It is axiomatic that the goal of the foreign policy of the United States should be the advancement of the interests of the United States and not of any other country, no matter how sympathetic, including Israel. That said, should it not give Chris Matthews pause that his pointed anti-neo-con spiel has become indistinguishable from the well-rehearsed Pat Buchanan line on the matter? In a weird twist, Dem hyper-partisan Bob Shrum, a supporter of Israel, was the odd man out on this evening's Hardball.
To demonstrate my point, let's play a little game. Guess who made the following statements?
A. "The neo-cons are out there complaining that this president isn't tough enough. I have no idea what they mean. 50,000 dead in Iraq - it was supposed to be a cakewalk, Ken Adelman is out there today saying we should go other places, you have other guys that want to blow up every Arab country on the list."
B. "They want a wider war, especially in the Middle East. They want the United States to fight Israel's war against Hezbollah, Syria but especially Iran. But it's not in the interest of the United States. None of those countries - even Hezbollah and Hamas - have attacked the United States. I don't think the country is listening to the neo-cons anymore - they're discredited. The question is, is Bush listening to them? He was gone for a while, right up through the second inaugural, to a script they wrote."
C. "Frum wrote [the script]."
D. "When are we going to notice that the neo-cons don't know what they are talking about, they're not looking at this country's long-term interest? They're bound up in regional and global ideology. And they have had no experience, I'll say it again, in even a school-yard fight. They don't know what physical fighting's all about. I don't why we keep falling for it."
E. "The president fell for it after 9-11, when they put their little pre-cooked meal in front of them, after he knocked down Afghanistan. Wolfowitz and all the rest of them."
F. "I really certainly hope the president isn't listening to them, because I really question whether they have America's national interest at heart."
OK, answers please!
For the record, Matthews was A, C & D and Buchanan B, E & F. But the tone, and the not-so-subtle sub-text, were identical.
Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle.' Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org