The Neocons Are NOT Finished
A conservative is one who sells the misdevelopments of yesterday as solutions for tomorrow.
What conservatives want to conserve is the illusion of a golden age, so that they can ignore all the problems hidden behind the facades.
The only thing conservative politicians want to conserve is their power - secured and expanded by all means.
The only moral conservative politicians follow: forgive the sins of fellow conservatives.
The much-needed reality check comes in a major US paper, the Los Angeles Times, from the pen of editorial writer Jacob Heilbrunn:
Although it is certainly true that the neoconservatives have had to beat a number of tactical retreats, they have not lost the war for Bush's mind. Quite the contrary; that's just wishful thinking by their enemies on both the left and right.
For one thing, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have made no fundamental revisions in foreign policy. Sure, they've made a few modest concessions to Europe and the U.N. on Iraq. But the basics remain unchanged: Bush isn't bailing out of Iraq, and more than 100,000 U.S. troops will remain there for at least another year.
Rather than tone down his rhetoric, Bush has adhered to the twin neoconservative themes of promoting democracy abroad and aggressively employing U.S. military power. "If [the Middle East] is abandoned to dictators and terrorists," he said June 2, "it will be a constant source of violence and alarm, exporting killers of increasing destructive power to attack America and other free nations."
Nor has Bush wavered in his support of Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, an ally of the neocons. The president has insisted that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat be sidelined. He has slapped sanctions on Syria and pushed to isolate Iran. If this is moving away from neoconservatism, what would an embrace look like?
Indeed. And as I wrote earlier, even neocons don't all share the same views, and we can be certain that most of Perle's terms are met whether US rule over Iraq can be maintained or not. (Except, I suspect even he hasn't foreseen how effective an Iraqi guerilla could become to stop oil production - which is more important than most think, because it surely falls into consideration in both the USA's and al-Qaida's plans for what to do after an eventual toppling of the Saudi monarchy.)
But I go even further than Heilbrunn at the end of his article: I don't think neocons will necessarily be finished off if Bush loses to Kerry. They still have their think-thank and media network, and surely are busy extending it further (adding new cover organisations with names as yet unrecognised by the public). And they have the patience to re-emerge later.
Just like they did last time.
And the time before.
Last time, that is after diving at the end of Papa Bush's reign. The last time before, that is after being sidelined upon the revelation of Iran-Contra.
I don't give many chances to (supposedly principled) Paleocons. Rule 1 of conservative politics is the Patriarchal/Feudal Principle: Be Faithful - faithful to the leaders. Ideology takes a second stand. If you are a conservative cynical enough to adapt your ideology (or just rhetorics) for the current powers-that-be, you can have an influence. If not, you'll be sidelined.