Archive for the 'Richard Perle' Category

A Chosen People without God–The Rise of the Neocons

Grant Havers | Taki’s Magazine | March 13, 2008

It is always risky to write the obituary of neoconservatism, despite the now fashionable view that this is an idea whose time is finally gone. As Jacob Heilbrunn demonstrates in They Knew They Were Right: The Rise Of The Neocons, the neoconservatives have always been a tenacious bunch. Who could have predicted that a small group of ex-Trotskyite intellectuals would not only shape foreign policy for the Republican Party in the last three decades but also reinvent conservatism in America? Heilbrunn, a former senior editor of The New Republic, wisely prefers to emphasize the past success of the neoconservatives rather than offer ironclad predictions about their future influence, settling for rather safe forecasts such as his claim that American soldiers will be in Iraq for another four years, whoever wins the election in 2008.

The title of the book is Heilbrunn’s essential explanation for the success of the neoconservatives—they knew they were right. Their sheer self-confidence of the neoconservatives, their belief that they have The Answer, is astounding and goes a long way in explaining their stunning victories. For this reason, the author emphasizes the radical origins of the movement.  Heilbrunn offers a readable (though not terribly original) account of how the future leaders of neoconservatism (especially Irving Kristol) got their start as public intellectuals engaged in various fratricidal battles between Trotskyites and Stalinists in the 1930s and 1940s.  Despite this parochial beginning, these former leftist radicals—who eventually became ardent anti-Communists—possessed the will to power necessary to enter and then transform the mainstream of American politics, especially on the right. As they eventually moved from the left to the right in the 1970s, this will to change the world through endless promotion of their ideas never flagged. Continue reading ‘A Chosen People without God–The Rise of the Neocons’

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The War on Terror has been Done Before!

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb: the story of the entire postwar superpower arms race, climaxing during the Reagan-Gorbachev decade when the United States and the Soviet Union came within scant hours of nuclear war—and then nearly agreed to abolish nuclear weapons.

In a narrative that reads like a thriller, Rhodes reveals how the Reagan administration’s unprecedented arms buildup in the early 1980s led ailing Soviet leader Yuri Andropov to conclude that Reagan must be preparing for a nuclear war. In the fall of 1983, when NATO staged a larger than usual series of field exercises that included, uniquely, a practice run-up to a nuclear attack, the Soviet military came very close to launching a defensive first strike on Europe and North America. With Soviet aircraft loaded with nuclear bombs warming up on East German runways, U.S. intelligence organizations finally realized the danger. Then Reagan, out of deep conviction, launched the arms-reduction campaign of his second presidential term and set the stage for his famous 1986 summit meeting with Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland, and the breakthroughs that followed.

Rhodes reveals the early influence of neoconservatives and right-wing figures such as , Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz. We see how Perle in particular sabotaged the Reykjavik meeting by convincing Reagan that mutual nuclear disarmament meant giving up his cherished dream of strategic defense (the Star Wars system). Rhodes’s detailed exploration of these and other events constitutes a prehistory of the neoconservatives, demonstrating that the manipulation of government and public opinion with fake intelligence and threat inflation that the administration of George W. Bush has used to justify the current “war on terror” and the disastrous invasion of Iraq were developed and applied in the Reagan era and even before.

Drawing on personal interviews with both Soviet and U.S. participants, and on a wealth of new documentation, memoir literature, and oral history that has become available only in the past ten years, Rhodes recounts what actually happened in the final years of the Cold War that led to its dramatic end. The story is new, compelling, and continually surprising—a revelatory re-creation of a hugely important era of our recent history.

Continue reading ‘The War on Terror has been Done Before!’


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Adams in Patriotic Mode

“What do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations…This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.” John Adams

The Declaration of Independence

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