Omar Khan interviews Karen Kwiatkowski
OK: What is your view of the legacy to which the neocons are heirs?
KK: The intellectual fathers of neoconservatism—what shapes their approach internationally—are the Bolsheviks. International revolution, international change—radical change, global revolution. And these same terms, these same ideas—of international change, revolution, transformation—these are the words of Michael Ledeen and some of the other articulators of neoconservatism. And the actual people, and they’re not ashamed to really say this, but guys like Irving Crystal and other intellectuals of the 30s had actually been Bolsheviks.
One of the characterizations of neocons today is that they are neo-Jacobins—philosophically, this idea that people are the same, all want the same thing, and should have the same thing. That ‘same thing’ in a modern neoconservative view is this idea of ‘democracy.’ But is it really democracy that they want, or is democracy simply a trojan horse. Certainly for Iraq, George Bush has been left with one story as to why we went in
If they had democracy, they’d take a vote, and we’d be kicked out of there immediately.
Certainly we don’t want them to have democracy, because then they’ll make us leave. So it’s unclear that democracy is a goal, but that’s what they talk about: the God of Democracy. So it’s not like Trotskyism in the sense that they’re not advocating global communism but they are advocating universal, radical—and in effect, catastrophic—change. And this is kind of a clear thread for many years.
So the neoconservatives are not new; during the Reagan era, the ‘Cold War’ was their vehicle for credibility—this evil enemy that we must face, or else the end of the world is coming. They cannot work without this global enemy, almost a kind of class warfare. You can’t just have a mere enemy; it has to be a monstrous enemy, something that can destroy us. They’ve found that in, or rather cultivated it, in what is called ‘Islamic Fascism.’ Unfortunately this doesn’t exist. No one advocates it. No one articulates it. In the 1930s, Hitler had fascism and he talked about it. Islamic Fascism is a made up thing. . But it doesn’t matter: what matters is that it’s useful in generating fear, and serves that same larger purpose—providing a platform from which to operate.
Now you can follow the money too. The neocon philosophy provides a construct within which we can—‘we,’ being the establishment, corporatism—can move. So you have this construct that talks of ‘fear’ ‘protection,’ ‘security.’ Which are used to advocate intervention—intervention for security, what Iraq was effectively sold as: ‘intervention for American security.’
Read the full interview HERE.
PLUS.. a plug for Austin's Third Coast Activist, check them out HERE.