Will Neocons ‘Tip Their Hand’ In Tampa, Or Remain In The Shadows? OpEd

This article will attempt to focus greater attention on an area of the current presidential campaign that has received very little notice and virtually no campaign advertising (which drives public opinion and the overall campaign debate): Foreign Policy and a Nuclear Iran. I believe, that with the upcoming Republican Convention (Hurricane Isaac permitting), we may well see an effort by Republicans to “change the subject” away from the Medicare and Abortion debates of late that have provided them little traction in the polls, which mostly show President Obama with a narrow nationwide lead and – electorally – in the nine swing states thought crucial in deciding the presidency in 2012.

I believe that Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Paul Ryan may well become a central player in this campaign strategy shift and, more ominously, is slated to become a major Neocon player in a Romney Administration and possibly a succeeding Ryan Presidency in eight years. I note here and now that regardless of who wins the presidency in 2012, the prospects of yet another war in the Mideast within the next year are great…as a percentage proposition I would say perhaps 75-25 that a military conflict with Iran may be inevitable. Frightened yet? I know I am. I hope you will stay with me while I outline my concerns in this complex area of foreign intrigue and the rather sordid cast of “usual suspects” I attempt to shine a brighter light on. But first,…

A Campaign Recap To Date: 

So far the 2012 Presidential Campaign has focused almost entirely on domestic issues. With Mitt Romney’s selection of six-term Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, 42, two weeks ago in Virginia, the discussion has centered on the controversial “Ryan Budget” and how its furtherance under a Romney Administration would impact everything from Medicare and entitlements to taxes and the deficit/national debt.

This past week, Missouri Congressman Todd Akin’s ill-timed (for the Republican Party) and intemperate ‘gaffe’ on “legitimate rape” and abortion, shifted media and public focus on the Republican “War on Women” and Romney’s huge 15-point gap with women in most recent polls. Democrats have seized on the Akin brouhaha to shine a spotlight on how the Republican Party Platform, adopted last week in Tampa, is actually identical to Akin’s views on abortion, i.e. that “personhood” rights trump any right to abortion for any reason, including pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.

While Republicans have realized that their stated 2012 platform position on “personhood” is widely unpopular (even in Crimson Red States like Mississippi, where proposed “personhood amendments” to state constitutions have been soundly defeated). Now, of course, under the glare of media attention and relentless Democratic attacks, the Republicans are tripping all over themselves, trying to distance themselves from beleaguered congressional hopeful Akin.

This is not because they disagree with his actual position(s) on abortion, but rather, because they simply don’t want the issue to be a focal point in the campaign; knowing it is a loser and likely to widen the “gender-gap.” Many of their other platform planks…on taxes, budget/Medicare, gay rights, etc. are likewise extreme and not likely to win over coveted independent voters. Hence, the campaign, as it proceeds, will likely downplay the party platform as an actual blueprint for a Romney/Ryan Administration.

Throughout it all, there has been the usual political mudslinging (from both sides) that occurs with every presidential campaign. Of course, thanks to the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United Decision, mega-wealthy donors (Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, etc.) and secretive interest players/groups ( Karl Rove, et al), wild charges and distortions have abounded. The Romney campaign itself has put its ‘stamp of approval’ on widely discredited TV ads attacking Obama policies such as job creation, energy policies and, more recently (and glaringly false), allegations that Obama is simply going to send out welfare checks…eliminating the work requirement; a central feature of Welfare Reform legislation enacted under President Clinton.

So,…Where Has The ‘Foreign Policy’ Debate Been Hiding?

One of the real challenges facing the Romney/Ryan campaign is Foreign Policy. While Republican candidates have historically enjoyed an edge over Democrats in the area of National Defense, under President Obama, the Democrats find themselves in a rather unique position, being seen as more-experienced and better able to handle foreign policy and national defense for the first time in modern history according to most polls. This is thanks to an aggressive anti-terrorism policy (more drone missile strikes against suspected terrorists than under George W. Bush), success in ending the nine-year Iraq War & continued prosecution of the Afghanistan War (both begun under Bush) and, the justified credit accruing to Obama in finally killing Osama Bin Laden.

As conservative intellectual icon (and avid baseball fan), George Will, has keenly noted, “Conventions are the seventh-inning stretches of presidential politics…” I have a grudging respect for Will as one of the few true intellects (along with David Frum) on the Right in American politics, even if I largely disagree with him on policy issues. I, therefore, urge liberals and progressives to heed his warnings, which are rather similar to my own as his column yesterday delineates. I won’t get into a lengthy examination of America’s place on the world stage going back to World War I and rise to preeminence resulting from the ravaged economies (and empires) from that war…there just isn’t the space here for that.

If you are indeed interested – thanks to the wonders of Google and other technologies – you can rather quickly educate yourself on historical matters and geopolitical terms and players, from the “balance of power” all the way to the “New World Order.” I would suggest here, however, that ‘history does repeat itself.’ One term you should familiarize yourself with is “neo-conservative.” Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were all “neocons” (though Rice perhaps less so than the other two). What a lot of people fail to understand, however, is that people like them merely represent the ‘public face’ of the movement…the elected or appointed government officials tasked with carrying out policy decisions not necessarily developing the long-term strategies.

The real Neocon players are – for good reason – often masked in dark shadows and their number extends not just to the titans of conservative ideological intellectuals, but to the so-called “captains of industry.” The methodology employed extends to bribery of foreign officials in order to serve their interests (e.g. the current D.O.J. investigation into Sheldon Adelson’s Macao casino business dealings, etc.), corporate espionage, “think tank” strategizing (e.g. Rand Corporation, Heritage Foundation, etc.) and sinister plots centering on “regime change” to further their aims. We are not talking about billions of dollars here folks. We’re talking about tens of trillions of dollars! At stake are just little things like world resources such as….water, food, oil and minerals. Nothing to really worry about.

The Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is merely a “front man” for these interests. He has surrounded himself with a plethora of Neocon advisors and that scares the hell out of me. Many of their money-patrons…Sheldon Edelson, the Koch Brothers and other mega-rich industrialists will be in attendance at the convention in Tampa. They won’t be on the convention floor, however.

No,…they will be hidden in the secretive shadows of the sky-boxes, high above the proceedings, watching intently and trying to decide how to next move the chess pieces on the board. Here’s a list of some of the Neocon “luminaries” likely to never be illuminated. At least, not publicly. How many names do you recognize on this list? Not many, I’ll bet and that’s the way they like it.

Oh sure, there’s Michael Hayden, former Bush C.I.A. Director and Michael Chertoff, former Bush Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and former Republican Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman …but how many other names do you recognize? They might as well be names picked out of a phone book (do they still have those?) For me, conspicuous in their absence is Paul Wolfowitz,* a key Bush/Cheney architect of the disastrous Iraq War, and John Bolton,* a hawk and former Bush United Nations Ambassador, who wants the United States out of the U.N.! These are but two of the many Neocons hidden even deeper in the shadows?

So now we come down to the Republican Convention and a presidential campaign in much deeper trouble than they are willing to admit. Romney, as a candidate,….lacking in charisma, is just not a very popular guy…even among his own party. Ron Paul probably wins the Republican popularity contest hands down as a libertarian conservative. Not a chance, though, that Ron Paul would have EVER gotten the nomination! The Neocons would have used whatever means necessary to prevent that based strictly on Paul’s isolationism. Paul’s bizarre social views don’t really bother the Neocons all that much, as they’re largely disinterested in most of the debates about abortion or gay rights, etc. They are focused on larger World Issues like a nuclear Iran. In that regard, I provide a link to an article I wrote last week on that topic. Consider this article as a companion piece.

On Wednesday (again, Hurricane Isaac permitting), we may actually see a glimpse into the real future of the G.O.P. (the ‘Geopolitically Oppressive Party’), when curiously, former Bush Secretary of State (and pro-choice) Condoleezza Rice climbs the stage to introduce the Neocon’s heir-apparent,… a young, bright, energetic Paul Ryan. I focus on Ryan as the Neocon future – not because his own ideology closely mirrors that of the Neocon “World View,” even though it does.

Ryan is merely another “front man”…a dime-a dozen, retail-politician being used (employed, if you will) by the real power-brokers high up in those darkened convention “Sky Boxes.” His top advisor and appointed “handler” is none other than one of the lesser known “luminaries” on that anonymous list of Romney advisors…one Daniel Senor. Dan Senor,* 40, is a rapidly rising star in the Neocon World. It was Senor who planned Romney’s recent trip to Israel and meetings with ultra-conservative Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu and other Iran War hawks (with Sheldon Adelson in tow…or,… towing?). It was Senor who gave Romney’s tacit approval for a preemptive Israeli air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Soon after Paul Ryan became the Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Senor was named his “top advisor.” As this campaign goes forward, wherever you see Paul Ryan, you will see Dan Senor lurking over his shoulder in the background, making sure he doesn’t stumble and that he adheres to the “party line” on all matters. I predict that the Paul Ryan acceptance speech (clues?), scheduled for Wednesday night in prime time, will not address his controversial budget in any substantial way, nor is he likely to tear open the festering scab of the party’s “personhood/abortion” philosophy.

I think they’d just as soon America would just let that drop altogether, given the disastrous events of the past week surrounding the Akin “legitimate rape” mess. Rather, this nationwide audience of 40-50 million will allow Ryan to bolster his “foreign policy credentials,” an area of glaring weakness for the man at the top of their ticket. In short, I think Paul Ryan (with Ayn Rand ideology in tow) will likely become the new Dick Cheney. And frankly, that scares the hell out of me and – I hope – out of America as well!

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*Author’s Note: While I am not – at all – a fan of anything on Wikipedia, given its journalistic/editing policies and public manipulations, I have provided a couple of links merely to allow readers a glimpse into the “biographies” of a couple of key Neocon figures. In that the whole neoconservative movement is shrouded in self-imposed secrecy, I urge readers to further investigate all Neocons named through various other publications and sources as well.