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Trump and the Neoconservatives

Even before the Iraq War, John Bolton [1] was a leading brain behind the neoconservatives’ war-and-conquest agenda. Long ago I wrote about him, in “John Bolton and U.S. Lawlessness,” [2] “The Bush administration’s international lawlessness did not come from nowhere. Its intellectual foundations were laid long before 9/11 by neoconservatives.” I quoted Bolton, “It is a big mistake to for us to grant any validity to international law … because over the long term, the goal of those who think that it really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States.” In fact I set up a web page, the John Bolton File [3], containing various links about him and the neocons.

Nearly all of Donald Trump’s appointments to his transition team are very encouraging. Indeed, I have known many of them for years. But he could undermine his whole agenda by allowing neocons back into their former staffing and leadership role over Republican foreign policy. The New York Times reported [4] how many are now scrambling to get back into their old dominant positions. And now National Review, which supported all the disasters in Iraq, has come out to promote Bolton for secretary of state.

I have written about the neocons for many years. Their originators were former leftists who later became anti-communists. After the collapse of communism, they provided the intellectual firepower for hawks and imperialists who wanted an aggressive American foreign policy. Having lived and done business for many years in the Third World, I thought they would only bring about disasters for America. What especially interested me was their almost total lack of experience in and knowledge about the outside world, particularly Asia and Latin America. I even set up a web page called War Party Neoconservative Biographies [5] as I researched their education and experience.

Brilliant academics as many of them were, their “foreign” experience was at best a semester or two in London or, for the more daring, some studies in Paris or, for the Jewish ones, a summer on a kibbutz in Israel. They are above all Washington insiders. John Bolton is very typical. A summa cum laude graduate of Yale, then Yale Law School, time with a top Washington law firm, and then various academic and political appointments, but no foreign living or work experience. Also, as sheltered intellectuals, often in cluttered small offices, many found it exciting to imagine themselves ruling much of the world, like the old Roman proconsuls. Long ago Peter Viereck explained them [6] with his observation about the vicarious “lust of many intellectuals for brute violence.” No wonder they urged Bush on to his disastrous war and occupation policies. Even before Iraq they were first urging dominance over Russia and then military confrontation with China, when a U.S. spy plane was collided by a Chinese fighter plane. It wasn’t just the Arab world which was in their sights.

I write about all this based on my own experience of studying in Germany and France, working 15 years in South America, and speaking four languages fluently.

Trump appointments so far are really showing his focus upon getting America back on track with faster economic growth, which has been so stunted by Obama’s runaway regulatory regime. To understand their costs, see analysis in the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s “Ten Thousand Commandments.” [7] But more unending wars will continue to sap America’s strength and prejudice the world’s former goodwill toward our nation. Empires all eventually make a transition from where they are profitable to when they become destructively bankrupting. Few would now doubt that America has crossed this threshold. When it costs us a million dollars per year per man [8] to field combat infantry in unending wars, we will face economic ruin just like happened with the Roman Empire.

The risk is that Trump’s foreign-affairs transition team becomes infiltrated. Much of the transition is being run out of the Heritage Foundation, which was a big promoter of the Iraq War. Mainly, however, Vice President Mike Pence, who heads up the transition team, was another war wanter [9] and still supports the neoconservative agenda—e.g., he strongly supported the attack on Libya [10]. He also wants much more military spending. Pence is great on domestic issues but not on foreign policy. Although a Catholic, he also is very close to those evangelicals who believe that supporting Israel’s expansion will help to speed up the second coming of Christ and, consequently, Armageddon. One must assume that he, together with the military-industrial complex, is plugging for the neoconservatives again to work their agenda upon America and the world.

Jon Basil Utley is publisher of The American Conservative.

46 Comments (Open | Close)

46 Comments To "Trump and the Neoconservatives"

#1 Comment By MikeCLT On November 14, 2016 @ 5:47 am

Pence was born Catholic but left the Church long ago for Protesantism.

#2 Comment By John Turner On November 14, 2016 @ 7:40 am

American Conservative writers need to come up with a good list of alternative (non-interventionist) foreign policy leaders, and publicize it. It might not prevail right now, but it would lay the groundwork for the future.

#3 Comment By Chris Chuba On November 14, 2016 @ 8:26 am

Trump’s appointment to Secretary of State will be very revealing. A Bolton appt will be on the very worst side of the spectrum. While Newt Gingrich is also a neocon (who in Washington isn’t?) at least he has a strong pragmatic streak in him.

Unfortunately, Bolton was one of the few really bad Neocons who had the foresight to not join the ‘NeverTrump’ movement. He is in effect a fifth column as he is fundamentally opposed to Trump’s core policy goals in Syria. I hope that Trump has the perceptiveness to see this. I’d love to see Trump give Tulsi Gabbard some leadership role in his Administration as she is aligned with his foreign policy vision and it would show that he is able to reach across the aisle when appropriate.

#4 Comment By KevinS On November 14, 2016 @ 8:48 am

“Nearly all of Donald Trump’s appointments to his transition team are very encouraging. Indeed, I have known many of them for years.”

Could please lift my spirits and let know who they are? I am not seeing much I like.

#5 Comment By PAXNOW On November 14, 2016 @ 10:00 am

Many who support Trump will see a return to neoconism as a betrayal. The litmus test for Trump’s loyalty to America will be if he finally acknowledges that the attack on the USS Liberty was deliberate and issue a statement that he would not have tolerated such an event. This event is not an old wound. No one asked the candidates during the election how they would have handled the assault on USS Liberty. We need to ask president elect this question now.

#6 Comment By John Gruskos On November 14, 2016 @ 10:35 am

“evangelicals who believe that supporting Israel’s expansion will help to speed up the second coming of Christ and, consequently, Armageddon”

The % of evangelicals who believe that particular heresy must be truly microscopic. I’ve spent my entire life attending a variety of evangelical churches, from Pentecostal to mainstream, in a variety of states. My extended family lives all over the country, and they are all evangelical. I have never encountered a single human being who believes that wars for Israel will facilitate the Second Coming, and neither have any of my friends or family. The so-called “leaders”, such as John Hagee, who spew this heresy, are truly generals without soldiers. I think Hagee is given prominence in order to shift the odium for America’s wars in the Middle East onto evangelicals.

Insofar as *any* evangelicals believe it is possible for human effort to facilitate the Second Coming, they focus on missionary effort (first the gospel will be preached to all nations, then Jesus will return). But even this teaching has a strictly small number of followers.

John Basil Utley may be knowledgeable about the outside world, but he has a very skewed understanding of America.

Look at the evidence:

On the Syria/Russia issue, Clinton and McMullin ran as the war candidates.

Trump, Johnson, Stein and Castle ran as the peace candidates.

The states with the highest percentage of Trump/Johnson/Stein/Castle votes are also the states with the largest % of White evangelicals.

The states with the highest percentage of Clinton/McMullin votes are the states with the smallest % of White evangelicals.

Non-interventionist Republican congressmen tend to be from districts with an unusually high % of White evangelicals.

This is why political correctness is so evil: when the guilty are shielded from criticism by the rules of PC, the innocent are blamed. (The same could be said for the Alt-PC of the Alt-Right).

#7 Comment By MEexpert On November 14, 2016 @ 11:47 am

I wish someone will tell the readers how to contact Trump’s transition team. The readers should then flood the team with their objections to appointments of neocons and especially John Bolton. Newt Gingrich may be pragmatic but has no foreign policy experience. I doubt he has any idea about the world affairs. Furthermore, he is also a neocon and Israel firster.

#8 Comment By Kurt Gayle On November 14, 2016 @ 11:57 am

As recently as last night in his “60 Minutes” interview with CBS’s Leslie Stahl, President-elect Trump reiterated his emphatic opposition to the US’s disastrous wars in the Middle East:

Lesley Stahl: “Do you think that– that your election is a repudiation of [Obama’s] presidency?”

Donald Trump: “No, I think it’s a moment in time where politicians for a long period of time have let people down. They’ve let ‘em down on the job front. They’ve even let ‘em down in terms of the war front. You know, we’ve been fighting this war for 15 years—“

Lesley Stahl: “This was the message of your campaign.”

Donald Trump: “We’ve spent $6 trillion in the Middle East, $6 trillion, we could have rebuilt our country twice. And you look at our roads and our bridges and our tunnels and all of the– and our airports are, like, obsolete. And I think it was just a repudiation of what’s been taking place over a longer period of time than that.”

So much of what Donald Trump wants to do as President would be completely undermined by war.

#9 Comment By Jack On November 14, 2016 @ 12:07 pm

This was my biggest fear. John Bolton is the worst possible option for secretary of state. I think Pat Buchanan would make an excellent Secretary of State.

#10 Comment By Todd Jackson On November 14, 2016 @ 1:02 pm

How about Bill Weld?

#11 Comment By JR On November 14, 2016 @ 1:08 pm

Lets keep in mind that Trump will also have Lt General Michael Flynn who cuold very possibly be his National Security Adviser. Flynn is no neoconservative. He gave an interview to Der Spiegel where he said he thought the Iraq War was wrong and rightly laid the blame of the rise of ISIS to it. Hopefully this voice will be the one that influences Trump

Im not convinced that Bolton will take the job. Can we see him agreeing with Trump on being cozy and friendly with Putin?

#12 Comment By Myron Hudson On November 14, 2016 @ 1:43 pm

I believe Trump is going to do and be most of the things his primary opponents were, only he’ll be reckless too. We may find ourselves wishing for Jeb!

#13 Comment By Jack Waters On November 14, 2016 @ 1:45 pm

I’m afraid I agree with you KevinS

#14 Comment By Paul On November 14, 2016 @ 2:31 pm

This essay is urgent reading for Mr. Trump. A difference in foreign policy priorities between Pence and Trump came out during the VP debates, when Pence made clear there was no daylight between his own views and those of the neocons as far as Russia is concerned. Trump needs to name a Secretary of State who doesn’t see the world in zero-sum terms, and who will calm people down. Bolton is the last person in the world capable of doing this. Wrong temperament, wrong philosophy, and will create cynicism and disillusionment among many who would otherwise have supported a Trump presidency.

#15 Comment By JWJ On November 14, 2016 @ 3:04 pm

Going to go contrarian as there are no positive comments about Bolton on this site (is that a sign of closed loop group-think?)

I think he would be a great secretary of state. Certainly better than the last two.
His statement that you quoted is accurate “It is a big mistake to for us to grant any validity to international law … because over the long term, the goal of those who think that it really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States.”

Who sets much of “international law”, but UN high priests (and various subcommittees), the international “criminal” court (whose primary purpose is to hamper the US) and quite a few traveling circus NGOs?
Treaties signed by and authorized by representative governments was NOT what Bolton was talking about.

#16 Comment By DonChi On November 14, 2016 @ 3:07 pm

Thanks you for an incredibly important piece. I can only hope that it sets off an immediate chain-reaction in the paleocon/libertarian worlds (Pat Buchanan, we’re looking at you) and this tragedy can be averted.

So well put, BTW:

“Also, as sheltered intellectuals, often in cluttered small offices, many found it exciting to imagine themselves ruling much of the world, like the old Roman proconsuls. Long ago Peter Viereck explained them with his observation about the vicarious “lust of many intellectuals for brute violence.””

#17 Comment By Viriato On November 14, 2016 @ 3:42 pm

@Chris Chuba: “I’d love to see Trump give Tulsi Gabbard some leadership role in his Administration as she is aligned with his foreign policy vision and it would show that he is able to reach across the aisle when appropriate.”

Yes! Yes! Yes!

#18 Comment By Edward On November 14, 2016 @ 3:55 pm

John Bolton as Secretary of State is the worst-case scenario. I pray that Senate Republicans will block this if he actually gets nominated.

#19 Comment By Redeemed-Deplorable On November 14, 2016 @ 4:27 pm

“The risk is that Trump’s foreign-affairs transition team becomes infiltrated.”

Unfortunately, I don’t believe this is infiltration. The neocons are marketing themselves under their own brand and have been hired by the Beltway set for a while now. Mr Trump has ready access to their resumes and records and has, for whatever reason, chosen them. They are employees, useful for carrying out a sponsor’s agenda or providing one to the clueless who refuse to be bothered with actual work.

Anyone who crafts policy driven by people who’ve only read and talked, but never been places and lived them is an arrant fool. Whether Ben Rhodes or the Neocons, Presidents are delegating to such people. Why are we electing these fools?

#20 Comment By Baldy On November 14, 2016 @ 6:26 pm

Trump is going to disappoint a lot of people, and the supposed non-interventionists on the site who have defended him will be among them.

#21 Comment By Quicksilver75 On November 14, 2016 @ 9:41 pm

Dilemma: there were some GOPe like John Bolton who did support Trump many months ago. Would be good to reward them, and benefit from their experience. However, how to curtail their interventionist instincts. How about roles as Ambassadors to significant allies, or to lead task forces for military reorganization (with an emphasis to removing all the PC/SJW aspects imposed by Obama & removing waste in procurement)?

#22 Comment By Catiline On November 15, 2016 @ 8:46 am

“Although a Catholic, he also is very close to those evangelicals who believe that supporting Israel’s expansion will help to speed up the second coming of Christ and, consequently, Armageddon.” I grew up as an evangelical, and this idea that we were obsessing about restoring historical Israel is so overblown. People use it to demonize evangelicals. Most evangelicals simply have a wistful and vague hope that Solomon’s temple will be rebuilt, and aren’t yearning for Armageddon in their lifetimes. This issue is not often discussed; I only heard it mentioned maybe twice during my 20 years in church. Most of the Christians that constantly talk about the rapture, and emphasize that one day they will just vanish leaving all the sinners behind, are just doing the Christian version of virtue signalling. I always found their moral preening to be off-putting, but I never actually believed they wished the world to be consumed with fire tomorrow or anytime soon. Apparently even other Christians believe this insane “othering” political propaganda, which is disconcerting.

#23 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 15, 2016 @ 11:38 am

The problem with having chosen a Vice Pres. such as Gov. Pence is that they campaigned based on opposing philosophies. That he would lend the Gov. leeway in in designing his domestic and foreign policy team is peculiar.

Mr Trump, I would visit the schools of Clairemont and others in states like CA. Who’s political establishment have been facing off against tough competition for more than twenty against the liberals and held their ground.

If you to play war, do so on the home-front. As Gen Patton would admonish,

“I don’t like to fight for the same territory twice.”

Don’t retread territory won by handing it over to the those that lost. That would be start down a road of making your election meaningless.

#24 Comment By Mr. Askance On November 15, 2016 @ 11:41 am

John Grusko: “I have never encountered a single human being who believes that wars for Israel will facilitate the Second Coming, and neither have any of my friends or family.”

Catiline: “I grew up as an evangelical, and this idea that we were obsessing about restoring historical Israel is so overblown. People use it to demonize evangelicals.”

Over the weekend I had the displeasure of attending a family get-together. Not two minutes after I entered the relative’s house, I was informed that Trump won the election because God “is giving America one last chance.”

I was also informed in breathless tones that Trump plans to meet with the glorious Benjamin Netanyahu to absorb the wisdom of the Israeli leader. I was further informed in even more breathless tones that Trump will make Jerusalem the capital city of Israel.

The people telling me these things call themselves Evangelicals. I call them Old Testament Christians because they spend most of their time in that part of the Good Book, reading the prophets to predict the future. The rest of their time is spent in the Revelation of John, with its Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, etc.

These relatives very much believe in End Times teachings. They are thrilled at the idea of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, because that gets us one step closer to Israel reclaiming its Biblical boundaries, which gets us one step closer to Armageddon, which gets us one step closer to the Second Coming.

Anything that expands the power and reach of Israel must be supported, according to these relatives. War in the Mideast is good in their view, because it moves us closer to Armageddon.

They also believe in the Rapture, so they are convinced at any instant they will be whisked off to heaven. That instant will happen just before the start of Armageddon, so they will be sitting at the right hand of Jesus without the inconvenience of dying or suffering through the years of Tribulation before the Second Coming.

I have been listening to this stuff for a big part of my life. These relatives have a big group of like-minded people around them. And they buy a lot of books and CDs by Hagee and others like him. That’s why Hagee and other preachers like him have big piles of money.

I’m sure not all Evangelicals are like my relatives, but I have firsthand knowledge of many who are like them.

#25 Comment By K West On November 15, 2016 @ 11:57 am

It is important that this article highlights the degree to which Bolton represents a risky pick.

Ignoring the moral turpitude of both men, please tell me how Rudy or Newt be better as S. State?

#26 Comment By Chris Chuba On November 15, 2016 @ 12:14 pm

JWJ, International Law encompasses multiple things.
1. The U.N. charter written at its founding, oh, the U.S. is a founding member, as were China, France, Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom.

2. It also includes norms of conventions established over the centuries such as the Geneva Conventions treatment of prisoners and Freedom of Navigation.

Bolton is referring to a might makes right ethos. Since the U.S. is/was the ‘only remaining superpower’, he doesn’t think we should have to answer to anyone. Weaker countries love international law because it gives them recourse against the strong. Putin argued this point in his much maligned and misunderstood op-ed in the NYT’s about Libya where he criticizes U.S. Exceptionalism because he recognizes that it is a ‘might makes right’ argument.

Setting aside international law works okay for now as long as we are vastly stronger than everyone else but the day may come when we will plead our case on the basis of International Law and no one will shed a tear for us.

#27 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 15, 2016 @ 1:37 pm

“Trump is going to disappoint a lot of people, and the supposed non-interventionists on the site who have defended him will be among them.”

I don’t think I am ignorant of the magnitude of the current ethos concerning use of force tend is. And that it will demand a stalwart wall to oppose. I won’t be disappointed if Mr. Trumps makes a good fight of it. I will if he caves like cheap suit.

While Gov Pence and others were art of his campaign strategy and effort. I m not sure he needed them to win. The ground was well watered by the establishment positions, advocacy and treatment for Mr. Trump. The fact that the men being considered, if that is the case is disconcerting.

While I have no issues with the men, it’s counter intuitive to ask those like myself that supported the nominee to embrace a policies we voted Mr Trump to place on the back burner.

#28 Comment By John Gruskos On November 15, 2016 @ 2:09 pm

I’ve encountered plenty of pro-Israel sentiment among philo-Semitic evangelicals, but no delusions of American foreign policy controlling the Second Coming.

#29 Comment By KevinS On November 15, 2016 @ 2:47 pm

K West writes, “Ignoring the moral turpitude of both men, please tell me how Rudy or Newt be better as S. State?”

But Trump is not going to have a cabinet. He is going to have a royal court of yes-people and loyalists who will feed his endless need for affirmation and adulation.

#30 Comment By rebecca On November 15, 2016 @ 2:58 pm

Mr. Askance, I have had the same unfortunate experience with some Evangelicals. Not all of them, but a significant number do support this view of the End Times and the Rapture. John Hagee spoke a couple of years ago at a local Baptist Church (SE Tennessee); his talk was highly attended.

#31 Comment By James Chilton On November 15, 2016 @ 5:02 pm

Speeding up the arrival of Armageddon is hardly a Christian enterprise.

#32 Comment By ATBOTL On November 15, 2016 @ 8:40 pm

“I’m sure not all Evangelicals are like my relatives, but I have firsthand knowledge of many who are like them.”

So do I. My family, churches and bible studies were full of these people and these ideas in various levels of virulence. I find the claims of the other commenters hard to believe. It’s not just about Israel bringing the end times, it’s that the entire way these people look at the middle east and US foreign policy is colored by Christian Zionist ideas.

Just because CZ is not preached from the pulpit in sermons very often does not change the fact that CZ thinking pervades the American Evangelical movement.

I agree that the over focus on the OT in American style Christianity is the root of the problem. When uneducated people were free to read and interpret scripture as they liked, without a solid theological framework from traditional Christianity, they tended to focus on the dramatic stories from the OT, full of conflict and violence, rather than the philosophical teachings of Jesus.

Growing up in a church or family where you are reading about the Israelites over and over and cheering them on in bloody tribal conflicts with others causes people to identify with the Israelites. It’s a short turn from that to supporting the modern state of Israel and modern Jews in an unquestioning way. For many white Evangelicals, support for Israel and Jews serves as a proxy form of ethnocentrism and nationalism.

#33 Comment By the lion On November 15, 2016 @ 9:36 pm

John Gruskos says that the numbers that believe the second coming via anything but evangelical means are few, maybe in the civilian population, however not so much in the Military just remember the problems in the Airforce academy and remember they were not isolated accounts, Same with the major Neocons themselves so we have a concentration of such people in the very areas that can actually do something about this! One only has to look at the Neocons already in States Nuland and her Husband for example and we see the concentration of power with the ability to actually do something, She was responsible for the Ukraine overthrow and its inherent instability! With the US involvement in Syria we see Al Nusra and ISIS literally within eyesight of Jerusalem, looking down from the Golan Heights and dreaming of freeing Jerusalem from the Israelis and in the direct path just a scant 35 miles away there it is the direct route from Southern Syria and the Golan Heights the Plains of Armageddon! A neocons Christmas Present if ever there was one, the TRIGGER (in their minds eye)of the second coming, Israel be damned they have their eyes on the higher prize, in their ignorance and arrogance they think God needs help, he doesn’t!

#34 Comment By Jim Yost On November 15, 2016 @ 11:18 pm

“When God wants to judge a nation, he gives them wicked rulers.” John Calvin

#35 Comment By DonChi On November 16, 2016 @ 4:00 am

So, Baldy, you’re saying that Trump was a worse bet for non-interventionists that Hillary? I’m assuming that’s what you mean. So, please admit it.

#36 Comment By Hiram On November 16, 2016 @ 11:27 am

To the people who think Michael Flynn is no neocon:

Why is the co-author of his book Michael Ledeen who said:

“One can only hope that we turn the region into a cauldron, and faster, please. If ever there were a region that richly deserved being cauldronized, it is the Middle East today.”

Well, how about that? The world got just what Ledeen wanted!

#37 Comment By Jack On November 16, 2016 @ 12:13 pm

I think Zalmay Khalilzad would be a good choice for State.

He has spoken favorably of Trump. Even though he served Bush 2, he’s a professional diplomat and not an ideologue like Bolton. He’s also a Muslim immigrant and he could go some way towards neutralizing the administration against charges of bigotry both at home and abroad.

#38 Comment By Dan Phillips On November 16, 2016 @ 1:09 pm

Mr. JBU, I made an argument on social media that has come under some fire, although I continue to stand by it. Someone linked me to this article to counter my point. Bolton would be a horrible pick to be SoS, and he is clearly a rabid interventionist. However, he is not IMO, technically speaking, a neocon if neocon means something more specific than just enthusiastic interventionists. Neocons are, by definition, foreign policy idealists. Bolton does not, like the neocons, by and large speak in terms of some moral imperative for the US to spread democracy or some such. He generally speaks in terms of threats to the US, our interests and our allies. The problem is that he greatly exaggerates threats, too broadly defines our interests and takes too much responsibility for our allies. I have labeled Bolton, for lack of a better term, a bellicose nationalist. His is a recognizable pattern that repeats if you follow these debates, which you obviously do, that is distinguishable from neoconservatism. How am I wrong about this? I’m willing to listen to the argument that Bolton is a straightforward neocon if I’m missing something. I plan to click on the links you provided when I have time.

#39 Comment By Baldy On November 16, 2016 @ 1:20 pm

Responding to DonChi: All I said is he will disappoint non-interventionists. That can be true irrespective of his relative merits compared to Hillary.
As to which evil is worse regarding non-intervention, Hillary would have been terrible, but Trump shows no signs of being any better and given his unpredictability probably has a higher ceiling for destructive interventions. So I admit it, feel like you got me?

#40 Comment By Baldy On November 16, 2016 @ 1:34 pm

Regarding some of the posts here on Christian Zionism, my sense is that is a small but vocal number of evangelicals that are Haggee-Hal Lindsey types who are counting down to Armageddon. What is much more common is a vague knee-jerk pro-Israeli bent slightly flavored by poorly understood theology. Minimal understanding about the history of the founding of Israel and current politics makes it easy to sympathize with a country made up of a historically oppressed group that they share a religious heritage with. That the Palestinians are defined as the Middle Eastern “other” makes it all the easier to ignore information that might unsettle that support.

#41 Comment By Mayor of New York On November 16, 2016 @ 8:57 pm

If Trump has half a brain he would distance himself from the Bill Kristol mafia of neocons and appoint real patriots to his cabinet which will ensure that We can Make America Great Again! Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan would make great Secretary of States. Paul Craig Roberts for Secretary of the Treasury. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel should be reinstated. It is these types of independent minded individuals that can shape and change the destructive politics that have led America since JFK was silenced.

#42 Comment By Thomas O. Meehan On November 17, 2016 @ 12:06 am

I believe one thing is certain. An agreement will be reached with the Israelis. They will almost immediately violate their commitment. The Donald will be angry at this, and some scales will fall from his eyes. His volatility may be a boon to us all in this arena.

#43 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 17, 2016 @ 2:09 am

What I will call the “Zionist Wing’ of believers is fairly common among evangelicals. But my experience suggests that there is no one consensus.

Israel has yet a role to play in the work of God. And scripture makes a point to the claim of being blessed by blessing God’s “chosen”. Whether that means say a prayer in agreement with everything and anything Israel does is a dubious claim. Scripture is replete that Israel as God’s chosen has a unique responsibility of reflecting God. And while I love Israel she is hardly such a reflection. Now years ago when I first made those comments here, I was chastised by one writer and being antisemitic of sorts.

It’s hard to discuss Israel in some minds because they are always shrouded in the Holocaust and that has come to mean any criticism makes on anti-Israel. It’s a lie, but those who espouse will say anything about anyone to dissuade critique. I am foolishly unintimidated.

Israel for every believer holds a special place. But in light of Christ, until she acknowledges herself as belonging to to her benefactor, she is wayward. Blessing Israel means aiding in her survival, but it also means, advancing Christ. And not condoning everything she does.

If Israel desires to be a secular state then she is expected to abide by the rules international states. And obey her international agreements or seek to have them changed by fair hearing. If she chooses to a state of Yahweh, then she is doubly bound by upright behavior as a nation state and as the chosen people.

From Balfour to today the question of Israel has been a problematic. If we are going to has tricky an international relation as Israel is — then they had better ensure they don’t lead us into trouble. For example, either her intelligence on Iraq was completely faulty or they were deliberately misleading, in either case we had better be getting something of value other than proclamations about being our only ally in the region, false on its face.

In my view, either God has returned her in which case she will remain until he comes. Because it is God ordained. Or perhaps, she overstepped God in pressing the matter and the UN resolution 181 and they were out of sync with God. Be that as it may, the current state has rights and she has responsibilities. I think Israel is more tan capable of working relationships with her neighbors in spite of her past indiscretions, i.e., the taking of property from Palestinians without compensation.

I certainly embrace Jews, but the question of Israel cannot be a sacred cow because of the holocaust anymore than slavery and life here with all its needless hurdles, serves as some manner of barrier for critiquing the behavior of blacks.

I realize my comments barely skim the surface.

#44 Comment By Bob Policy On November 17, 2016 @ 7:21 pm

Re Neoconservative

I have never understood the term’s use as if the approach is a modern one that began in the nineteen eighties.

Eisenhower (in Arthur Vandenberg’s Tradition) vanquished the Taft Wing to install internationalism as the party’s dominant credo.

#45 Comment By William Mikler On November 18, 2016 @ 3:33 pm

As a Christian who believes that Jesus Christ is the Creator/Redeemer/King, and that he actually has “all authority in heaven and on earth,” the Conservatism that concerns me most is the Christ-less sort that borrows some biblical principals but ignores others. The Neocons fit that category. But so do others. The politics of fallen men, wether Conservative or Liberal, are doomed to fail. Not so politics built on a comprehensive biblical foundation. Our Founders, and the generations that preceded them, knew this.

#46 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 21, 2016 @ 1:56 pm

“Our Founders, and the generations that preceded them, knew this.”

I love scripture. And I would be the first in line to acknowledge tat christian principles have heavily influenced our system in every way at every level.

However, I am leery of claims that hoist the republic on the shoulders of christ as to desin.