Wise Words of Wanniski

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I was struck by these two passages from the lengthy interview with Jude Wanniski that begins Neo-Conned [quotes from pp. 70-1]:

What’s worth noting, however, is that this type of situation – nations trying to regularize their status with America – is more common than we think. For example, Libya and Qathafi have been trying to reach a diplomatic solution to their differences with the U.S. for years – ever since it became clear the cold war was ending with their patrons in Moscow on the losing side. The same is true not only of Iraq, but with Iran, North Korea, and even Cuba as well. The problem has always been what President Eisenhower loosely called “the military-industrial complex.” That is, if the U.S. comes to terms with all the “rogue states” of the world who were aligned with Moscow or Beijing in the cold war, there would be no enemies to guard against or to defeat if they were deemed imminent threats. Public support for defense spending would dry up and the Pentagon would wind up living on crumbs, as it was in the 1930s.

…In my mind, the people of Israel would be less likely to lose their lives and limbs if the Arab/Islamic world could have its list of grievances simply heard by Uncle Sam. And I knew hearings would eventually lead to the stalemate over Palestine. It did not happen because the Jewish political establishment in the United States – not necessarily in Israel – was determined to close off serious political discourse with the Arab-Islamic world in the mistaken belief that in so doing it is protecting Israel. It is the worst possible thing to do, practically inviting terrorism, but it grows out of a deeply-held conviction by those Americans – Jew and Gentile – who decide upon such matters that the Arab world is the enemy of Israel and that maximum force and minimum diplomacy is the correct posture.

In both these passages, Wanniski is arguing that enemies are being created where they need not be. It is unclear to me why Wanniski’s point here is such heresy for neocons, the religious right, etc. Where is it written that Arabs, Muslims and Cuban and North Korean commies are completely incapable of compromise or negotiations? Why is it that suggesting they might be makes you anti-American, a traitor, a liberal fifth columnist and so forth? When did it become part of being a good American to be thoroughly paranoid and completely uncharitable in regards to other nations?

11:31 pm on January 19, 2006