Duration: 14.61 seconds
In the US, you had an ideological constituency that came to power with George Bush in 2001that was determined to take on Saddam Hussein -- and to topple Saddam Hussein. It was all about unfinished business from the first Gulf War.
Duration: 16.28 seconds
That coincided with a strong constituency within the Administration that was saying continually into George Bush's ear, "Iraq is the big problem." And so when those two came together, it produced an irresistible force to go into Iraq.
Duration: 27.03 seconds
I don't think they would have gone into Iraq in the first -- at least in the first term -- if it hadn't been for 9/11. I may be wrong about that, and we'll never know. But I don't think the neo-cons and the Iraq revanchists would necessarily have had enough power inside the Administration to take the US into the same scale of war as it did in 2003.
Duration: 17.95 seconds
What the administration was doing in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 had very little to do with the war on Bin Laden or the Taliban, but was part of a much broader strategy. And a little research kind of confirmed my instincts about that.
Duration: 29.43 seconds
I mean, I’d already looked at what a lot of key people who were obviously very influential within the administration were writing. It was pretty clear to me that Iraq was indeed probably already conceived of as the major target of the quote War on Terror back in late 2001 already. So, by August of 2002 it was very, very clear indeed.
Duration: 21.89 seconds
So a lot of what I was writing in the summer of 2002 -- or in the late summer of 2002 -- was about how clear it had become that you had Cheney and Rumsfeld and neo-cons around both of them are going for war. And how clear it was that Powell was dragging his feet.
Duration: 20.45 seconds
And that I think was the principal motive of -- let's call them "the mainline neo-conservative movement" and the Christian right, which pretty much has deferred to the neo-conservatives on the issues having to do with Israel.
Duration: 27.39 seconds
The larger geostrategic strategy is not just a neo-conservative notion. I see neo-conservatives -- the core of the movement as revolving around and being based upon certain ideas around the fate of Jews after the Holocaust -- a very important aspect of which is Israel.
Duration: 10.38 seconds
And I should say these are neo-conservatives who are both Jews and Gentiles -- feel a special kind of moral obligation around that issue.
Duration: 16.38 seconds
The larger geostrategic issues -- or strategy is, as I say, is not solely neo-conservative. It's people like Donald Rumsfeld, who's certainly not a neo-conservative. They're enthusiastic about this.
Duration: 19.22 seconds
Aggressive American nationalists have always favored the idea of American domination or supremacy at the global level if possible. So to me this is not a particularly neo-conservative idea.
Duration: 24.76 seconds
However, in a sense, the search for the kind of security that is supposed to come with the idea of military supremacy and dominance, I think does come -- is also at the core of the neo-conservative movement. And personally, I believe also comes out of the experience of Jews -- particularly in the 20th century and particularly as relating to the Holocaust.
Duration: 10.91 seconds
There is a kind of need for absolute security, which they believe is ultimately -- will be determined by military force.
Duration: 21.62 seconds
That that's one of the lessons they take from the rise of Nazism, Munich and the Holocaust itself -- That you really need to -- That ultimately the only real way to really protect yourself is through force. And by having military power and military dominance, because then potential Hitlers will never dare to challenge you.
Duration: 10.61 seconds
And I think a part of that also, for neo-conservatives, is the belief that the United States is morally superior.
Duration: 30.83 seconds
It's better for there to be a dominant military power of the morality of the United States than to have a kind of multi-polar world in which powers that are not nearly as moral as the United States -- like France, like China, like Russia -- can actually get their way -- that that's necessarily going to be bad for the world.
Duration: 7.47 seconds
They equate American influence with goodness in the world.
Duration: 12.65 seconds
To me, neo-conservatives have a much, much more of a moral vision of foreign policy than a political vision. They exist in a moral world rather than in a world of politics
Duration: 21.92 seconds
The question of international law and multilateral institutions that are supposed to be reciprocal in nature and create international law together is a notion that illustrates the moral dimension of neo-conservative thought, in any event.
Duration: 29.9 seconds
I think again, neo-conservatives took the lessons of the Nazi period and the Holocaust as meaning that ultimately international law doesn't mean anything -- That ultimately it is just a piece of paper that can be torn up, and that what really matters is military force. And if Britain and France would have had overwhelming military power in the mid-to-late 30s and were willing to exercise that power, then Hitler would have gone nowhere.
Duration: 25.23 seconds
Therefore, they believe that it is the responsibility of democratic states -- which because they're democracies are already considered superior to autocratic states or totalitarian states in a moral sense -- it is for them to become militarily very powerful, to deter potential autocrats or Hitlers from getting anywhere.
Duration: 68.23 seconds
And as to the international law part -- or the multilateral institutions, I think their view is based more or less again on the sense of morality. They believe that the United States and Israel -- whose fates they say explicitly are kind of linked on a moral plane -- are bringers of good to the world. And that the United States on its own has the highest morality. And the more it extends its influence in the world the better off the rest of the world will be -- in a moral sense. And therefore, they would think that it's kind of "immoral" for the United States to constrain its freedom of action -- its freedom to bring goodness to the world by agreeing to restrain its actions by lesser powers who are not as moral as the United States
Duration: 16.38 seconds
They use democracy, I think, primarily as a way of rallying opinion behind them. I'm not sure they care that much about democracy. They prefer it to other forms. If all their other interests will be taken care of, democracy is really -- is a good thing.
Duration: 26.73 seconds
By definition, if the United States extends its influence, the world will be a better place in a moral sense -- the world will be more redeemed, to use a Puritan word that dates from the beginning of the country. This isn't just a neo-conservative idea about America's goodness and its mission in the world, but the neo-cons really adopted this in a big way -- or jumped on it.
Duration: 27.39 seconds
If the United States agrees to a piece of paper -- to abide by a piece of paper that, for example, would lead to its inability to have the most powerful weapons in the world -- It is, by definition, an immoral proposition. Because it means that the United States is constrained from being more powerful -- from being militarily dominant. And ultimately the world will be better if the United States is militarily dominant.