Thursday, September 24, 2009

Of McCain and Neocons

Steve Benen objects to John McCain's constant presence on the Sunday shows:
But there's no reason to assume that McCain is the "leading GOP voice on Afghanistan." Not only are there plenty of other Republicans who approach the issue with the same perspective, but McCain has never demonstrated any particular expertise on Afghanistan -- on the contrary, he has a record of confusion on the war. During the presidential campaign, for example, McCain was both for and against sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan. His most noteworthy contribution to the debate was arguing in 2003 that "we may muddle through in Afghanistan," whatever that means.
Just reminds me of a Gore Vidal book in which a war hero runs for Senate and during the campaign it is revealed that his heroics were made-up bullshit, but he wins the race anyway. The point is clear: never underestimate the power of first impressions. I guess being an old war hero just means that you have endless credibility on military issues, unless you happen to be dovish.

But there is one thing about the neocons that I've noticed that doesn't seem to be a part of the left's critique of them. Basically, neoconservatism at present seems to consist of dividing the world arbitrarily up into friends and enemies, and being uncritically supportive of our friends (like Israel) and unrelentingly hostile toward our enemies. This is basically destructive to our "friends", "enemies" and to ourselves, but let's go on. Evidently, the neocons have decided that Russia is to be an enemy, though I'm not sure why that might be. So, therefore, according to the neocon principle, whatever pisses off Russia is a victory, and whatever makes them happy is a defeat. But don't they get that this philosophy of "strength" is basically another form of appeasement? Nonconformity is the ultimate conformity, of course. Such idiocy would be totally easy to manipulate and is basically reactive and weak, and it largely dependent on what others think instead of what we think. In essence, it's a philosophy (for lack of a better term) that is predicated upon insecurity about our position in the world rather than confidence in our abilities.

I've written before that the neocon worldview is a definite response to American decline in the world--to wit, denial. Now that they don't hold power it's funny to laugh at their childish antics, but I'd love to see them gone for good from the political scene. I'm convinced that only a reform movement on the right will make that happen. What I really want to know is why the media always goes to the most hated group of people in politics today for analysis on virtually everything that goes on in the world. And they definitely are the most hated. I realize that Republicans these days seem to think there's some sort of angle in opposing every single thing Obama does, but if what Obama's doing is conducting a sane, rational, realistic foreign policy, why do they think that doing the opposite of that is a good idea?

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.