Earlier this month, I wrote an article titled Are We Hearing Echoes of Germany’s 1936 Olympics and Neville Chamberlain’s ‘Peace in our Time?’
I regret having written it and admit that here, rather than simply removing it from the site. One of the deals I make with readers is to leave my bad-calls out there, warts and all. Five volumes of essays, The Dark Side of the Moon, make that promise and keep it. They’re all there, the good judgments along with the not-so-good. But I seldom follow-up by writing a mea culpa and this is one, because it has serious implications. My hubris was showing, like an un-tucked shirt.
Ukraine was (and is) a hot topic and I live in Prague, just a hop and skip down the continent from Ukraine. The American press was busy damning Vladimir Putin for ‘invading a sovereign nation without provocation’ and although I fully understood the irony of that claim, went on to compare Hitler’s preening at the 1936 Olympics, followed by his quick invasion of the country where I now live. I trapped myself by opting for metaphor over thoughtful judgment, comparing Sochi and Putin’s invasion of Crimea. An apology is due and I apologize.
Neocon is the shortened version of neoconservative and Wikipedia defines the term as follows:
“Neoconservatism is a political movement born in the United States during the 1960s. Many of its adherents rose to political fame during the Republican presidential administrations of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. During the George W. Bush administration, neoconservatives played a major role in promoting and planning the invasion of Iraq (and goes on to say) they frequently advocate the ‘assertive’ promotion of democracy and promotion of ‘American national interest’ in international affairs, including by means of military force.”
You’d think we Americans woulkd have learned our lesson, getting our ass handed to us in four consecutive wars by insurgencies. But a number of neocons still hang on in various powerful positions in Washington. These tough-talking hotheads retain a great deal of influence in the CIA, Pentagon, State Department and elsewhere. Senator John McCain is one example. Dick Cheney is another.
At any rate, neocons are not my cup of tea and their influence had too dark a hand in toppling Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, President Yanukovych in Ukraine (both democratically elected presidents) as well as the near-call for wars in Iran and Syria. There, the unlikely combination of Putin and Obama offset a thirst for American intervention by Saudi Arabia and Israel. Neocons support democratic elections when they suit and conspire to take them down when they don’t.
Neoconservatives pushed America into every failed war of the past half-century, from Vietnam to Iraq and if they had their way we’d be hip-deep in military confrontations elsewhere in the Middle East and the world, including China. They’re a very dangerous bunch and largely with the support of the American media, they persist.
Bottom line, I came out of the starting-gate too quickly. Writers love metaphor and in this case I loved mine too dearly.
published: 2. 4. 2014