LobeLog on Facebook   LobeLog on Facebook











David Petraeus Finally Answers His Own Question

by Tom Engelhardt It took 14 years, but now we have an answer. It was March...

Message no image

Published on November 11th, 2010 | by Eli Clifton

0

Scott McConnell: “How the Neocons Are Co-opting the Tea Party”

Founding editor of The American Conservative, Scott McConnell, has just published an in-depth analysis of the origins of the Tea Party’s foreign policy and how the Tea Party may influence foreign policy in the new Congress.

McConnell, in an article for Right Web, traces the Tea Party’s foreign policy pronouncements back to Sarah Palin and her close relationship with neoconservative heavyweight Bill Kristol. Kristol, as described by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker, “discovered” Palin the summer before John McCain put her on the Republican national ticket.

McConnell writes:

McCain enlisted influential neoconservative Randy Scheunemann as a policy advisor, and in turn Scheunemann brought on Steve Biegun as her chief foreign policy staffer. Palin’s previous foreign policy pronouncements had been vague and scattered, but she became an eager student. She made hawkish noises during the campaign: while she spoke more loosely than expected about the possibility of war with Russia, she forthrightly supported an Israeli strike on Iran. Despite efforts by paleoconservatives to reach out to her and provide some counterinfluence, she stayed on message—which would have considerable significance as she became a political star in her own right.

Palin has continued to hit neoconservative talking points even while the Tea Party movement has, at times, called for cuts in government spending and rejected the Bush administration’s military adventurism.

McConnell observes:

She reliably echoes neoconservative talking points about war with Iran. When addressing the Tea Party Convention in Nashville last February, she hit neocon talking points by citing Ronald Reagan, “peace through strength,” and “tough action” against Iran.

And

Wearing an Israeli flag pin, she charged that President Obama was causing “Israel, our critical ally” to question our support by reaching out to hostile regimes.

But Palin’s apparent willingness to uphold Bush’s “freedom agenda” of spreading democracy has not always been received with enthusiasm by Tea Party audiences who embrace small-government.

McConnell writes:

Even David Frum, the prominent neoconservative writer and Iraq war enthusiast who has expressed deep skepticism regarding Palin and the Tea Party, praised the foreign policy segments of her speech, claiming that she sounded as “somebody who knew something of what he or she was talking about.” Live blogging her talk, Frum tellingly observed that Tea Partiers sat on their hands during these segments: “Interesting—no applause for sanctions on Iran. No applause for Palin’s speculation that democracies keep the peace.”

While Tea Party members are, understandably, skeptical of the benefits of “nation building,” neoconservatives such as Frank Gaffney have capitalized on the movement’s nativist leanings by hyping the threat of “creeping Shariah.” Islamophobic fear mongering has proven itself a more effective tool for bringing, otherwise isolationist, Tea Partiers behind the neoconservative’s foreign policy.

And besides, a militarist foreign policy is far less expensive—dare I say “more fiscally responsible”?—if the nation building is cut from the budget.

McConnell writes:

Asked at a recent Washington forum whether the new Congress would support or oppose an attack on Iran, Colin Dueck, author of Hard Line: The Republican Party and U.S. Foreign Policy since World War ll, quipped that if you do air strikes you don’t have to do nation building. In this sense, the budget constraints which Tea Party candidates worry about may be much less a barrier to near term neoconservative foreign policy ambitions than might be imagined.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Comments are closed.


About the Author

avatar

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



Back to Top ↑
  • Named after veteran journalist Jim Lobe, LobeLog provides daily expert perspectives on US foreign policy toward the Middle East through investigative reports and analyses from Washington to Tehran and beyond. It became the first weblog to receive the Arthur Ross Award for Distinguished Reporting and Analysis of Foreign Affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2015.

  • Categories

  • Subscribe

    Enter your email address to subscribe to our site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Popular Posts

  • Comments Policy

    We value your opinion and encourage you to comment on our postings. To ensure a safe environment we will not publish comments that involve ad hominem attacks, racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory language, or anything that is written solely for the purpose of slandering a person or subject.

    Excessively long comments may not be published due to their length. All comments are moderated. LobeLog does not publish comments with links.

    Thanks for reading and we look forward to hearing from you!