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Where the Right Went Wrong: How…

Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan…

by Patrick J. Buchanan

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Patrick Buchanan got it right in this book. He writes that Bush's posture after 9/11 is unconstitutional and harmful to the U.S. Nowhere in the Constitution is the president afforded the power of making preemptive war, yet his approach was to declare a virtual battle against evil, rather than going after the perpetrator of the act itself. Ignoring precedent and reality (numerous countries have developed chemical and nuclear capacities in the twentieth century despite U.S. policy to prevent such a spread even among our friends with no retribution,) Bush put several countries on notice they would be liable for regime change if they tried to enter that circle of countries.

"To attain Churchillian heights, Bush's speechwriters had taken him over the top." They defined four elements in his speech:

1. The war on terror is a war between good and evil and will not end until all elements of evil are eradicated;
2. Every nation must decide if it is with us or against us, if not with us they are with the terrorists;
3. Any nation that funds or assists any group we decide is a terrorist will be considered a terrorist state subject to attack;
4. Iran, Iraq, and Korea will not be permitted weapons of mass destruction and we would engage in preemptive strikes and wars to prevent their acquisition by those countries.

These elements caused the coalitions that had been created after 9/11 to "crumble." He went further in a speech to West Point graduates in 2002. The thrust of the speech was that the United States would never permit any country in the world to threaten its hegemony and would use its military to prevent any country from becoming greater than we are.

"Containment is not possible when unbalanced dictators can deliver those weapons on missiles.... If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long." Ignoring history (containment worked with such lunatics as Mao and Stalin) Bush is making a case for perpetual war.

How did this happen? Buchanan argues that Bush's inexperience and ignorance of foreign policy permitted the neoconservatives to hijack his foreign policy Buchanan goes on with a more traditional (for him) jeremiad against free trade that he (and Ralph Nader - now there's a ticket) will lead to a us become a non-industrial low-paying service center economy unable to compete.

While I have rarely been in agreement with Buchanan, this time he got it right. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Political agendas aside, Buchanan presents some thought-provoking ideas that he aims to bolster with snapshots from other eras spanning many centuries. That's where this book tends to get bogged down. In too many spots, the author begins sounding like a rambling history professor who has lost track of time in a class that should have ended 10 minutes earlier. Also, some of the tenets in this book have been explored many times before. Still, "Where the Right Went Wrong" provides an interesting glimpse of what Buchanan labels "neoconservatism," thrusting a revealing spotlight on the factionalism that often overshadows Washington. ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Jun 9, 2012 |
Rather amusing how LibraryThing is truncating the title. Beyond that, I was candidly rather disappointed with Buchanan here. No real ground was broken, this work seemed in large part a rehash of The Death of the West (especially the sections on China, and immigration into Europe). He didn't seem to be even all that interested in explaining in the detail he should have how Neoconservatism arose, and I'm not sure he even did enough work to back up his claims of Israel controlling US foreign policy in the Middle East. On a slightly different line: Would it be that much more work to add some footnotes? So much of what is in this work is a direct quotation of others that in my view Buchanan is opening himself up to charges of misquotation.

Having said that, the section on how Congress has largely abandoned their traditional role was very well done. But I came away with the feeling that Buchanan wants to crank out a book every two years or so nowadays, even if he doesn't have much new to say. ( )
  worldsedge | Sep 2, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312341156, Hardcover)

Although the George W. Bush administration is famous for being "on message," delivering a consistent and polished political perspective no matter what, such consistency apparently does not extend to every member of the conservative universe. In Where the Right Went Wrong, veteran pundit and occasional presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan offers up scathing criticisms of Bush's policies, the arrogance and boorishness of which, he warns, could ultimately dramatically destabilize the United States' superpower status. The problem, in Buchanan's eyes, is the rejection of traditional Reagan-era conservatism by an administration under the sway of the so-called "neoconservatives," who favor a pre-emptive military strategy and big government and don't mind running up dangerously huge budget deficits to support it. The war in Iraq, fought without direct demonstrable threat, alienates America in the eyes of the rest of the world, says Buchanan, squandering the global goodwill earned after the 9/11 attacks and creating exponentially larger numbers of terrorists who will threaten the U.S. for generations to come. The zeal over free trade among elected officials, a feeling notably not shared by Buchanan, Ross Perot, and Ralph Nader, is costing America jobs, Buchanan theorizes, and leading to a de-industrialized service-sector-only economy, an end to American self-sufficiency in favor of a reliance on global corporations, and a looming economic crisis. Refreshingly, and unlike pundits of his day, Buchanan crafts his arguments by examining world history, offering detailed analogies to the Roman Empire, the Civil War, and pre-Soviet Russia among others. Conservatives alienated by the Bush administration will find an eloquent champion in Buchanan and even liberals, who may not have known there was a conservative argument against war in Iraq, stand to learn something from a right side of the aisle perspective so different from that found in the Bush White House. --John Moe

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Where the right went wrong chronicles how the Bush administration and Beltway conservatives have abandoned their principles, and how a tiny cabal hijacked U.S. foreign policy and may have ignited a "war of civilizations" with the Islamic world that will leave America mired down in Middle East wars for years to come. At the same time, these Republicans have sacrificed the American worker on the altar of free trade and discarded the beliefs of Taft, Goldwater, and Reagan to become a party of big government that sells its soul to the highest bidder"--Container.… (more)

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