This piece at National Review on the eve of the next Republican debate contains some toxic and very foolhardy quotes from a group of interventionists who are in favor of shutting down any debate about Republican foreign policy.
“[W]hen Ted Cruz, on the campaign trail in Iowa and again in an interview with Bloomberg News, recently pointed the finger at “neocons” in an attempt to defend his own understanding of American interests abroad, the response among some conservative foreign-policy experts — many of whom the term has been used to disparage — was of shock, anger, and dismay. “He knows that the term in the usual far-left and far-right parlance means warmonger, if not warmongering Jewish advisers, so it is not something he should’ve done,” says Elliott Abrams, a former Bush administration National Security Council official and a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It’s an epithet. It’s always used pejoratively. And the main thing I resent about it is, it’s a label, it’s a way of avoiding arguments,” says Eliot Cohen, a Bush administration State Department official and a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.”
To describe the term “neocon” as an epithet in the context of Cruz’s remarks is absolutely ridiculous, and Abrams in particular, who I respect, should be ashamed of this quote suggesting that Cruz’s accurate description of the failures of neoconservative policy equates to calling people “warmongering Jews”.
Cruz’s interview did not ascribe some awful motive to neocons, nor did he raise a single issue related to Israel, nor did he even hint at a single aspect of their views as existing within some dark space. What is the actual quote? “If you look at President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and for that matter some of the more aggressive Washington neo-cons, they have consistently mis-perceived the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and have advocated military adventurism that has had the effect of benefiting radical Islamic terrorists,” he said.”
Perhaps Cruz should stick to using a different description. But Abrams really reads that and sees indication of anti-semitism? Really? What in Ted Cruz’s career has indicated any tendency toward such views? Anything at all?
If Elliott Abrams and the rest of the critics quoted in that National Review piece are so afraid of debate about foreign policy within the context of the election that they are willing to engage in rank accusations of outright unhinged racism just for bringing up a widely accepted term for their ideology, it shows the degree to which the foreign policy establishment of the GOP has existed with a level of insulation unacceptable in every other area of policy. Ask yourself: Who’s really interested in avoiding arguments here – the Senator raising an issue, or the policy experts accusing him of anti-Semitism at the drop of a hat?