On issues ranging from nonproliferation to terrorism to U.S. policy toward Iran, neoconservatives and far-right hawks have attempted to hijack their own party’s agenda, bucking bipartisan opinion and trashing decades of conservative expertise and accomplishment. When the minority leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee speaks out in public against his own leadership, a trend is afoot that is dangerous for the country and carries serious political risk. On the range of issues that the hard right has chosen to politicize, it risks defying views widely held by Americans, and in the end, marginalizing only themselves.
Last week, Newsweek reported that the U.S. intelligence community would be revising the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran. Reports on the content of this revised intelligence estimate on Iran have coincided with broader efforts by some neoconservatives to politicize intelligence gathering, raising the possibility of neoconservative intelligence manipulation to beat the war-drum on Iran.
Not only was this the case in the run-up to the Iraq war, but following the release of the 2007 NIE on Iran, which dealt a severe setback to war talk against Iran, several prominent neoconservatives attacked the intelligence community for a releasing an estimate that failed to advance their dangerous arguments for military action.
Afghanistan remains critical to the security of the United States and the region. But after years of neglect by the Bush administration the situation in Afghanistan is dire; regional experts, progressives and foreign policy realists are voicing important questions about whether, how and to what end the situation can be turned around. The Obama administration is engaging skeptics, as it seeks to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy. Unfortunately, largely absent from the debate is a credible voice among the conservative opposition in Congress, now dominated by neoconservative thinking. Their calls for a massive, never-ending military commitment reflect the same misguided thinking and over-militarized approach that we saw over the last eight years. This conflict is not one that will simply be “won” by sending in more troops; instead, a positive outcome is dependent on diplomatic, political, and developmental efforts. The President must unveil realistic goals and expectations for American involvement and advance the implementation of a comprehensive strategy that is in line with America’s broader national security interests.
Six years after the war began, a popular and political consensus has emerged on the way forward. This new consensus represents an important turning point in the debate over Iraq -- and an important early victory for the Administration’s ability to enunciate and build support for national security policies that are pragmatic, progressive and widely supported.
There are few things more unnerving, even on Halloween, than Senator McCain’s positions on foreign policy. The area was supposed to be a major McCain strength, but over the course of this campaign it has become increasingly clear that McCain holds extremely neoconservative positions.
For the past thirty years, the Republican party’s foreign policy establishment has consisted of an uneasy alliance between Neoconservatives and pragmatists. The Iraq war put the alliance under great strain. The decision of Colin Powell, long a leader in the pragmatic conservative camp, to endorse Barack Obama is the strongest of recent signals that the alliance is broken for good.