How Neocons Destabilized Europe
September 7, 2015
Exclusive: The neocon prescription of endless "regime change" is spreading chaos
across the Middle East and now into Europe, yet the neocons still control the
mainstream U.S. narrative and thus have diagnosed the problem as not enough
"regime change," as Robert Parry reports.
By Robert Parry
The refugee chaos that is now pushing deep into Europe - dramatized by
gut-wrenching photos of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi whose body washed up on a
beach in Turkey - started with the cavalier ambitions of American neocons and
their liberal-interventionist sidekicks who planned to remake the Middle East
and other parts of the world through "regime change."
Instead of the promised wonders of "democracy promotion" and "human rights,"
what these "anti-realists" have accomplished is to spread death, destruction and
destabilization across the Middle East and parts of Africa and now into Ukraine
and the heart of Europe. Yet, since these neocon forces still control the
Official Narrative, their explanations get top billing - such as that there
hasn't been enough "regime change."
For instance, The Washington Post's neocon editorial page editor Fred Hiatt on
Monday blamed "realists" for the cascading catastrophes
<http://wapo.st/1KVjzlE>. Hiatt castigated them and President Barack Obama for
not intervening more aggressively in Syria to depose President Bashar al-Assad,
a longtime neocon target for "regime change."
But the truth is that this accelerating spread of human suffering can be traced
back directly to the unchecked influence of the neocons and their liberal
fellow-travelers who have resisted political compromise and, in the case of
Syria, blocked any realistic efforts to work out a power-sharing agreement
between Assad and his political opponents, those who are not terrorists.
In early 2014, the neocons and liberal hawks sabotaged Syrian peace talks in
Geneva by blocking Iran's participation and turning the peace conference into a
one-sided shouting match where U.S.-funded opposition leaders yelled at Assad's
representatives who then went home. All the while, the Post's editors and their
friends kept egging Obama to start bombing Assad's forces.
The madness of this neocon approach grew more obvious in the summer of 2014 when
the Islamic State, an Al Qaeda spinoff which had been slaughtering suspected
pro-government people in Syria, expanded its bloody campaign of beheadings back
into Iraq where this hyper-brutal movement first emerged as "Al Qaeda in Iraq"
in response to the 2003 U.S. invasion.
It should have been clear by mid-2014 that if the neocons had gotten their way
and Obama had conducted a massive U.S. bombing campaign to devastate Assad's
military, the black flag of Sunni terrorism might well be flying above the
Syrian capital of Damascus while its streets would run red with blood.
But now a year later, the likes of Hiatt still have not absorbed that lesson -
and the spreading chaos from neocon strategies is destabilizing Europe. As
shocking and disturbing as that is, none of it should have come as much of a
surprise, since the neocons have always brought chaos and dislocations in their
When I first encountered the neocons in the 1980s, they had been given Central
America to play with. President Ronald Reagan had credentialed many of them,
bringing into the U.S. government neocon luminaries such as Elliott Abrams and
Robert Kagan. But Reagan mostly kept them out of the big-power realms: the
Mideast and Europe.
Those strategic areas went to the "adults," people like James Baker, George
Shultz, Philip Habib and Brent Scowcroft. The poor Central Americans, as they
tried to shed generations of repression and backwardness imposed by brutal
right-wing oligarchies, faced U.S. neocon ideologues who unleashed death squads
and even genocide against peasants, students and workers
The result - not surprisingly - was a flood of refugees, especially from El
Salvador and Guatemala, northward to the United States. The neocon "success" in
the 1980s, crushing progressive social movements and reinforcing the oligarchic
controls, left most countries of Central America in the grip of corrupt regimes
and crime syndicates, periodically driving more waves of what Reagan called
"feet people" through Mexico to the southern U.S. border.
Messing Up the Mideast ..
Read it in full <http://bit.ly/1itVXcR>
The Death of 'Realism'
The 2003 Iraq invasion sounded the death knell for foreign policy "realism" in
Official Washington. Aging or dead, the old adult voices were silent or ignored.
From Congress and the Executive Branch to the think tanks and the mainstream
news media, almost all the "opinion leaders" were neocons and many liberals fell
into line behind Bush's case for war.
And, even though the Iraq War "group think" was almost entirely wrong, both on
the WMD justifications for war and the "cakewalk" expectations for remaking
Iraq, almost no one who promoted the fiasco suffered punishment for either the
illegality of the invasion or the absence of sanity in promoting such a
Instead of negative repercussions, the Iraq War backers - the neocons and their
liberal-hawk accomplices - essentially solidified their control over U.S.
foreign policy and the major news media. From The New York Times and The
Washington Post to the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise
Institute, the "regime change" agenda continued to hold sway.
It didn't even matter when the sectarian warfare unleashed in Iraq left hundreds
of thousands dead, displaced millions and gave rise to Al Qaeda's ruthless Iraq
affiliate. Not even the 2008 election of Barack Obama, an Iraq War opponent,
changed this overall dynamic.
Rather than standing up to this new foreign policy establishment, Obama bowed to
it, retaining key players from President Bush's national security team, such as
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus, and by hiring hawkish
Democrats, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, who became Secretary of State, and
Samantha Power at the National Security Council.
Thus, the cult of "regime change" did not just survive the Iraq disaster; it
thrived. Whenever a difficult foreign problem emerged, the go-to solution was
still "regime change," accompanied by the usual demonizing of a targeted leader,
support for the "democratic opposition" and calls for military intervention.
President Obama, arguably a "closet realist," found himself as the foot-dragger-
in-chief as he reluctantly was pulled along on one "regime change" crusade after
In 2011, for instance, Secretary of State Clinton and National Security Council
aide Power persuaded Obama to join with some hot-for-war European leaders to
achieve "regime change" in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi had gone on the
offensive against groups in eastern Libya that he identified as Islamic
But Clinton and Power saw the case as a test for their theories of "humanitarian
warfare" - or "regime change" to remove a "bad guy" like Gaddafi from power.
Obama soon signed on and, with the U.S. military providing crucial technological
support, a devastating bombing campaign destroyed Gaddafi's army, drove him from
Tripoli, and ultimately led to his torture-murder.
'We Came, We Saw, He Died' ..
A War on Assad ..
Get Putin ..
Read it in full <http://bit.ly/1itVXcR>
A Dozen Years of Chaos
So, we can now look at the consequences and costs of the past dozen years under
the spell of neocon/liberal-hawk "regime change" strategies. According to many
estimates, the death toll in Iraq, Syria and Libya has exceeded one million with
several million more refugees flooding into - and stretching the resources - of
fragile Mideast countries.
Hundreds of thousands of other refugees and migrants have fled to Europe,
putting major strains on the Continent's social structures already stressed by
the severe recession that followed the 2008 Wall Street crash. Even without the
refugee crisis, Greece and other southern European countries would be struggling
to meet their citizens' needs.
Stepping back for a moment and assessing the full impact of neoconservative
policies, you might be amazed at how widely they have spread chaos across a
large swath of the globe. Who would have thought that the neocons would have
succeeded in destabilizing not only the Mideast but Europe as well.
And, as Europe struggles, the export markets of China are squeezed, spreading
economic instability to that crucial economy and, with its market shocks, the
reverberations rumbling back to the United States, too.
We now see the human tragedies of neocon/liberal-hawk ideologies captured in the
suffering of the Syrians and other refugees flooding Europe and the death of
children drowning as their desperate families flee the chaos created by "regime
change." But will the neocon/liberal-hawk grip on Official Washington finally be
broken? Will a debate even be allowed about the dangers of "regime change"
prescriptions in the future?
Not if the likes of The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt have anything to say about
it. The truth is that Hiatt and other neocons retain their dominance of the
mainstream U.S. news media, so all that one can expect from the various MSM
outlets is more neocon propaganda, blaming the chaos not on their policy of
"regime change" but on the failure to undertake even more "regime change."
The one hope is that many Americans will not be fooled this time and that a
belated "realism" will finally return to U.S. geopolitical strategies that will
look for obtainable compromises to restore some political order to places such
as Syria, Libya and Ukraine. Rather than more and more tough-guy/gal
confrontations, maybe there will finally be some serious efforts at
But the other reality is that the interventionist forces have rooted themselves
deeply in Official Washington, inside NATO, within the mainstream news media and
even in European institutions. It will not be easy to rid the world of the grave
dangers created by neocon policies.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for
The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book,
America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here <http://bit.ly/1e1Bae7> or as
an e-book (from Amazon <http://amzn.to/1NgNymN> and barnesandnoble.com
<http://bit.ly/1QNY0rx>). You also can order Robert Parry's trilogy on the Bush
Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The
trilogy includesAmerica's Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click
Post by Oleg Smirnov
The Neocon Foreign Policy Walmart