Day dreaming with the neo-cons

The Australian foreign affairs magazine ‘The Diplomat’ published an article by Dr Robert Horvath of the University of Melbourne entitled ‘The passions of the neo-cons’ (Vol 2, No 2. June-July 2003). Subtitled “[n]eo-conservatives have formulated a vision that identifies US security with the progress of human rights”, the essay details the neo-cons publicly stated belief in universal democratic values, and that moral absolutes, such as addressing human rights abuses, rather than cold national interest should be the driving force of US foreign policy. “[W]hat has really changed …is the readiness of the US to champion the cause of the victims of dictatorships – the dissidents, political prisoners and exiles – who… may yet have the last word on the neo-conservative revolution.” It’s certainly sounds like a noble vision.

However, Dr Horvath makes no attempt to test the neo-con rhetoric against reality. Even a cursory analysis of the neo-con agenda reveals massive credibility gap between their words and their actions. For example;

In order to maintain its newly established military presence in Central Asia, the United States has provided open and unconditional support for Uzbekistan’s dictator, Islam Karimov. Despite an extremely poor human rights record, Mr Karimov was welcomed to the White House in March this year.[2]

The US has permitted Afghanistan to slide back into warlordism. Civil and women’s rights have been dumped in favour of strategic interest. Only this week it has been reported that the US has begun negotiating a power sharing settlement with the Taliban, whom have regained effective power over most of the south of the country.[4] The United Nations has reported that under the restored ‘rule’ of the warlords, heroin production has returned to pre-Taliban levels and Afghanistan is once again the world’s largest supplier of heroin.[6] As Beer’s wife, Bonnie said, “This is an administration that determines what it thinks and then sets about to prove it. There is no curiosity about opposing points of view.”[1]. AFP. “The Ugly Face of Washington’s Ally Against Terror.” http://commondreams.org/headlines01/1029-01.htm

[3]. Michael Tomasky. “Guess whose appeasing the Taleban now?” http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/06/tomasky-m-06-18.html

[5]. AFP. The Dominion Post. “Taleban out, heroin in.” http://www.nzdf.org.nz/update/messages/2102.htm

[7]. Laura Blumenfeld. “Former Bush Intelligence Insider Assails Counterterrorism Tactics” http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0616-01.htm  

Paul Markham is a project manager for a bank and a student of Middle East history and international politics. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Australia.