gains” made in Iraq were being “eroded” by an “insurgent Al-Qaeda, the weakening of democracy in Baghdad, and the rising influence of Iran.”  That is not so much Obama’s failing as the exporting of democracy, a decidedly unreliable capital in foreign “markets”.

This is a just a sprinkling of military omens in Romney’s Lexington show.  Syria’s bloody conflict demands attention.  Russian strength must be countered.  Romney wants a more active NATO, with member states setting aside 2 percent of their GDP.  When budgets for militaries should be slashed and social programs improved, Romney wants the gun toting establishments rewarded.  To excite the military professionals, he promises more blood.  “Drones and the modern instruments of war are important tools in our fight, but they are no substitute for a national security for the Middle East.”

Such terrible things happen when people and nations start seeking justice – notably when it comes to doing it to others.  And Romney’s label as he starts to gain some sense of traction against the President, is proving to be a tired one – delusionary exporter of freedom, and the bloody hand of more foreign wars.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

 

Clearance Sale of Vintage
CounterPunch T-Shirts!

We’ve marked down some of CounterPunch’s most popular t-shirts to only$8.00,including the CP shirt featuring Alexander Cockburn’s own scrawl.

 

More articles by:

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
April 06, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism
W. T. Whitney
Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die
Cesar Chelala
Cuba’s Promising Approach to Cancer
David A. Schultz
Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump
Nomi Prins 
Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus
Dean Baker
Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually
Dave Lindorff
Neither Pandemic Nor Economic Collapse is Going to Be a Short-Lived Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
Capitalism in America Has Dropped the Mask: Its Face is Cruel and Selfish
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 7 Pro-Contagion Reversals Increase the Coronavirus Toll
David Swanson
A Department of Actual Defense in a Time of Coronavirus
Ellen Brown
Was the Fed Just Nationalized?
Jeff Birkenstein
Postcards From Trump
Nick Licata
Authoritarian Leaders Rejected the Danger of a COVID-19 Pandemic Because It Challenged Their Image
Kathy Kelly
“He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else”
Graham Peebles
Change Love and the Need for Unity
Kim C. Domenico
Can We Transform Fear to Strength In A Time of Pandemic?
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Files Lawsuit to Stop Logging and Burning Project in Rocky Mountain Front Inventoried Roadless Area
Stephen Cooper
“The Soul Syndicate members dem, dem are all icons”: an Interview with Tony Chin
Weekend Edition
April 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Omar Shaban
Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19
Rob Urie
Work, Crisis and Pandemic
John Whitlow
Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day
Jonathan Cook
The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus
Paul Street
Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Control of Nature
Louis Proyect
COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper
Kathleen Wallace
The Highly Contagious Idea
Kenneth Good
The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.
Andrew Levine
Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.
Ramzy Baroud
Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic
Matthew Stevenson
Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?
Ron Jacobs
Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed
Michael T. Klare
Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?
Jack Rasmus
COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class
Werner Lange
The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times
J.P. Linstroth
Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race
John Feffer
We Need a Coronavirus Truce
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier
Victor Grossman
Corona and What Then?
Katie Fite
Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage
Patrick Bond
Covid-19 Attacks the Down-and-Out in Ultra-Unequal South Africa
Eve Ottenberg
Capitalism vs. Humanity
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 2: Panic On the Streets of Tehran
Jonas Ecke
Would Dying for the Economy Help Anybody?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail