William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard and the son of Irving Kristol, the self-described "godfather of neoconservatism," speculated in a recent syndicated opinion piece: "I suppose I'll merely expose myself to harmless ridicule if I make the following assertion: George W. Bush's presidency will probably be a successful one."
Follow this link to the original source: "Why Bush Will Be A Winner"
William Kristol's coy suggestion that he is going out on a limb and facing "harmless ridicule" by defending the reputation of the current president creates the impression that he is merely an innocent bystander displaying the courage of his convictions.
A cursory examination of Kristol's background, however, reveals that he is merely doing what he has done throughout his life — being a good neocon team player. Furthermore, lest there still be confusion among some about the difference between a neoconservative and a classic conservative, it is important to recognize that neoconservatism has as much in common with genuine conservatism as a pineapple has with an apple.
And, in Kristol's case — if one will pardon an unavoidable pun — the apple has not fallen far from the tree. William's father, Irving Kristol, is considered the founder of American neoconservatism. The elder Kristol was an active Trotskyite while a student at the City College of New York, from which he graduated in 1940 with a B.A. in history. Years later, in 1983, Kristol wrote that that he was proud to have been a member of Trotskyite Fourth International back in 1940.
Far from being an aberration, the elder Kristol's Trotskyism was, in fact, a common credential of the founders of the neocon movement, most of whom were also on the payroll of the World War II-era OSS and its successor spy agency, the CIA. The CIA was not above helping to launch neocon organs, such as the British-based magazine Encounter, which Irving Kristol co-founded and edited from 1953 to 1958. The better-known "conservative" magazine National Review, started by William F. Buckley, Jr., was heavily influence by Buckley's two mentors Willmoore Kendall and James Burnham, who were early Trotskyite/OSS/CIA veterans that recruited Buckley into the CIA, and turned him against the classic conservatism of his father, William F. Buckley, Sr.
Unlike Buckley, William Kristol did not have to split with his father to become a loyal neocon. Following in the elder Kristol's footsteps, in 1994 William established — along with fellow neocon John Poderetz (the son of former Commentary editor Norman Poderetz), and with financing from Rupert Murdoch — The Weekly Standard, a leading voice of neoconservatism.
The relevance of this mini-history of neoconservatism to Kristol's assessment of the Bush presidency is that, for decades, the neocons have dominated the Republican Party. One common thread among many neocons is membership in the internationalist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), including Irving Kristol, Norman Poderetz, William F. Buckley, Newt Gingrich, former President George H.W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. (CFR membership among Democrats is also legendary, a recent outstanding example being former President Bill Clinton.)
In making his assessment of the Bush presidency, Kristol touches on the two major areas most people would use to evaluate any government's fulfillment of its mission: peace and prosperity. Taking the latter first, Kristol's positive rating seems overly generous, given the continual growth of our national debt, unfavorable balance of trade, the erosion of our manufacturing base, and the vast outsourcing of American jobs.
Then Kristol addresses the bogeyman, asking: "But wait, wait, wait: What about Iraq?" Setting an admittedly speculative scenario, Kristol suggests:
First of all, we would have to compare the situation now with what it would be if we hadn't gone in. Saddam Hussein would be in power and, I dare say, victorious, with the United States (and the United Nations) by now having backed off sanctions and the no-fly zone. He might well have restarted his nuclear program, and his connections with al-Qaeda would be intact or even strengthened.
We would like to propose another scenario: If we had not gone into Iraq, the situation there would be largely unchanged since before we went in, with most Iraqis still fearful of their government, but with stability prevailing and with Iraq's oil still being shipped to the West under the oil-for-food program. Al-Qaeda operatives, as fearful as most Iraqis of Saddam Hussein, would still be operating largely out of the mountains along the Afganistan-Pakistan border, with limited help from Iran. But Iran, cautious of the formidable adversary Saddam Hussein represented on its Western border, would not be nearly as bold as it is today. As an added bonus, the more than 3,600 Americans killed in Iraq would now be home with their families.
Kristol is not as impartial an observer of the Bush administration's policy on Iraq as it seems, however. In 2003, just as the Iraq War was starting, Kristol was as a guest on the National Public Radio program "Fresh Air" and made the following statement: "There's been a certain amount of pop sociology in America ... that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq's always been very secular."
One would think that with a track record for prophecy like that, Kristol would make no further predictions about either Iraq or President Bush, but neocons evidentally have steadfast loyalty to each other.
Kristol's current prediction is: "If Gen. Petraeus succeeds in Iraq, and a Republican wins in 2008, Mr. Bush will be viewed as a successful president.... I like the odds."
We wonder what odds the bookmakers in Las Vegas would give for that scenario playing out.
Warren is the Editor for the John Birch Society Bulletin.
The John Birch Society - Truth, Leadership, Freedom - on July 19, 2007, 9:37amby Warren Mass from