The emerging Democratic-neoconservative alliance

The neoconservatives have had a terrible influence on US politics. They gained a firm foothold in the Bush-Cheney administration and succeeded in pushing for disastrous wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and threatening war against Iran. Their goal was the destabilization of the Arab governments in the region, and the dynamic they created resulted in the Obama administration continuing the policies and leading to chaos in yet more nations like Libya and Syria. The resulting blowback with the rise of groups like ISIS resulted in the neoconservatives being discredited and lying low for awhile but they are making a comeback.

They are being helped in their rehabilitation by the warm embrace of the Democratic party establishment. Their ticket to this acceptance? Being critical of Donald Trump. All the villains who were cheerleaders for wars: Bill Kristol, Max Boot, David Frum, Dan Senor, Robert Kagan, and Andrew Sullivan and publications like The Weekly Standard are using their anti-Trump positions to become Democratic and media darlings. The alliance is manifesting itself in new groups like the Alliance for Securing Democracy. (Pro-tip: Just like the words ‘family’ and ‘values’ in a group’s title suggests that the group is likely to be anti-gay and anti-choice, so is any indication of promoting democracy in other countries a sign that the real goal is destablization and the overthrow of governments.)

Glenn Greenwald writes that this emerging neoconservative alliance began quietly some time ago even before Trump came into prominence, largely because the warmongering agenda of the neoconservatives had much in common with the belligerent policies of Hillary Clinton.

It is, in fact, the ultimate union of mainstream Democratic foreign policy officials and the world’s most militant, and militaristic, neocons. The group is led by two longtime Washington foreign policy hands, one from the establishment Democratic wing and the other a key figure among leading GOP neocons.

Greenwald goes on to look at the people in this and related organizations and what their real goals are.

In sum — just as was true of the first Cold War, when neocons made their home among the Cold Warriors of the Democratic Party — on the key foreign policy controversies, there is now little to no daylight between leading Democratic Party foreign policy gurus and the Bush-era neocons who had wallowed in disgrace following the debacle of Iraq and the broader abuses of the war on terror. That’s why they are able so comfortably to unify this way in support of common foreign policy objectives and beliefs.

One finds evidence of this alliance long before the emergence of Trump. Victoria Nuland, for instance, served as one of Dick Cheney’s top foreign policy advisers during the Bush years. Married to one of the most influential neocons, Robert Kagan, Nuland then seamlessly shifted into the Obama State Department and then became a top foreign policy adviser to the Clinton campaign.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF this reunion are profound and long-term. Neocons have done far more damage to the U.S., and the world, than any other single group — by a good margin. They were the architects of the invasion of Iraq and the lies that accompanied it, the worldwide torture regime instituted after 9/11, and the general political climate that equated dissent with treason.

Another sign of this emerging alliance is that the Center for American Progress, a home of the Democratic party establishment, is now even publishing articles by Danielle Pletka. Who is Pletka? She is employed by the American Enterprise Institute, which is neoconservative central and was one of the most vociferous cheerleaders for the Iraq war. Someone who once worked for her as a summer researcher wrote in 2009 about his experience:

I was rarely if ever asked to perform background research on a subject but was more often asked to provide specific evidence to support ready made assertations. At the time AEI was mobilizing in support of military action against Iraq, and it was quite clear to me that the academic process was reversed – positions designed, research dug up to support the positions. At the time I was shocked that my undergraduate professors had higher standards for scholarship than one of the more influential think tanks in the country, but I learned quickly that winning the argument and scoring points mattered much more to their scholars than any sort of genuine attempt at elucidating the world around them.

Danielle Pletka’s article on Iran is the academic equivalent of mad libs. The form is set by the neoconservative agenda, and she mobilizes a narrative that fills in the blanks to serve that agenda. Unwilling if not incapable of producing an article any other way, she is more than content to reverse engineer her position with a strict liner logic. Her final statement is telling. “…Iran neither needs nor wants accommodation with the West,” and it is clear to me this would have been her conclusion regardless of what the preceding 800 words had been.

This is the kind of person that the Democratic party establishment is now embracing. The undermining by the party establishment on the progressive initiatives promoted by Bernie Sanders and others, and the defense of once-reviled organizations like the FBI, CIA, and NSA are all indications of how the party establishment and the neoconservatives are joined at the hip by their deep affection for the national security state.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    The same thing happens with a lot of “progressive” news media: for instance, “liberal” MSNBC gives a lot of air time to star correspondent Nicole Wallace (formerly of the George Dubious Bush administration), while sites like Alternet give prominent headlines to their endless stream of cheap summaries of articles by the likes of George Will and Jennifer Rubin and any other anti-Trump Repub they can dredge up.

    In a saner world, we’d have some sort of further- (actually-) left organizations to turn to, but that space has been preempted by compromised and dysfunctional entities like the Green Party®.

  2. jrkrideau says

    Arguably the neocons have done more to turn contribute to the decline of the US as a world superpower than anyone and the Democrats are cozying up to them?

    American politics have gone completely mad. Though, a lot of Democrats seem pretty warprone so maybe this is not all that weird.

  3. mnb0 says

    “the belligerent policies of Hillary Clinton.”
    In a sick way this is why I’m more or less happy that Donald the Clown won. Me not being an American I rather have an incompetent war monger than a competent one in the White House.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    The ridiculous thing is that to anyone not blinded by living in the US, it is obvious that the Democrats ARE new-conservative by any reasonable definition of the term. Only in America would Drone-bama and Clinton have passed for “progressive” or in any sense “left”.

  5. Jean says

    If all those claiming to want to bring democracy to the rest of the world would instead concentrate on bringing it to the US before looking outside, the rest of the world would be safe for the next few hundreds of years at least.
    The US is closer to a banana republic (an extremely rich and powerful one but still…) than to any sort of real democracy. And Trump only makes it more obvious and easier to remain that way. But people in the US are completely blind to it because american exceptionalism…

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ 5 sonofrojblake
    I remember reading that a number of Republican large donors felt that Hillary Clinton was too left wing! Well she is left of Hitler.

  7. Curt Sampson says

    @sonofrojblake: Exactly. I don’t know that the U.S. has ever had a real left-of-centre party of any significance.

    Even back in the 1961 this was mocked. In the Beyond the Fringe ‘America’ sketch, Dudley Moore is going from Britain to America soon and Jonathan Miller explains what to expect:

    Miller: Of course they have inherited our two-party system.
    Bennet: How does that work?
    Miller: Well, let me see now. They’ve got the Republican party, you see,
    which is the equivalant of our Conservative party, and then there’s the
    Democractic party, which is the equivalant of our conservative party.
    [pause] And then of course there are are the liberals, in the shape of
    people like…, um…, well…
    All: Mmm….yes.

    The Conservative party in the U.K. regularly has a go at the National Health Service, but they (or any other even more right-wing party in the U.K.) wouldn’t even think about trying to bring the health system down to the level of something like Obamacare. When the supposed party of the left in a country struggles to get things to a point to which right-wing parties in other countries wouldn’t consider regressing, you’d think it’d be obvious which “wing” has won.

  8. aashiq says

    Very perceptive of Greenwald. As always, the primary drivers in the Mideast are Israel, and the oil and weapons industries. The neocons put Israel’s welfare first, and happily negotiate compromises with the oil sheikhs and arms merchants.

    Even if they win and remove Trump, the Democrats are unlikely to reverse his giveaways to the super rich. Either deficits will continue to mushroom and depreciate the dollar, or social programs will have to be cut. Either way, the middle will continue to slump and suffer. And, be increasingly receptive to another big war.

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