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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Being modern « Previous | |Next »
April 19, 2003

I have previously mentioned in passing the fracturing of Reaganite conservatism in the US between the neo-cons running the foreign policy and the paleo-conservatives (one nation conservatives). It is a fault line judging by Among the Neocons, which was a response to this attack.

In contrast, Australian conservatism remains cohesive. Both the One Nation conservatism of Fortress Australia, (centred around Tampa, detention centres for asylum seekers and closed borders to refugees) and the neocon's (with their all the way with the US to manage the terrorist threat, war with Iraq and Australia's role as loyal ally of the US in the world of nations) are both firmly locked in behind John Howard. It is the left liberals who are on the defensive. They hold the Iraq war to be wrong and the closed borders refugee policy to be immoral; see the US superpower to be a threat; claim that Howard is a racist populist, and argue that Australia's liberal values are being corrupted. These left liberal views, which are articulated by the ABC and the Fairfax Press, have a beseiged air about them.

Australian conservatives are not a very good guide to the conservative understanding of the geopolitics of the Middle East. It is more fruitful to turn to those American One Nation conservatives, such as Pat Buchanan, who are dissenting from the US neo-con stategy. In his To Baghdad and Beyond Pat Buchanan explores the consequences of the first war of American empire. He makes 3 points re US neo-con foreign policy.

1. To the neoconservatives Iraq is but the first engagement of a long war for glory, empire, and “democratization” of the Islamic world;

2. The neocons will fight to kill Tony Blair's proposed road map for the Palestinian/Israeli conflict to implement peace in the Middle East. Sharon and his right-wing Israeli regime reject this idea utterly and were elected to resist such a peace.

3.Turkey holds that an independent Kurdistan is a mortal threat to the unity and territorial integrity of their country, Turks are determined not to let the Kurds take over the oil fields that could make a Kurdistan a viable state. To prevent it, Turkey is prepared to invade.

Buchanan says that with victory and the occupation of Iraq by American troops, America's time of troubles in the region have only just begun. He 's right. The signs of the troubles are the pressure for a conservative or fundamentalist Shiite regime; conflict with Syria and calls by Iraq's neighbours for the US to let Iraqis form their own government..

Buchanan does not say what the neo-cons have signed up to in terms of understanding history. We can gainan insight here if we turn to English conservatives, such as John Gray. He argues that the neocons believe:

"...that modernisation is a process that can have only one result, the universal spread of American-style market states - and that anyone who resists this happy outcome is struggling against the irresistible forces of history."

The neocons assume that there is only one way of being modern and it is American. Thats what John Howard style conservatism presupposes.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:42 PM | | Comments (2)


Its a bit more complicated then that, but we'll let that pass through to the keeper!

and what worries me is, now that we're part of the Bush posse, how on earth do we say no to participation in future conflicts? you can just hear Bush wheedling, "but come on, boys, you helped me get Saddam. you're not going to chicken out of gettin' the others, right?"