Thursday 29th of October 2020

these rats are sleeping with the enemy to pursue their ratty business of war...


Never-Trumper Republicans have been worming their way into the Biden campaign, offering to flesh out his “coalition” ahead of the election and pushing their way into the foreign policy discussions, particularly on China. Given their shared  history with the liberal interventionists already in the campaign, don’t for a second think that there aren’t hungry neoconservatives among them trying to get a seat at the table.

“Some hawkish Democrats may see the neocons as convenient allies in preserving an outdated interventionist mindset,” offers Matt Duss, who is Sen. Bernie Sanders’ longtime foreign policy advisor and maintains close ties with the Democratic campaign to replace President Trump.  “And of course neocons are desperate for any opportunity to salvage their own relevance.”

To those who oppose Trump and support his Democratic opponent, The Lincoln Project’s frontal assault on the president, along with the mainstream headline-grabbing Republican Voters Against Trump PAC, are manna from heaven. But to those of us who were called “unpatriotic conservatives” for failing to goose step with the neoconservatives dominating Washington before the Iraq War—many of whom are soaring around this never-never land right now—this may be a warning from below.

Duss was responding to a Daily Beast report last week which quoted unnamed “individuals who work for conservative think tanks in Washington” who have acknowledged “informally speaking with members of the Biden team in recent weeks.” The focus appears to be on the failing China trade deal and Trump’s supposed weak posture. Reportedly, they are “so frustrated with the U.S-China trade deal and the administration’s efforts to hold Beijing accountable that they are willing to offer counsel to the Democratic nominee.”

For his part, Biden wants to challenge Trump on his own turf by making “an overt, persistent push to signal to voters that he supports American-made products,” and talking tough on China, saying the president started and lost a trade war with Xi Jinping. And, while military action is not discussed in the article, it says the Biden campaign has pondered “enforcement actions against Beijing” to be taken up with like-minded “allies” on more than trade, to include cyber and human rights. The article also suggests Trump has not effectively confronted these issues, quoting one unnamed Republican:

“The foreign policy space is one where given Biden’s track record as a senator, even more so than as vice president, there are a lot more Republicans who are comfortable with a Biden foreign policy.”

“Everybody’s been quietly moving behind the scenes,” the source added, noting that there are “a whole bunch of issues where they’re looking for folks to come out at the right time, sort of change the narrative.”

It’s hard to think that real hardline conservative hawks on China, like Steve Bannon and the folks at the Committee on the Present Danger: China, are involved here. Some of them are certainly neoconservative (like the denizens of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) but more in the John Bolton mold. They’d be pushing for cold if not hot war from Trump’s right, not hedging bets with Biden.



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... it can only be the establishment Republican types perched at places like Brookings and AEI who now see some sort of opening on the D-team. But if they seem like the mushy end of the right flank, think again. These guys are charter members of the Washington foreign policy consensus, mixed in with neoconservative never-Trumpers like Eliot Cohen and Robert Kagan (his wife Victoria Nuland was a top neocon official in the Clinton State Department) who have despised Trump from the beginning and think his America First foreign policy is “deeply misguided” and leading the country to “crisis.” Kagan, who openly supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, has already authored at least one anti-Trump foreign policy op-ed with top Biden advisor Anthony Blinken. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. 

At the same time, The Lincoln Project has been killing Trump in online video fare this summer, and is currently the signature Republican opposition to the president’s re-election. It is led by several GOP strategists from losing presidential campaigns, including Steve Schmidt, who is best known for convincing military hawk Sen. John McCain to put Sarah Palin on his ticket in 2008, as well as Rick Weaver (McCain, 2000), and Stuart Stevens (Mitt Romney, 2012). 

Meanwhile, the backbone of Republican Voters Against Trump is Bill Kristol, who as AEI fellow and editor of The Weekly Standard, was the media mouthpiece for U.S. regime change in the Middle East, dating back in the Clinton Administration, all the way through the invasion of Iraq and his magazine’s timely demise in 2018. The PAC is a project of Defending Democracy Together, which he also directs. Other projects for the outfit include “Republicans Against Putin” and “Standing with Allies” (which urges continued assistance to the Kurds, read: more U.S. troops in Syria). Kristol also co-founded and contributes to the anti-Trump webzine, The Bulwark, which he co-founded in 2018. 

Neocon friends and allies are not in short supply. From Max Boot at The Washington Post singing the praises of The Lincoln Group:

If we are ever again to have a sane and sober center-right party in America — something we desperately need — then the Trumpified GOP must first be demolished. That is what the Lincoln Project is trying to accomplish, and more power to it. By leading the charge against the Republican Party, its founders have shown greater fealty to conservative principles than 99 percent of elected Republicans.

While we cannot speak for the conservative principles of every elected Republican we can safely say that “sane and sober” would not be words for how Boot, a saber rattler of the first order, ceaselessly promoted the failed U.S. war policy in Iraq. Once hated by non-interventionists on the left and right, his fedora-wearing visage is now firmly ensconced in the firmament of Washington’s elite liberal press. As is never-Trumper and neoconservative Jennifer Rubin, another Iraq War cheerleader, who tweeted about Lincoln’s willingness “to say out loud what we all whisper.



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hague joins the ranks of the rats...

Ex-Foreign Secretary William Hague, who has unfailingly promoted interventionism, says Joe Biden as US president will be good for the UK, being the pro-”freedom and democracy” candidate. Let me tell you what this is really about.

I've known William Hague since he was an old man. The young fogey who bedazzled Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative Conference in 1977 was 16 going on 45. He's now someone born around the time of Palmerston.

Sitting, of course, in the House of Lords, he's forever opining from that dungheap about events in other people's countries, quite unabashed about his less-than-glorious period as leader of the Conservative opposition (one of the few who never became prime minister) and a disastrous spell as Britain's foreign secretary.

Hague likes to kick around Johnny Foreigner, usually the dusky ones and, crucial this, when they are not in much of a position to defend themselves.

But this time he has taken the unusual step –for a Tory grandee– of launching a bit of foreign interference in the upcoming American elections.

Even more surprisingly –for a Tory grandee– Lord Hague has awarded the much coveted Hague endorsement to... Joe Biden, the Democratic Party challenger to Donald Trump.

I can think of no other time in history when such a senior Conservative has endorsed any presidential candidate openly, and certainly not a Democrat...

In a Daily Telegraph column, widely reproduced elsewhere, Hague argued that it was in "Britain's national interest for Joe Biden to win" because Trump has "shown disdain for the values of freedom and democracy."

Leaving aside the furore which might have been expected if say, Hillary Clinton had written an op-ed calling for a victory for, say Jeremy Corbyn in December's General Election because Boris Johnson had "shown disdain for the values of freedom and democracy," leaving aside the pickle the Conservatives will now be in should Donald Trump be re-elected, let us turn to the what these values of freedom and democracy that Joe Biden and, for that matter, William Hague, imagine they represent.

The last time I spoke with Mr Hague was when we were both trapped in a lift in the British parliament. He had just returned from Jordan where he had announced the lifting of an arms embargo and the supply of war materiel to the assorted Islamist gangs who went on to use it in the cutting off of heads of anyone who disagreed with them, not least in the Christian sanctuaries of Ma'loula, about which I upbraided him. His frustration at being trapped in a lift with me of all people, in such a week too, was palpable. So much so that when the lift restarted he got off at the next floor, the wrong floor, from which there was no exit, and was last seen walking stiffly towards an attendant who could release him from his agony.

William Hague was one of those on the "Opposition" benches egging-on Tony Blair into his disastrous, madcap invasion of Iraq. He supported every war, every aggression, every swathe of sanctions which appeared before us when he entered parliament two years after me.. He was no friend of liberty and certainly never pressed the cause of democracy whilst foreign secretary on the grisly crew of Britain's best friends in the Gulf.

But what first attracted the arch-reactionary High Tory William Hague to the famously blue-collar democrat Joe Biden?

Might have been Biden's blatant Russophobia, which has nothing to do with his family’s enrichment in the post-coup environment in Ukraine of course. Or the fact that on foreign policy Biden is attacking Trump from the right! Biden accuses Trump of undermining NATO, always trying to withdraw US forces from foreign battlefields, and of course of being a cypher for the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

It doesn't matter that Trump has brought the United States closer to war with Russia than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, that all of his withdrawals of troops have miraculously failed to materialise, that he has withdrawn from the Iran Nuclear Deal, the INF Treaty, threatens the Open Skies Treaty, is sending feelers of potential interference in Belarus, and generally moving his tanks in the direction of Moscow, wanting to place nuclear weapons in Poland, seeking to militarise the Baltic States. No, it's the fact that Trump TALKS the language of de-escalation, resetting relations with Russia and bringing home the troops that is beyond the pale for the so-called Democrat.

Or it might just be that in the gerontocratic sleepy Joe Biden, William Hague just recognises himself, as a young man.


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whitewashing their sullied era...