Neo­cons aid­ing ’08 Repub­li­cans to tra­di­tion­al­ists’ dis­may

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Ralph Z. Hallow

Most Amer­i­cans dis­ap­prove of the Iraq war and of ex­port­ing democ­racy by force, yet neo­con­ser­va­tive pro­po­nents of those poli­cies ad­vise the lead­ing Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls.

“There is an over­whelm­ing pres­ence of neo­con­ser­va­tives and ab­sence of tra­di­tional con­ser­va­tives that I don’t know what to make of,” said Richard V. Allen, for­mer Rea­gan White House na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser.

Ad­vis­ers to Sen. John McCain of Ari­zona in­clude Robert Ka­gan, co­founder of the neo­con­ser­va­tive Project for the New Amer­i­can Cen­tury (PNAC), while for­mer New York Mayor Ru­dolph W. Gi­u­liani’s pol­icy team in­cludes Norman Pod­horetz, a founder of the neo­con­ser­va­tive move­ment, and for­mer Mas­sachusetts Gov. Mitt Rom­ney gets ad­vice from Dan Senor, who coun­seled L. Paul Bre­mer III, the Coali­tion Pro­vi­sional Author­ity ad­min­is­tra­tor in Iraq.

Crit­ics say neo­con­ser­vatism casts Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy as a new and benev­o­lent form of im­pe­ri­al­ism and con­flicts with the tra­di­tional con­ser­va­tive, who prefers U.S. mil­i­tary power be re­served for de­fend­ing against di­rect threats to Amer­ica’s vi­tal in­ter­ests.

De­fense an­a­lyst Tom Donnelly says that by sur­round­ing them­selves with such ad­vis­ers, Repub­li­can can­di­dates sim­ply ap­peal to likely pri­mary vot­ers.

“The pub­lic in gen­eral op­poses the war, but Repub­li­can pri­mary vot­ers are gen­er­ally more sup­port­ive of the war,” says Mr. Donnelly, a res­i­dent fel­low at the Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute. Be­sides, he ar­gues, “an­ti­war vot­ers aren’t likely to vote for an an­ti­war Repub­li­can over an an­ti­war Demo­crat.”

Yet more than four years into the Iraq war, tra­di­tion­al­ists say, even many Repub­li­can vot­ers may be weary of the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­ter­ven­tion­ist poli­cies.

“Be­cause Repub­li­cans are sup­port­ive of the pres­i­dent and the war, that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean they are sup­port­ive of a pol­icy that em­braces con­tin­u­ing the war and con­tin­u­ing na­tion-build­ing,” said Philip Gi­raldi, the for­mer CIA coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cial who is the Francis Wals­ing­ham Fel­low for the Amer­i­can Con­ser­va­tive De­fense Al­liance. “It’s a mis­read­ing of the Repub­li­can elec­torate.”

Fa­mous as “Amer­ica’s mayor” for ral­ly­ing New York­ers af­ter the Septem­ber 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks, Mr. Gi­u­liani’s se­lec­tion of for­eign­pol­icy ad­vis­ers prompted the For­ward, an in­flu­en­tial Jewish pub­li­ca­tion, to run a story last month head­lined: “Gi­u­liani Stacks Cam­paign Staff With a Who’s Who Of Mideast Hawks.” Among those is Mr. Pod­horetz, who in May wrote a Wall Street Jour­nal col­umn urg­ing a U.S. at­tack on Iran as “the only ac­tion that can stop Iran from fol­low­ing through on its evil in­ten­tions both to­ward us and to­ward Is­rael.”

Mr. McCain’s cam­paign is also well-stocked with hawks like Mr. Ka­gan, who once de­clared: “Mil­i­tary strength alone will not avail if we do not use it ac­tively to main­tain a world or­der which both sup­ports and rests upon Amer­i­can hege­mony.”

Among Mr. McCain’s many other for­eign-pol­icy ad­vis­ers are for­mer Clin­ton CIA Di­rec­tor R. James Woolsey Jr., who pre­dicted Iraq’s Shi’ite Mus­lims would flock to sup­port the U.S. in the event of war, and Randy Sche­une­mann, who served on the board of PNAC and is a for­mer ad­viser to Mis­sis­sippi Sen. Trent Lott and to for­mer Kansas Sen. Bob Dole’s 1996 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Mr. Sche­une­mann says the McCain team “re­flects the con­tacts he has nur­tured through his years of na­tional se­cu­rity ex­pe­ri­ence” and “re­flect the broad spec­trum of Repub­li­can for­eign pol­icy from real­ists like Henry Kissinger and Alexan­der Haig to some of the most prom­i­nent neo­con­ser­va­tives like Woolsey, Ka­gan and [colum­nist] Max Boot.”

Mr. Rom­ney’s for­eign pol­icy is still “evolv­ing,” said for­mer Min­nesota Rep. Vin We­ber, a Rom­ney ad­viser. In ad­di­tion to Mr. Senor, the Rom­ney for­eign-pol­icy team in­cludes J. Cofer Black, a for­mer State De­part­ment coun­tert­er­ror­ism co­or­di­na­tor who is vice chair­man of the Black­wa­ter USA private se­cu­rity firm.

“I would not de­scribe it as neo­con or anti-neo­con,” said Mr. We­ber, say­ing that Mr. Rom­ney views “in­creases in the size of, and spend­ing for, the mil­i­tary and the global war on ter­ror as his No. 1 pri­or­ity.”

Se­nior for­eign-pol­icy ad­viser for for­mer Ten­nessee Sen. Fred Thompson’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign is Mark Esper, for­mer ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of the Aero­space In­dus­tries of Amer­ica and a for­mer deputy as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of de­fense in the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion. Mr. Thompson’s ad­vis­ers also in­clude for­mer State De­part­ment of­fi­cial El­iz­a­beth Cheney,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.