A New Republic article from January 2020 following the Suleimani assassination. Probably the most important thing that is happening in US politics right now is something that almost no one is aware of which is the present effort by the neocons to put themselves back in charge of US foreign policy. In recent times, I have noticed that the neocons seem to be waging an “all-fronts” war to reclaim the ideological hegemony they achieved during the George W. Bush administration. They are successfully embedding themselves in the Trump administration’s foreign policy apparatus. Bolton may have been fired for being too uppity. If there is one thing Trump can’t stand it is someone with an ego bigger than his own. But inner-circle neocons like Elliot Abrams have now successfully achieved important positions in the administration and neocon allies like Pompeo hold the highest level positions.
However, inner-circles neocons like Bill Kristol are now involved in what appears to be a largely successful attempt to recolonize the Democrats through fronts like the Lincoln Project and the Never Trumpers. If Biden wins, they will likely be rewarded with important appointments. On the ground level, the neocons seem to be working the culture war angle from every direction. Increasingly, I have noticed that Antifa opinion leaders like Alexander Reid-Ross are taking neoconnish positions on foreign policy and international relations which is obviously an effort to co-opt the supposed “far-left.” Meanwhile, neocon friendly figures like Dave Rubin and actual neocons are promoting the #WalkAway movement of former liberals and leftists and attempting to steer it toward Trumpism. And, of course, neocon flunkies like Dinesh D’Souza and Sean Hannity are still working the evangelical and nativist angles.
In other words, the neocons are trying to seize control of both political parties and all culture war factions (far-left, rainbow centrists, far-right, and libertarians) at the same time. This mirrors the old Communist practice of creating a power base through infiltration, front groups, co-optation, fractions, and other such tools. Remember that the neocons were founded by ex-Communists, with their offspring still being in the movement’s key leadership positions, and that they have enormous amounts of capitalist wealth behind them along with connections that extend deep into the “deep state,” particularly the civilian intelligence services such as the CIA.
There was a time not so long ago, before President Donald Trump’s surprise decision early this year to liquidate the Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, when it appeared that America’s neoconservatives were floundering. The president was itching to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan. He was staging exuberant photo-ops with a beaming Kim Jong Un. He was reportedly willing to hold talks with the president of Iran, while clearly preferring trade wars to hot ones.
Indeed, this past summer, Trump’s anti-interventionist supporters in the conservative media were riding high. When he refrained from attacking Iran in June after it shot down an American drone, Fox News host Tucker Carlson declared, “Donald Trump was elected president precisely to keep us out of disaster like war with Iran.” Carlson went on to condemn the hawks in Trump’s Cabinet and their allies, who he claimed were egging the president on—familiar names to anyone who has followed the decades-long neoconservative project of aggressively using military force to topple unfriendly regimes and project American power over the globe. “So how did we get so close to starting [a war]?” he asked. “One of [the hawks’] key allies is the national security adviser of the United States. John Bolton is an old friend of Bill Kristol’s. Together they helped plan the Iraq War.”