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Heritage Foundation Leaves the Neocon Plantation
The New Right gains a major convert
I grew up in an era when the political left was defined by zero war, zero defense. The Democrat Party of the 1970s and 1980s was almost universally pro-Soviet Union and anti-US. The left’s hero was whoever ascended, however briefly, to head of international Communism as premier of the Soviet Union.
The political right was, of course, the counterbalance. Republicans advocated peace through strength and the occasional use of force, like Grenada and Libya. Anti-communism defined the GOP of the era.
When the Berlin Wall fell, things changed. Republicans under Geroge H. W. Bush became virulently pro-war. Democrats, having lost their Soviet guide-on bearer, normalized their position to pro-military. As the 1990s wore on, Democrats fell in love with military action as a useful distraction from President Clinton’s many disturbing controversies and scandals.
After 9-11, the two parties’ foreign policy melded into one. Except for a brief anti-war hyperventilation around the 2004 election, the New World Order became the standard for all of Washington. To survive at the national level, politicians must genuflect at the altar of neo-con altar.
Then, along came Trump.
Trump reassembled the Reagan coalition and guided it back to a peace-through-strength position. He reminded voters that the US was not constantly at war during the Reagan years. This, in turn, triggered the more historically astute to remember that, before Woodrow Wilson, the United States avoided war. Our ancestors thanked God for our geographical location between two vast oceans. We remembered that George Washington warned us to avoid entangling alliances—like NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
And the globalist cabal that had taken over Washington lost its collective mind.
Trump and the New Right threatened the permawar policy of Washington DC. Permawar was the reason for the petrodollar, and the petrodollar was the foundation of permadebt. Permadebt, in turn, funded everything Washington holds dear, including the lobbying revolving door that allows a person to enter Congress penniless and leave with half a billion dollars. (See Joe Biden.)
For more on the petrodollar, see this:
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative Washington think tank founded in the 1970s by Paul Weyrich, Edwin Feulner, and Joseph Coors. Heritage supported just about every US military action from its beginning, although Weyrich (with strong support from Patrick J. Buchanan and Phyllis Schlafly) led intellectual opposition to US participation in the Bosnian civil war in the 90s.
Thanks be to God, Heritage seems to have adopted Weyrich’s foreign policy. I noticed recently some Heritage fellows voicing concerns over the permawar in Ukraine. Then, today, I see this from ZeroHedge:
In a striking indication of the American right's increasingly skeptical view of costly foreign interventionism, the Heritage Foundation took an aggressive stance against the $40 billion aid package approved by Congress earlier this month.
The story details Heritage’s full-throated defense of the second Iraq war and the permawar in Afghanistan. But here’s the flip:
In a Ukraine-vote post-mortem at the Wall Street Journal, Heritage president Kevin Roberts said his think tank had been accused of "abandoning conservative principles or embracing populist isolationism. Neither charge is true. But in one sense, both are welcome. The war in Ukraine may finally force conservatives into the intramural foreign policy debate they have put off for more than 30 years."
And here’s the line that gives me hope:
In an interview this week, he [Kevin Roberts] told the Times that Heritage's opposition to the Ukraine package, reflects "a real skepticism among the conservative grass-roots about the entrenched conservative foreign policy leadership.”
I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know permawar is bad policy. Permawar and the petrodollar have turned the United States into an international bully. Like an abusive father, the country has grown old and frail and now must fear the boys it lorded over for many years.
Heritage has struck a winning position for the New Right.
No Republican neo-con will win a national election in the near future. Republicans cannot win without MAGA, and MAGA is not a bunch of Republican Party sycophants who will pull the lever for anything with an R beside it. We actually believe in peace through strength, with the emphasis on “peace.” We will happily stay home on election day or under-vote races without a real choice. We don’t care how many Republicans get elected; we care what they do in office. And we’re not going to vote for anyone who will send our kids overseas to kill or be killed by someone else’s kids for the benefit of Raytheon, Blockrock, Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, or Boeing.
It’s Memorial Day. As we give thanks to God for the lives of those who perished in our country’s many wars, let’s commit ourselves to the avoidance of war and preservation of our founding principles. We cannot claim “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as universal truths if we continue to kill for profit.
I pray Heritage continues on the path toward peace.