Neo-cons are knocking at the White House door…again

Drew Sheets, Contributing Writer

Neo-conservatives like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush took charge of the White House in 2000 and immediately implemented and operated an aggressive “global dominance” foreign policy. They were able to accomplish this through a vast network of neo-conservative think tanks such as Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and American Enterprise Institute (AEI). They also used media outlets such as magazines like “The Public Interest” and “The Weekly Standard.”
AEI, founded in 1943, is considered by many to be the most influential neo-con think tank in America today. President George W. Bush appointed more than 12 AEI members to senior positions in his administration.  The members of the group are filled with Ivy League graduates and are linked to many other conservative think tanks and media outlets, including Fox News.
Irving Kristol, a.k.a. “The Godfather of Neo-conservatives” and an AEI member, founded the neo-con magazine “The Public Interest” in 1965, effectively giving neo-conservatives a media platform to push their “American global military dominance” agenda.
Kristol, a social democrat, was one of the first to be called neo-conservative, a term coined in 1973 to criticize Democrats who didn’t support Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.”   Irving loved the neo-conservative title and wore the name proudly like a badge of honor. Neo-cons then criticized Carter for his human rights efforts and for relaxing relations with Russia. By 1983 most neo-cons were Republicans.
In 1995, William Kristol, a Harvard graduate and son of Irving Kristol, founded “The Weekly Standard,” another neo-con magazine full of educated authors pushing U.S. global dominance. In 1997, William founded PNAC and immediately started garnishing support to convince then President Clinton to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power.
In a report PNAC delivered in Sept. 2000, titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” the authors seemed to call for a catastrophic event to occur in order to get public support to push this global military dominance agenda forward. In section five of this report, titled “Creating Tomorrow’s Dominant Force,” PNAC authors acknowledged how swaying public opinion could take a very long time without a catastrophic event by including this sentence:
“Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor,” the report states. PNAC disbanded in 2005 after many war policies in Iraq failed, but William Kristol went on to start a think tank called Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), which fills the same roll as PNAC.
Now that the Republican Primary has taken center stage in American politics, we must ask ourselves if these think tanks are still influential. Most candidates have toned down their pro-war stances, calling for diplomacy and other countries to share the burden of fighting a global war on terror. Front runner Mitt Romney is on record stating that “corporations are people.”  That panders quite a bit to these neo-con pro-corporation beliefs. Romney has also started to use theocratic rhetoric to unify his party, but we haven’t seen much about global military dominance out of him until now.
He gave a speech Oct.7 in South Carolina in which he articulated a need to build up our Navy and continued to push diplomacy through a strong global military presence. To me this speech played right to FPI, AEI and other neo-con groups. He was rewarded handsomely; by Monday morning Romney had jumped eight points in the polls.
President Bush spent more money on social programs than President Clinton and Romney passed a progressive state healthcare bill that was emulated by President Obama‘s federal plan, thus keeping to the socially liberal stance of the ex-Democrat neo-cons. The big difference between Romney and Obama is in foreign policy.
Obama hasn’t done much to change foreign policy, but he did run on an evolutionary approach to foreign policy, not a revolutionary change. Romney seemed to support that for a while, but it seems he has discovered the silent force of the neo-cons, and I predict he will continue to use global military presence rhetoric to attempt to win the election.
If he is successful we will once again be relinquishing the White House to the neo-conservatives, and American Imperialism will continue to expand.