Friday, September 18, 2015

Paleo Conservatives and Neo-Conservatives.

I have been surprised on several occasions in the last year to find that I am in agreement with the writings of so-called "Paleo-Conservatives" - in particular Pat Buchanan and Scott McConnell, both I believe founding members of The American Conservative.

Their take on international affairs is orthogonal to that of the neoconservatives. For example back in July, Buchanan expressed sensible views on the nuclear weapons deal which had just been hammered out with Iran, and the potential cost to the US and the Republican party if it was rejected. And McConnell had an interesting article entitled "Why is America Addicted to War" ( in which he questioned the dangerous US policy in Ukraine.

Today I came across Buchanan's article "Putin: Friend or Foe" ( in which he discusses Russian policy in Syria.

Rather than follow the mainstream press line that whatever Putin does must necessarily be bad and therefore opposed by the West, he asks the sensible question of what is the motive for Putin's action. He quotes Winston Churchill:

“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

He then analyzes Putin's policy and finds it far more rational than that being pursued by Washington.  Defeating Assad, he points out, would likely lead to an ISIS or similarly minded government in Damascus, something that Russia wants to avoid at all costs.  The policy the US is pursuing would likely lead to that very outcome.  Is that what they really want?

Again the "Cock-Up vs. Conspiracy" dichotomy comes to the fore.  Are policy makers in Washington so stupid as to not realize the consequences of Assad's defeat?  Or is that what they really want - a radical Islamic state with territory extending from the borders of Lebanon to the edges of Bagdad with ethnic murder on the scale not seen since WW2?  As Buchanan points out this would inevitably lead to calls for a full-scale US invasion and a war which would probably define a generation.

No comments:

Post a Comment