Catholic
 Apostolic
 & Roman
Christian Order
Read Christian Order
Contents
Editorials
Editorials
Current
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1990s
1980s
Main Page

 


June/July 2010

Review Article

THE TRANSPARENT CABAL: THE NEOCONSERVATIVE AGENDA, WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST, AND THE NATIONAL INTEREST OF ISRAEL by Stephen Sniegoski, Norfolk, Virginia: Enigma Editions, IHS Press, 2008.

MARCHING TOWARD HELL: AMERICA AND ISLAM AFTER IRAQ by Michael Scheuer, New York: Free Press, 2008.

CHURCHILL, HITLER, AND THE UNNECESSARY WAR: HOW BRITAIN LOST THE EMPIRE AND THE WEST LOST THE WORLD by Patrick Buchanan, New York: Crown Publishers, 2008.

Facets of Four World Wars

Forming a Strategic Resistance and the Fuller Catholic Witness

DR. ROBERT HICKSON

- Part I -

The foundational insights of three recent books and a few added reports from reality may help us consider the kind of war we are in, or the kind of wider war - World War IV - we may soon be in. With this knowledge, we may better take intelligent and well-proportioned action, and likewise offer a wiser and more differentiated defense-in-depth and moral and strategic resistance.

We propose therefore to contrast and counterpoint these three varied and candid studies of War (each one of them written by a Roman Catholic scholar) and to offer some additional strategic - cultural commentary which may be supplementarily helpful. This proposed commentary derives from the military experience and earlier strategic intelligence studies of other scholars, such as James Burnham.

For example, Burnham once helped us to understand the Third World War and the deeper meaning behind the Soviet “methods of multi-dimensional warfare” and their “two-zone doctrine”: i.e., “the zone of peace” (the Communist sphere) and the “zone of war” (their revolutionary struggle and “war of liberation” within the non-Communist sphere). He always reminded us, as in his book The War We Are In (1967), that “The meaning of ‘peaceful coexistence’ must be understood within the system of revolutionary dialectic” (pages 19-20 - my emphasis added). So, too, today, with Islam and with some parts of Judaism, especially Zionism, both Jewish and Christian Zionism, in light of their fevered intensities and often deceitful dialectics. Some say this latter Dialectic is part of the Fourth World War.

The Israeli General, Yehoshafat Harkabi, also understood this danger and fever of false dichotomies and false dialectics, and he expressed the matter eloquently in his candid and cautionary book, Israel's Fateful Hour (1988 - 1986 in the original Hebrew edition), some twenty years ago.
It was a book which he explicitly dedicated “To the Victims of their Leaders - Jews and Arabs.” It was a book very critical of the conduct of Menachem Begin and of the zealously unjust intransigence of the Likud Apparatus and Coalition in Israel.

In 1988, General Harkabi was “a Witness”, as also Whittaker Chambers once was. In 1952, in his own book, entitled Witness, Chambers wrote a “Forward in the Form of a Letter to My Children”:

In time, therefore, when the sum of your experience of life gives you authority, you will ask yourselves the question: What was my father?

I will give you an answer: I was a witness. I do not mean a witness for the Government or against Alger Hiss and the others. Nor do I mean the short, squat, solitary figure, trudging through the impersonal halls of public buildings to testify before Congressional committees, grand juries, loyalty boards, courts of law. A man is not primarily a witness against something. That is only incidental to the fact that he is a witness for something. A witness, in the sense that I am using the word, is a man whose life and faith are so completely one that when the challenge comes to step out and testify for his faith, he does so, disregarding all risks, accepting all consequences (5).

As Dr. Samuel Johnson used to say: “The final test is martyrdom.”

Moreover, Chambers's Epigraph to his book was from Shakespeare's Hamlet (I,i), the words of Horatio: “If thou art privy to thy country's fate, which, happily, foreknowing may avoid, O speak __”! And the poignant Dedication of his Witness was to his wife: “To my wife, infinitely loving and infinitely beloved.”

General Harkabi was a faithful Jew. Whittaker Chambers was a faithful Protestant Christian.

Both of these courageous and deeply merciful men were also men of affirmation, with the vital integrity of true Witnesses.

When one reads General Harkabi one is reminded of the mercy of the Old Testament Prophets. With his deep sense of justice he called his own people to a moral and strategic “course correction,” before it was too late. He firmly combated their self-destructive, stiff-necked intransigence and their unwisely exclusive “Jabotinsky Doctrine” of the “Iron Wall.”

Like General Harkabi - though in a less obviously religious way - Naomi Klein bears a comparable Jewish Witness today. For example, in her 2007 book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, she shows deep mercy for the vulnerable and humiliated Palestinians in Israel. She, too, gives a moral warning to Israel, which she forthrightly characterizes as “the Standing Disaster Apartheid State” (541), and which she further presents to us  as a kind of Counter-Intelligence-and-Surveillance Police State. She courageously warns Israel - and she also warns us - about the long-range consequences of the protracted and humiliating Jewish injustices, and about Israel's ongoing “disposal process” (559): the disposal of its seemingly “surplus humanity” (559), “the disposable poor” (562). Such is her Jewish Witness.

Her warning is also to us in America. For, she speaks about the danger of our own “disaster apartheid future” (533) in the United States, in “gated communities” which are secured by private “paramilitaries.”

Naomi Klein's book on “the Disaster Capitalism Complex” - which she sees as a further development of “the Military Industrial Complex” - is a study of interwoven and insidiously applied psychological, economic, and military forms of “Shock Doctrine;” and of how they produce, in combination, embittering injustices - as did the 1919 Treaty of Versailles and the Treaty of Trianon.

She speaks, moreover, of a “far subtler sabotage” (251) and resulting debt-bondage that are now achievable - even against entire nations - by Neo-Liberal Capitalism's instruments of economic warfare and financial warfare. These deceitful and designedly shocking instrumentalities produce a humiliating subjugation to certain “Oligarchs” who have “imperial levels of wealth and power” (291). Using the apt phrase of Joseph Stiglitz, Naomi Klein even speaks of how “the Market Bolsheviks” (283) produce a kind of new caste system or cynical neo-feudalism in the service of a soft and pampered “Plutonomy” (496-498). Like Burnham with respect to what he called the Third World War and the Communist “revolutionary dialectic,” she also helps us to get “inside the logic of Disaster Capitalists” (501) and to see their frigid cynicism. What she depicts might well be aspects or anticipations of the Fourth World War, as we shall soon more fully consider.

What is especially noteworthy about Klein's analysis from the vantage point of a fuller Catholic Witness is that Naomi Klein's acute critique of this updated, new form of “Manchester Liberalism” (and hence a development of David Ricardo's earlier “iron law of wages”) also constitutes a surprisingly effective, implicit defense of traditional Catholic Social and Economic Doctrine, especially a defense of National Economies, in opposition to the manifest “social solvents” of Economic Neo-Liberalism. One may easily consult, for example, the comparably critical, earlier economic writings and warnings of Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius XI. The latter Pope himself also especially criticized, back in 1931, the larger dangers of an unaccountable “Financial Oligarchy.”

Beyond Sophistries, Incitements and Dialectics
With these various aspects and courageous examples of Moral Witness and Strategic Resistance as background, this essay thus proposes to form and foster a fuller Catholic Witness, as well as a moral and strategic Resistance to certain unjust forms of modern warfare - both overt and covert forms, to include financial and economic warfare.

This strategic inquiry and review of three Catholic authors - Sniegoski, Scheuer, and Buchanan - especially proposes to depict their own moral and growing resistance to current sophistries and imprudently feverish incitements to war; and to the lure of deceitful dialectics and the trap of false dichotomies.

A moral and strategic resistance to specious Sophistry and the Lie is always needed. Alexander Solzhenitsyn once helped us understand the need “to come out from under the rubble” and, no matter what, to resolve “not to participate in the lie” - and thereby to shun “the asphyxiation of untruth.” As a Russian Orthodox Christian, he, too, was a courageous Witness; and he was also very intelligent and strategic in his moral resistance.

Even those who are not students of military history and strategy have usually heard of certain words of Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz: 1) about knowing one's enemy and oneself, the strengths and virtues of both, as well as his and our own weaknesses and vices; 2) about knowing how war is based upon (and often conducted with) deception; and 3) about how the most important thing to know before entering into a war - or even after finding oneself suddenly in a war and unprepared - is to know “the kind of war you are in.” In a sense, if someone is at war with you - even if you don't know it - you are at war. Reality, it has been said, is that which doesn't go away even when you stop thinking about it.


That is to say, even without a commonly accepted legal definition of “the state of war,” and even without a formal, open declaration of war, the reality of war may still subsist and spread.

World War IV
In his important Chapter 11 of The Transparent Cabal (2008), entitled “World War IV,” Dr. Stephen Sniegoski writes with lucidity about the origins of this current concept of war, and about some of its implications in reality:

In a November 2001 article in the Wall Street Journal, Eliot A. Cohen would dub the conflict in the Middle East, “World War IV.” The term would be quickly picked up by other neoconservatives, as well as their critics. (193)

Analogously, and now over sixty years ago, James Burnham began his own illuminating book, The Struggle for the World (1947), with the following words:

The Third World War began in April, 1944 [with the mutiny of the Greek Navy in Alexandria, Egypt] .... We do not know the details of what happened in the mutiny; but the details, important as they may be for future scholars, are unnecessary. We know enough to discover the political meaning of what happened, and for this details are sometimes an obstacle .... Politically understood, therefore, the Greek mutiny of April, 1944, and the subsequent Greek Civil War, were armed skirmishes between the Soviet Union, representing international communism, and the British Empire. In the Second World War, however, which had still at that time more than a year to run, Britain and the Soviet Union were allies against a common enemy. We have been recording, we thus see, another war (1-2).

The title of the Chapter with which Burnham's book began, and in which the above words occur, is entitled “The Immaturity of the United States.”

Moreover, throughout his book, Burnham was trying to discern “the Main Line of World Politics” (the title of his Chapter 10) and thus “the key to the situation.”

At the beginning of that tenth chapter, Burnham clarifies this latter concept in a way which should help us, even now, in evaluating the three main books we shall be discussing and the facets of truth (the unveiling of reality) which they in various ways have disclosed.
In brief, Burnham says:

The Great Captains of military history, varied as they have been in every other respect, have all been noted for their grasp of what military writers call “the key to the situation.” At each level of military struggle, from a brief skirmish to the grand strategy of a war or series of wars, they have understood that there is one crucial element which is the key to the situation .... the secret of his genius is to know the key, to have it always in mind, and to reserve his supreme exertion for the key, for what decides the issue. The principles of political struggle are identical with those of military struggle. Success in both political knowledge and political practice depends finally, as in military affairs, upon the grasp of the key to the situation .... The great political leader (who is often also a great captain) - Pericles or the elder Cato or Mohammed or Caesar or Henry of Navarre or Bismarck or Hamilton or Lenin or Innocent III or the younger Pitt - focuses on the key .... He knows, in each political phase, what is the central challenge .... For a given nation, the political key is located sometimes among internal, sometimes among foreign affairs (130-131).

How should we today consider the political, as well as the military, “key to the situation”? And, how should we adequately periodize and discern the phases of the political-military struggle, or “world war,” we are in?

One of James Burnham's earlier books, published a little over forty years ago, will help us understand the grand-strategic “phases” of one such great struggle and its “defining incidents” as parts of a larger “protracted war”.

In 1967, twenty years after his book The Struggle for the World, James Burnham published The War We Are In, in which he clarifies, in the longer light of history and by further specific examples, our understanding of various strategic “phases of a political-military struggle.” He says:

The first sentence of my book, The Struggle for the World, which was published in early 1947, reads: “The Third World War began in April 1944.” I summarized the defining incident [the mutiny of the Greek navy in Alexandria] .... Although the choice of “April 1944” may have seemed a bit arbitrary, the facts that have subsequently become known tend to confirm the view that the decisive turn took place in the spring of 1944. It was in the winter of 1943-1944 [after the battle of Stalingrad] that the Soviet leadership reached the conclusion that the war against Hitler had been won. From that point on Soviet strategy was redirected from concentration on the military fight against the Wehrmacht toward maximum exploitation of the inevitable Nazi collapse (9-10 - my emphasis added).

In his 1967 book, Burnham had finally revealed that “The analysis of communist and Soviet intentions in Part I of The Struggle for the World was originally part of a secret study prepared for the Office of Strategic Services [O.S.S.] in the spring of 1944” (10).

After first acknowledging an excellent recent work by a French analyst, André Fontaine, whose “first volume [of several] was published in France with the title: Histoire de la guerre froide: De la Révolution d'Octobre á la guerre de Corée [History of the Cold War: From the October Revolution to the Korean War],” Burnham then says in his own first chapter of The War We Are In (1967), as follows:

In a more basic sense, however, what began in the spring of 1944 was not so much a “new” Third World War as a new phase in a continuing war that started in November 1917, with the Bolshevik conquest of power in Russia, that might indeed be dated most significantly from Lenin's organization of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1903: the protracted war of the communist enterprise for a monopoly of world power. On the coordinates of this longer-term scale, the protracted war is seen as the dominant theme of twentieth-century history, with its major phases fairly well marked, though overlapping: 1) formation and training of the cadres of the revolutionary army (1903-1917); 2) seizure of the initial base, or beachhead (1917); 3) failure of the first direct attack on the advanced Western powers (1917-1923); 4) consolidation and defense of the base (1917-1944); 5) enlargement of the base (1944-1949 explosively, and irregularly in the years following); 6) indirect attack on the Western powers through support of decolonization and of anti-Western nationalism in the underdeveloped regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America (1944- ); 7) recognition of the United States as the main enemy, and consequent direction of the main effort to the weakening, isolation and ultimate defeat of the United States (1944 - ). On this same scale the first two “world wars” as well as the post-1956 “Sino-Soviet split” appear as subthemes: disputes within one or the other of the two major camps. The term “Cold War” refers, more or less, to the same set of facts that I have been designating “Third World War” (11 - my emphasis added).

In light of Burnham's categories and strategic insights, a comparative review of our three chosen books under review will also aid our deeper understanding of some current, long-range struggles - such as the putative existence of a Fourth World War. This understanding will thereby enhance our mature and appropriately differentiated response to them, for it is often true that “contrast clarifies the mind.”

"Chaos Managers"
After considering first Stephen Sniegoski's book and then Michael Scheuer's work, we shall better be able to keep in focus and proper proportion the last book: Patrick Buchanan's own longer view of history, especially the history of World Wars I and II and their cumulative aftermaths, and some of the timeless and timely implications.

All three of these books should be, I believe, not only attentively read, but also deeply savoured and thus more gratefully appreciated. For, there are many “Reports from Reality” in these three volumes, and much disciplined research and moral courage and articulated candour has gone into their presentation - as was the case with James Burnham himself in earlier times.

Let us now turn again to Sniegoski and his patient analysis.

Concerning Eliot Cohen's above-quoted claim, namely his momentous claim about the 2001 advent of “World War IV,” Stephen Sniegoski further shows us that

The neocon who most popularized the World War IV theme was Norman Podhoretz, the doyen of neo-conservatives. He initially wrote an article “How to Win World War IV,” which appeared in Commentary in February 2002 [some two months after Cohen's article], and he would continue with that theme in his subsequent writings. Ultimately in 2007, he would devote an entire book to the subject: World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism (194).

Presenting now the counterpointed thought of both Cohen and Podhoretz, Sniegoski clarifies our fuller understanding of this concept:

In describing the conflict as World War IV, Cohen proclaimed that, “The enemy in this war is not 'terrorism' ... but militant Islam.” The term “World War IV,” with the Cold War being “World War III,” was very significant. For the neoconservatives envisioned the war on Iraq as part of the much broader war in the Middle East, which would be comparable to World War II in its massive death and destruction or to the Cold War [World War III] in its nearly half-century duration. Cohen presented “some key features” that World War IV shared with the Cold War “that it is, in fact, global; that it will involve a mixture of violent and nonviolent efforts; that it will require mobilization of skill, expertise, and resources, if not vast numbers of soldiers; that it may go on for a long time; and that it has ideological roots” (193-194 - quoting Cohen's article of 20 November 2001 in the Wall Street Journal).

Not long after Cohen's unequivocal words, Norman Podhoretz supportively published his own article in Commentary, in the issue of February 2002, and entitled it “How to Win World War IV.” Sniegoski now speaks of this, and then of some of Podhoretz's later writings, as well:

Podhoretz identified the overarching threat to America as “militant Islam,” which “represents a revival of the expansionism by the sword” of Islam's early years. In a lengthy September 2004 article in Commentary, entitled “World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win,” Podhoretz presented the threat in an even more ominous light: “We are up against a truly malignant force in radical Islamism and in the states breeding, sheltering, or financing its terrorist armory. This new enemy has already attacked us on our own soil ... and openly announces his intention to hit us again, only this time with weapons of infinitely greater and deadlier power than those used on 9/11. His objective is not merely to murder as many of us as possible and to conquer our land. Like the Nazis and Communists before him, he is dedicated to the destruction of everything good for which America stands (194-195).

Summing up these passionate words and unmistakable incitements, Sniegoski says:

In short, according to Podhoretz, the radical Islamists not only sought to destroy America and kill Americans, but were engaged in a war against good itself. In essence, Podhoretz portrayed [like some of the Protestant Christian “Dispensationalists” or Protestant “Christian Zionists”] a cataclysmic Manichean conflict of good versus evil in which compromise was impossible. To survive, America [perhaps with the help of Israel?] would have to utterly destroy its enemy. In using the World War IV metaphor, Podhoretz, in line with other neoconservatives, imputed immense power to the radical Islamist enemy .... To survive resurgent Islam, in Podhoretz's view, the United States could not simply stand on the defensive; it would have to aggressively stamp out militant Islam at its very source in the Middle East (195).

Where the specific portions of Islam are which are non-militant, Podhoretz never makes strategically clear.

Reminding us of the temporal and logical sequence of the mutually reinforcing Cohen and Podhoretz articles - i.e., November 2001 and February 2002 - Sniegoski notes, in addition, some other manifestations of the new grand-strategic theme of “World War IV”:

In September 2004, neocons held a conference on the subject in Washington, titled “World War IV: Why We Fight, Whom We Fight, How We Fight,” which included among its speakers [Eliot A.] Cohen, R. James Woolsey [former head of C.I.A. and Director of Central Intelligence], Norman Podhoretz, and Paul Wolfowitz, and was sponsored by the Committee on the Present Danger and The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (193).

On 3 April 2003, Woolsey had also earlier said - as quoted by Sniegoski - that “the United States is engaged in World War IV, and that it could continue for years” and, moreover: “This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World War I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War” (194).

In the September 2002 issue of Commentary, Norman Podhoretz had made even more specific the targets in this World War IV. Podhoretz's article is entitled “In Praise of the Bush Doctrine,” which Sniegoski now quotes, in part, and then adds his own comments:

“The regimes that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil [i.e., Iraq, Iran, and North Korea],” Podhoretz emphasized. “At a minimum, this axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Lybia, as well as 'friends' of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarek, along with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen.” Once again, the all-embracing character of America's alleged enemies - including current friends and foes, and secular and Islamist regimes - should be noted. One common denominator for these supposed enemy regimes, however, is apparent: hostility to Israel (195).

It would seem that all of these ethnically aligned grand-strategic proponents of World War IV are especially anxious about the long-term security of Israel, and also especially attentive to the national interests of the Jewish State, which is certainly more and more vulnerable, at least demographically and also because of its geography. They also therefore wish to engage - and instrumentalise - the purported strengths of the United States and its Military to help combat and defeat, or at least to weaken, the circumambient enemies of Israel.

Dr. Sniegoski shows, through his admirably careful accumulation of detailed empirical evidence, that a well-organized, well-financed, intelligent and closely networking, quantitative minority - which he calls the “Neoconservatives,” or the “Neocons” - has been somehow able to re-direct traditional American foreign policy and strategy in order to advance a World War IV agenda. It is an agenda, moreover, which promotes, not stability and rootedness and slow fruitfulness in the Middle East (or elsewhere), but, rather, a sort of Shock-and-Awe Therapy which actually promotes a regressive de-stabilization and fragmentation and the formation of weak “statelets” or new ethnic feudalities and “dhimmis” which can themselves then, purportedly, be more easily “managed” and subjugated and played destructively against one another.

In other words, as Colonel T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) might say, it is intending to establish a new kind of “Ottomanization” or “millet system.” This implicit agenda also recalls how the traditional British Grand-Strategy always tried to play the outer ring of non-Arabic Muslims against the inner ring of Arabic Muslims.

Just as the British after World War I intentionally broke up a potentially consolidated Kurdish ethnicity, and distributed its designated fragments across the newly drawn  borders of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and the like; so, too, the Israelis and some of their Neoconservative acolytes would now like to have a tripartite dismemberment (or “partition”) of Iraq into Kurdish, Sunni, and Shi'ite regions, constituting at least a weaker new political Confederation in Iraq and even re-constituting some of its smaller tribal feudalities (which the recent American military “surge” has also effectively promoted, if not by design, at least as one of the “fruits”). Some “Neocons” even want the fragmenting dismemberment of Saudi Arabia, splitting off, for example, the oil-rich eastern section of the Wahhabi Monarchy, the eastern portion of which now also contains many anti-Wahhabi Shi'ites.

Whether or not these Grand-Strategic “Chaos Managers” can achieve their goals, without thereby sabotaging themselves and the things they cherish, is another matter. Michael Scheuer, for example, sees an increasing Islamist migration and encroachment of Israel itself because the secular Ba'athist regimes in Iraq and Syria have been removed or humiliated and weakened. That is to say, the more secular Arab Ba'athist barriers against more radical Islamist action have been razed or helpfully lowered. Iraq, for example, is now a permeable conduit for, not a barrier against, migrations and hostile infiltration.

"Masters of Discourse"
Sniegoski shows that most of the leading Neoconservatives are also of Jewish ancestry and heritage and thus understandably have a special concern for the security of Israel. What is not so easy to discuss in the public realm, however, is the extent to which the National Interests of Israel are congruent with the National Interests of the United States.

Sniegoski shows how the key neoconservatives thinkers who have advocated an offensive strategy, and have especially accentuated the principle of war of “the offensive” (i.e., “to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative”), derive their strategic insights - though with different objects and targets - from some of the earlier Anti-Communist Strategists, such as James Burnham himself. Like Irving Kristol, his former colleague in the C.I.A.'s Congress for Cultural Freedom (est. 1950), Burnham was also a former Trotskyite. (In my presence on one occasion - it was in the early 1990s as I recall - Irving Kristol very admiringly spoke of Burnham, saying also that Burnham's 1964 book, Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism, “is a Classic, but no one ever speaks of it anymore.”)

Speaking of the neoconservatives' earlier and then-growing influence in the Reagan administration, Sniegoski says:

In contrast to the longstanding American defensive Cold War Strategy of containing Soviet communism, the neoconservatives pushed for destabilizing the Soviet empire and its allies. They did not invent this strategic doctrine, which originated with such seminal conservative thinkers as James Burnham and Robert Strausz-Hupé. The goal behind this offensive strategy [like Burnham's earlier doctrine of “rollback”] was to actually bring about the defeat of the Soviet Union, instead of just achieving stalemate, which would be the best that could be obtained by defensive containment. [Burnham had even warned that a doctrine of mere “Containment” soon constituted a “policy of vacillation and a strategy of defeat”!] But while not the originators of an offensive Cold War strategy, the neocons were the first to successfully promote its implementation (36-37).

So magnanimously - and so characteristically - Steve Sniegoski shows the strengths and true achievements of those whom he would often later oppose and actively resist.

From personal experience in the earlier Conservative Movement, as it was called, I can confirm what Dr. Sniegoski says. Many of the Traditional Conservatives - now sometimes called “Paleoconservatives” - were entirely too passive and often slothful and cravenly accommodating to the Soviet Empire - also on the Cultural Front - as if they were, along with the cynical Henry Kissinger, effectively “managing our decline,” if not themselves openly and tepidly making a “pre-emptive surrender.”

By contrast, it was the intelligent and energetic and strategically networked Neoconservatives who wanted to take the initiative against the Soviet Union, who wanted to take away the Soviet Empire's “freedom of maneuver” and “freedom of action.” Truth requires that we acknowledge these facts, even though, “after the Cold War,” the Neoconservatives put their further initiatives to different ends within “the Emerging American Imperium” (which are Irving Kristol's own words). We then gradually moved from “Humanitarian Interventionism” to “Pre-Emptive” - or even “Preventive” - Wars.

Some of us, however, still assent to the profound earlier insight and foresight of Whittaker Chambers (d. 1961) in his posthumously published book, Cold Friday (1964), wherein he says that one of the ways in which the West could really lose the Cold War and subtly be defeated by the Soviet Union and its Fundamental, Dynamic Doctrine of “Historical Materialism” and “DIAMAT” (“Dialectical Materialism”) was by increasingly coming to imitate what we were purportedly fighting against. Let us only behold our current Mammonite Ethos and Way of Life, and our coarser forms and circumambient manifestations of “the Anti-Civilization of the Orcs,” in a manner of speaking. And let us then re-consider what Chambers himself said fifty years ago.

In his profound Chapter in Cold Friday, entitled “The Direct Glance,” Whittaker Chambers wrote the following:

From this proposition - that the heart problem of Communism is the problem of atheism - followed the second proposition which I set up in Witness [1952], also without developing its conclusions. This proposition implied that the struggle of the West with Communism included its own solution. That is to say, in the cause of its struggle with Communism [and now in the struggle with Islam and Judaism], the West would develop or recover those resources (in the main, spiritual and moral) which it held to constitute its superiority to Communism, or in the struggle it would go under. Going under might, I suppose, take one of two forms. The West might simply lose the war in political or physical terms. But I also allowed for the fact that the West might win the war in such terms [“political or physical”] and still lose it, if the taxing necessities of the conflict [“the protracted conflict”] brought the West to resemble what it was struggling against, i.e., Communism [and its worldview of “Historical and Dialectical Materialism”]. A turn in this direction has been perfectly visible in the West for several decades (70 - my emphasis added).

In his own clarifying footnote (number 50, in Chapter 3), Sniegoski speaks more about the concept of a “war-winning strategy,” both as it was applied earlier in the post-World War II years and then later against the Soviet Union, especially while we were covertly operating from within Afghanistan, starting around 1979 and continuing throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s:

When this view [i.e., the “war-winning strategy”] had been expressed earlier by James Burnham on the pages of the conservative National Review [in his regular column, begun in November 1955, and entitled “The Third World War”], it was simply ignored by the establishment. When the war-winning theme was enunciated by the conservative 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater in his book Why Not Victory?: A Fresh Look at American Foreign Policy (1962), he was denounced by the establishment as a near-insane advocate of global nuclear destruction. When neocons adopted this very same foreign policy strategy, however, it took on the air of near-respectability. In short, neocons did not invent the positions they advocated; by and large, they were not creative thinkers. Rather, because of their backgrounds in the liberal establishment [with some exceptions, like Michael Ledeen], they gave an air of intellectual and political respectability to positions on the right that previously had been outside the bounds of discussion (387).

Israel Adam Shamir, the Israeli Greek Orthodox Christian, would well recognize these unmistakably intelligent Neoconservatives - who are also sometimes very artful sophists - and he would place them promptly in his own linguistic-strategic category: among “the Masters of Discourse” - i.e., the Sophistic Subverters of Logos.

"Creative Destruction" & "Messianic Politics"
Michael Ledeen himself, however, is a special case. He is the man among the neoconservatives whom I especially respect, because he is (usually) so forthright. He writes openly and bluntly, as the Jewish Defense League's Meir Kahane once did, and he, too, says aloud what others are often only thinking or carefully expressing only in a veiled way, while being candid only amongst their own coterie. Ledeen, almost invariably, is publicly candid.

Indeed, Michael A. Ledeen is a special case - and an a fortiori supportive personal testimony - of Dr. Sniegoski's designedly oxymoronic book-title, The Transparent Cabal. For, Sniegoski thereby emphasizes that the neoconservatives, though having at times sarcastically called themselves a “Cabal,” have very openly expressed their essential views: what they generally wanted to do, what they specifically intended to do, and how, fundamentally, they would go about doing it. Michael Ledeen has done this more than most, and often very unequivocally.

Dr. Sniegoski himself says:

One of the most illuminating encapsulations of the neocons' far-reaching geostrategy was put forth by veteran neocon Michael A. Ledeen in his The War Against the Terror Masters [2002, and newly updated in the 2003 edition]. Ledeen was one of the leading intellectual gurus of the neoconservatives (188).

In his explanatory footnote, Sniegoski adds:

Unlike many neoconservatives, Ledeen did not have a leftist background, but rather saw the revolutionary aspects of the right, and even had a flirtation with fascism. Ledeen authored Universal Fascism: The Theory and Practice of the Fascist International, 1923-1936..., published in 1972. In the book, Ledeen analyzed European fascism, particularly Italian fascism. Ledeen differentiated between an ideal revolutionary “fascist movement,” which he viewed favorably, and the actual, reactionary, authoritarian “fascist regime” of Mussolini (406-407, footnote 3 - my emphasis added).

Michael Ledeen is also (like James Burnham) an eloquent admirer of Machiavelli, and has written a book on his historical and contemporary importance, entitled Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are As Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago (1999, 2000). Ledeen is very attentive to the effective uses of power. He, too, would have us combine the qualities of “the Lion and the Fox,” and, with “virtú,” boldly use the elements of “force and fraud.”

Three distinct and trenchant excerpts from Ledeen's The War Against the Terror Masters: Why It Happened. Where We Are Now. How We'll Win will be especially revealing of these politically artful factors in our current context of war, although they are not specifically quoted by Sniegoski in his own analysis. For example, Ledeen says:

For many centuries Muslim civilization was the greatest in the world. The Muslims preserved much of ancient Greek culture at a time when Western Europe had fallen into a continental catatonia that historians have called the Dark Ages. The Muslims far outclassed the Christians in most every area of human endeavor. They were more powerful, more educated, more artistic, more scientific than their Christian rivals. And they were more tolerant and humane. It was far better for minorities like the Jews to live under Muslim rule than under Christian hegemony (30 - my emphasis added).

It would seem that Ledeen would be a little shaky about the return of a Christian Order or any form of Christendom, and he might even shift sides then to the “more tolerant” rival civilization. (For a candid and contrasting and highly differentiated view by the noted Jewish Israeli scholar and former chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, Yehoshafat Harkabi, one should read his Israel's Fateful Hour [1988], especially Chapter 5, entitled “Nationalistic Judaism,” where he quotes at length even Moses Maimonides, who himself, after much experience, had a different opinion from Michael Ledeen. Dr. Sniegoski, however, does not quote from General Harkabi's important Chapter 5, which would have further strengthened his own keen analysis and argument.)

Ledeen, in his The War Against the Terror Masters, also shows his inclination for “psychological destabilization” (his phrase) and for even larger “social engineering”:

The radical transformation of several Middle Eastern countries from oppressive tyrannies to freer societies [excluding Israel, as it would seem] is entirely in keeping with American character and the American tradition. Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law [he conspicuously or deceitfully omits religion]. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity which menaces their traditions [hence also their Sacred Traditions!] (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence - our existence, not our policies - threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission (212-213).

When a thoughtful reader savours this passage, he may ask: “Who is this 'we' and who is this 'our,' as in 'our middle name' and 'our historic mission'”? Ledeen certainly affirms that the essence of “American character and the American tradition” is some form of “Messianic Politics,” and maybe also an Insolent Intrusiveness and Restless Rootlessness, which also usually tends to uproot others. (This combination also suggests what Christendom once called the Deadly Sin of “Spiritual Sloth,” Acedia, which is especially marked by evagatio mentis - i.e., “a roaming unrest of spirit” and a quenching of the state of Grace - according to St. Thomas Aquinas.) The reader may also fittingly ask, therefore, “Who really is the Enemy here?” To what extent should others, not only Muslims, consider Michael Ledeen himself to be “an Enemy”? For, he would promote, indeed, our own “roaming unrest of spirit” and also inflict that revolutionary “mercurian rootlessness” upon others.

The Neocon-Israeli Apparatus vs America
In his sharp criticism of President Clinton, Michael Ledeen explicitly draws upon the “Neo-Pagan Corpus”: the severe practical wisdom of “Niccolò Machiavelli, who had great contempt for leaders lacking military virtue” (91).

Furthermore, says Ledeen:

He knew that weak leaders, especially those who became personally corrupt and thus inordinately self-indulgent, were never willing to fight seriously. Such leaders, he said, shrink from real combat, and the only time they use military force is to look good. They will never order a real assault against their enemies, because they are unwilling to accept the risk of defeat. Men of this sort, like Clinton, prefer to play it safe, and either take half measures or simply pretend to act. He calls such weak-kneed men “indolent princes,” and in The Art of War, Machiavelli describes a generation of indolent Italian leaders just before they were crushed by ambitious foreign invaders (91-92).

So, too, will the Americans be crushed, he implies, if “we” don't have and don't exercise such “military virtue.” (Or, as I would put it, we shall be defeated, for sure, if we unwisely overextend ourselves in unjust wars and exhaust our military and our own resources in wars that do not serve America's vital interests but, rather, the security interests primarily of Israel or of others. Moreover, if we fight, we must, as a nation, have achievable war aims and peace aims, and also resolutely intend to win, measurably so.)

Ledeen's strong words, however, partly resemble James Burnham's own 1964 analysis of the ideology of Liberalism, in that Burnham also saw what Dr. Fritz Kraemer himself often used to call the special vulnerability of “provocative weakness.” That is to say, “We are getting so weak - so decadent - that we are provocative to others.” But, Burnham was further convinced that the enfeebling ideology of Liberalism went even further than that, and tended “to hand the weapons over to its own assassins.” There is much truth in what he wrote.

However, unlike Burnham, and more like the aggressive Winston Churchill before him, Michael Ledeen seems much too inattentive to the blind spots and self-sabotaging actions of “toughness,” of reckless Machtpolitik itself, and he fails to recognize the accompanying Myopia of Cynicism and of mere “Power without Grace” (Evelyn Waugh) - most especially when the religious motivations of one's enemies are so facilely trivialized and mocked and not clearly understood, nor adequately taken into account.

Michael Ledeen and the other Neoconservatives whom Dr. Sniegoski closely analyzes and counterpoints are certainly what Ernest Hemmingway called “the Overreachers.” They certainly have “Imperial Hubris” (Michael Scheuer). In order to confirm this judgment, one need only read, not just Ledeen's books, but also Richard Perle and David Frum's words in their fevered book An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror, published in 2003, and which Sniegoski illustratively quotes (189). Alternatively, one may read the strategic essays and books of the Neoconservative Classics Professor, Victor Davis Hanson (205), who is of Gentile Heritage and an explicit enemy of the Saudis (205). Michael Scheuer, as we shall see, is also an opponent of the hypocritical and tyrannical Saudi Regime, or “Police State,” but for different reasons and with an entirely different sense of proportion and strategic intention.

When one understands Dr. Sniegoski's central argument about the Neocon-Israeli Likud Apparatus and the 1982 Oded Yinon Strategy for de-stabilizing and fragmenting the enemies of Israel - i.e., those earlier and current anti-Israel consolidations in the Middle East - then one also better knows how to interpret Michael Ledeen's incisive words, published on 20 September 2001, in National Review Online, just shortly after the 9/11 attacks and before his own, already quoted and more elaborated book. In his own book, Dr. Sniegoski revealingly quotes Ledeen's earlier essay, entitled “Creative Destruction”:

“Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically .... It is time once again to export the democratic revolution.”

The "Blowback"
However, in reality, if one exports “the democratic revolution” to a variegated and religiously factionalized Muslim society like Iraq, one will - in the logical premises - also effectively promote a religious democracy, and hence also fragmentation and de-stabilization and intra-Islamic Sunni-Shi'ite religious strife, as well as hostile operations against the Kurds and other religious minorities (like the Chaldean Christians). Furthermore, with the sudden removal of a more autocratic secular Arab Ba'athist Regime, one will only intensify the Islamist Resurgence and Insurgency, which may now also spread its resentment and pressure further West towards Israel itself. As we noted above, Iraq has now become, not a Barrier, but a Conduit for the Islamists. But, is this the kind of “fruit” the Neoconservatives - even Michael Ledeen - wanted? Even though this was foreseeable, is this what they intended? And what are the implications of this result - further Judaic desperation and fever?

Indeed, Israel might now find itself even more encroached by more radicalized and more deeply dedicated Islamists - as they infiltrate even across the permeable “strategic thresholds” of Jordan and through Lebanon and into the now further-weakened and humiliated Ba'athist (Alawite-Secularist) regime in Syria.

Will this encroachment and permeation be part of the “Blowback” on the Neocon-Israel Apparatus itself? (General Harkabi, in 1988 and before, had predicted this.) And will this “Blowback” consequently make them more dangerously desperate and more willing and ready to use their more “advanced weapons” - also against Iran, for example, while imperiously claiming, once again, that there now exists “a supreme emergency” for Israel?

"Democratization": Illusion and Deceit
Near the end of his Chapter 11 on “World War IV,” Dr. Sniegoski thus recapitulates:

The neocons' support for destabilizing the Middle East, even partitioning some countries like Saudi Arabia, was right in line with policies put forth by Oded Yinon in 1982 [for the Israeli Likud Party] and the “Clean Break” paper of 1996 [written by American neoconservatives for Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu], which had as their purpose the weakening of Israel's external enemies [and thereby thus further internally isolating the Palestinians]. The difference is that the policies oriented to Israeli interests simply stopped at the destabilization process, whereas the American military intervention purported to move beyond destabilization to the establishment of democracy (209-210).

This purported “democratizing” goal, as Dr. Sniegoski's book also shows, was not only an illusion, but a deceit. It was a plausible Sophistry intended to get the United States further committed and “positioned” in the Middle East (and in Central Asia) against the enemies of Israel, and to cross a threshold, therefore, from which it would be very difficult for America to pull back.

Now we are there. It recalls Colonel T.E. Lawrence's post-World War I “Report on Mesopotamia” (Sunday Times, 2 August 1920), which begins: “The people of England have been led into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour.”

In Part II we will consider Michael Scheuer's candid book, Marching Toward Hell, where he, too, mentions the insights of Colonel Lawrence (on page 299) - and helps us to understand better our perceived and actual enemies, and their well-rooted motivations.

Continued next month.

 

Facets of Four World Wars - Part II

Facets of Four World Wars - Part III

 

Back to Top | Features 2010