current airport security arrangements, a blonde American-born woman
with two toddlers in tow is searched as rigorously as a young man
from Algeria so as no one is discriminated against or offended.
As a result, everyone flying must spend hours in airport lines.
Then there are the random searches. Before checked in, I was pulled
out of the line (a consequence of random selection, I was told)
so my bags could be opened up and examined by an airport security
guard, a young woman whose appearance I took to be Pakistani.
Wall Street Journal has been full of bellicose nonsense about
this war, but a few weeks ago it printed a letter to the editor
asserting that so long as native born Americans are being held up
and searched as rigorously as foreigners, we are not "at War"
but "at Patty Cake." After the spending large parts of
two days at airports, that seems about right.
Chronicles group has been one of the main poles of antiwar
sentiment among conservatives during the past decade. Chronicles
opposed the Gulf War, opposed American intervention (on the Muslim
side) in Bosnia, opposed vigorously the war against Serbia. It has
warned repeatedly, in articles large and small, that an American
foreign policy seeking global hegemony will generate foreign enemies
and spur them to violence.
perspective flows in part from the culture of old fashioned isolationism
the America of smaller towns and larger (in the sense of their
cultural role) churches, distrust of European entanglements, "Main
Street" as opposed to Wall Street.
this is not quite accurate. In fact most Chronicles' editors
are cosmopolitans of a fashion: classicists and Europhiles, committed
to upholding the remnants of European civilization in all its regional
manifestations. They feel themselves in battle against the myriad
forces of cultural homogenization driven by global marketing and
high rates of immigration. The magazine thus blends the reflexes
of American prairie populism with those of classical European conservatism.
Add doses of seasoning from home-schoolers, Southern pride people,
anti-abortionists, various kinds of conservative Christians, and
conventionally libertarian isolationists, and you have the right
wing alternative to the neoconservatives, a group far less influential
in Washington but far quirkier and intellectually more challenging.
a weekend in Rockford, I still couldnít say definitively where this
group comes down on the war. They have all opposed the foreign policies
in Europe and the Middle East that have given rise to so much anti-American
sentiment. They have written countless articles predicting that
if the United States doesnít pull back and begin minding its own
business, it would get into serious trouble. But saying "I
told you so" doesnít say enough once the shooting has started.
antiwar right is not pacifist, nor is it as viscerally and reflexively
anti-American as some on the antiwar left. Chronicles' editors
may believe that the Civil War marked the beginning of the collapse
of the American experiment (one said this over the weekend) but
they are in their own ways, very patriotic. Characteristically,
two of the conferences major speakers (Chris Check and Roger McGrath)
are former U.S. Marines.
me distill (with inevitable oversimplification) some of the arguments
about the present conflict I encountered, acknowledging that perhaps
none of them would be adhered to by a majority of those in attendance.
war "here" is more important than the war "there."
Muslim terrorism would not threaten American tranquility without
significant Muslim populations in the United States (or the
far larger ones in Europe); changing Western immigration policies
is far more vital to the security of the West than anything
that takes place in Afghanistan.
and deracinating multicultural liberalism are both threats to
the West, perhaps equal in their weight. Indeed, because Islam
is (for the most part) "over there" and multicultural
liberalism is here, the latter is the greater longer term danger.
ought to forge a "Northern Alliance" of our own, comprising
the United States, Europe, and the Russian federation.
American policies created this problem, and they go way back
in time. Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor during
the Carter administration, acknowledged recently that the United
States was giving covert aid to fundamentalist Muslims in Afghanistan
in an effort to destabilize the country before the Soviet
invasion of 1980.
the attack of September 11 required a military response against
those who inflicted it, there is no support for the neoconservative
effort to drum up a wider war against the Arab world, and perhaps
Iran as well. By default then, John Randolph Club members are
reluctant backers of Colin Powell's limited and coalitional
war strategy, opposing Paul Wolfowitz's push for a broader campaign
against as many as a half dozen countries in the Middle East.
is an irony here. The more establishment-oriented conservative
intellectuals (those close to the Weekly Standard and
the Wall Street Journal) actually oppose the war President
Bush is now fighting, with its parallel emphasis on finding
a diplomatic solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem. They
want no Mid East peace effort and an expanded American war against
Iraq and Syria. If the establishment conservatives succeed in
prodding the administration into their war, the Chronicles
conservatives will slide into vigorous opposition, but that
hasnít happened yet.
at Rockford nonetheless believe that there is an ongoing "war
of civilizations" between Christendom and the Islamic world,
and want Christians to recover their martial spirit, not as
globalists or fighters for multicultural democracy, but as defenders
of their own ancestral traditions. (One young Lutheran lamented
the purging from the Lutheran hymnal an old number calling for
valor in the battle "against the Turk.")
short, the John Randolph Club was a group in flux, holding tightly
to its reflexes of opposition and dissent, but not actually opposed
to what the Bush administration is doing now as much as it is opposed
to the steps that led the United States into its current, difficult,
printable version of this article
As a committed
cold warrior during the 1980ís, Scott McConnell wrote extensively
for Commentary and other neoconservative publications. Throughout
much of the 1990ís he worked as a columnist, chief editorial writer,
and finally editorial page editor at the New York Post. Most
recently, he served as senior policy advisor to Pat Buchananís 2000
campaign , and writes regularly for NY Press/Taki's Top Drawer.
columns on Antiwar.com
Hearts and Minds
Strategic Withdrawal Option
Open Letter to Arab Readers
Push for A Wider War
Bushes and the Palestinians: Act 2
Struggle Over War Aims
They Hate Us
Many Arabs Hate America
is Still Right
Real Plan for the Mideast
Just Mideast Peace
Liberalism on the March