Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Neocon Fantasy is Dead

Two motifs--inextricably intertwined--run through much of the blogging about Israel and Hezbollah:

(1) The Neocons are using this 'war' as an opportunity to fight a proxy war against Iran and Syria.

(2) If we get involved in this conflict, we better have real, responsible, open debate, where the press does it's job and gives the American people the information it needs to make the best decision.

The resounding concern is that (2) will not happen (assuming we do get dragged into this) because of (1). The idea is that the Neocons finally have the power to enact their fantasies of an all out war in the Middle East. While most expert bloggers in this area are pretty confident that we are likely to get involved in Israel's war, I, perhaps foolishy, beg to differ. The (liberal) Girl Next Door (LGND) argues, for example, that our involvement would spell a victory for Republicans in the mid-term elections. I don't see it. I am willing to bet that I am still pollyannish about this. But, except for the true believers in Neocon foreign policy--a class of individuals that I imagine is dwindling--most Americans, including Republicans, seem to be increasingly distrustful of this administration. I do think that if Shrub tries to rally Americans behind another military offensive, most Americans will reject it. Perhaps Senators won't at first, probably fearing their electability if they were to dissent from Shrub's foolish foreign policy, but I have some faith that the American people will push back this time. I also think the press will do it's job this time as well. The crushing reality of the disaster that is Iraq seems emblazoned in most peoples' minds. Look, I am not talking about the dedicated Bush lovers. But, I think it's fair to say that most Americans are concerned about us dedicating any more troops or military resources towards an unwinnable war in the Middle East.

In fact, I imagine that if Bush presses forward with this it will hurt the GOP in mid-term elections. Do Americans really want to send more of their sons and daughters to the desert to fight Israel's war--a war likely to have 3 or more fronts? I think Michael Lerner is absolutely right when he says:

While partisans on all sides of this struggle must abandon their fantasy of ultimate justification of their claims, a clear first step is to dismiss the neo-con fantasy of a global war of civilizations, with its accompanying notion that this is the best way to reframe the globalization of capital and American corporate domination of the world as a path to expand democracy and human rights. That fantasy is dead -- the Iraq invasion and subsequent tragedy has removed it from any level of plausibility. Let's not let the neo-cons use the violence between Israel, Palestine and Lebanon as an excuse to try to revive that which ought to be put to eternal rest.

I too think the Neocon fantasy is dead. I know we are far from returning to sanity on issues like Stem Cell Research, Executive Power, Reproductive Freedom, Fiscal Responsibility ad nauseum, but it does seem clear that Shrub's foreign policy (rather lack thereof) has failed to inspire confidence in the American people.