by Paul David Collins ©, July 20th, 2006
Who’s to blame for the current crisis in the Middle East? Point the accusatory finger at the neoconservatives and their concept of a global democratic revolution. The neoconservatives are a faction of the elite that are essentially running the Bush Administration. They are Trotskyites who have blended their leftist philosophy with Leo Straussian fascist additives and technocratic concepts to form what can be described as a new Jacobinism. Claes G. Ryn describes the new Jacobinism:
Within today’s Western democracies a new Jacobinism is exercising growing influence, especially in the United States. It is working to sever the remaining connections between the popular government and the traditional Western view of man and society. It employs an idiom somewhat different from that of the earlier Jacobinism, and it incorporates various new ideological and other ingredients, but it is essentially continuous with the old urge to replace historically evolved societies with an order framed according to abstract, allegedly universal principles, notably that of equality. Like the old Jacobinism, it does not oppose economic inequalities, but it scorns traditional religious, moral, and cultural preconceptions and social patterns that restrict or channel social and political advancement and economic activity . . .The new Jacobins are more accepting of existing society than were the old Jacobins, for they regard today’s Western democracy as the result of great moral, social and political progress since the eighteenth century. They see it as an approximation of what universal principles require. (21)
The modern day Jacobins of the neoconservative movement adhere to the concept of a global democratic revolution. The result is a Jacobinism that has assumed a more international character. Ryn states:
The old Jacobins assumed that their principles were for all but as they faced pressing and specific obstacles near to home and were culturally focused on France and Europe they did not, for the most part, think globally. The new Jacobins do. They put stress on the international implications of their principles. The new Jacobinism is indistinguishable from democratism, the belief that democracy is the ultimate form of government and should be installed in all societies of the world. The new Jacobinism is the main ideological and political force behind present efforts to turn democracy into a worldwide moral crusade. (21)
It is interesting to note that the new Jacobinism makes democracy synonymous with freedom. However, the new Jacobins of neoconservatism are promoting a form of democracy that is quite different from the form of democracy found in America’s constitutional republic. Neocons promote plebiscitary or majoritarian democracy. This is a pure-strain democracy that lacks the extremely important feature of the rule of law. The majority always has its way, even when its decisions are based on passions, impulse, or rash emotionalism. Inevitably, the majority comes under the unhealthy influence of one or more demagogues and spirals into mobocracy, or mob rule. Mobocracy further degenerates into anarchy. The power vacuum is eventually filled by a dictatorship. Ryn expands on the subject of democracy and its neo-Jacobin context:
To demonstrate the ideological and practical import of neo-Jacobin democratism it is necessary to make a distinction between two different forms of popular government. . . Although both notions of government are referred to as “democracy,” they are not different versions of the same kind of government. They imply radically different understandings of human nature and society and have radically different institutional entailments. They are ultimately incompatible. The one may be called constitutional or representative democracy, the other plebiscitary or majoritarian democracy. The former is compatible with the old Western view of man’s moral predicament. The latter flows from the kind of ideas that Rousseau and the Jacobins advocated. Constitutional democracy means popular rule under self-imposed restraints and representative, decentralized, institutions. Its aim is not to enact the popular wishes of the moment but to articulate what in American constitutional parlance is called the “deliberate sense” of the people. Plebiscitary democracy aspires to rule according to the popular majority of the moment. To ensure the speediest possible implementation of their wishes it seeks the removal of representative, decentralized and decentralizing practices and structures that limit the power of the numerical majority. Plebiscitary democrats recognize that, especially in large modern societies, the people need government officials, “representatives,” to serve them, but the proper role of these officials is not to exercise independent judgment in determining the public interest. They should be agents of the people. (50)
According to Ryn, constitutional democracy acknowledges the moral complexities of the human condition:
Constitutional democracy assumes a human nature divided between higher and lower potentialities and sees a need to guard against merely self-serving, imprudent, and even tyrannical impulses in the individual and the people as a whole. According to John Adams, who was a key figure in shaping early American political thinking, the people can be as tyrannical as any king. The Framers of the American Constitution gave no power to the people as a national entity and placed various restraints on the ability of majorities to get their way. So also did the Framers try to protect against the abuse of power by government officials by instituting checks and balances. In a constitutional democracy the people and their representatives adopt restraints on power to arm themselves in advance against their own moments of weakness and shortsightedness. In awareness of the flaws of human nature, they do not wish to be governed according to their own impulse of the moment. Sound government requires that the popular opinions of the moment be carefully scrutinized, sometimes that they be resisted by responsible leaders. The real, more considered, and enduring will of the people emerges over time through the interplay between popular opinion, as expressed in elections and public debate, and the informed, independent judgment of popular representatives. (50-51)
Ryn correctly observes the Founding Father’s derision for plebiscitary democracy:
The American Framers set up a government that, by the standards of their own time, had a strong bias in favor of popular consent. They can even be said to have created a special kind of democracy. To understand the Framers’ conception of good government it is necessary, however, to remember that they had a very low opinion of what they called “democracy” or “pure democracy.” They associated it with demagoguery, rabble-rousing, opportunism, ignorance, and general irresponsibility. One of their chief aims was to protect against such possible manifestations of popular government. While envisioning broad popular participation in politics, they sought to shield most of those charged with making decisions from the momentary popular will. Except in the case of the House of Representatives voters could affect the decisions of the national institutions of government only indirectly, and even the members of the House could, for the two years of their term of office act independently of their constituencies, should they see the need to do so. The Framers never contemplated universal suffrage in the modern democratic sense, expecting only male property-owners to participate in politics and voting. Fearful of the passions of popular majorities, they sought to create structures conducive to responsible articulation of the long-term interests of the people as a whole. (51)
Given the American Founding Fathers’ opposition to plebiscitary democracy, it becomes obvious that the new Jacobins of the neoconservative movement are not heirs to the American Revolution. Neocons’ flag waving and talk of patriotism have hidden an agenda from the American people that more resembles a global version of the French Revolution. The concept of a global democratic revolution is part of that agenda.
The global democratic revolution was manifested in Lebanon as the Cedar Revolution. The first individual to use the term “Cedar Revolution” was Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky. Dobriansky is a neoconservative politician and a member of the neocon Project for the New American Century (“Paula J. Dobriansky,” Wikipedia, no pagination). At a February 28, 2005 news conference, Dobriansky stated:
In Lebanon, we see growing momentum for a ‘cedar revolution’ that is unifying the citizens of that nation to the cause of true democracy and freedom from foreign influence. Hopeful signs span the globe, and there should be no doubt that the years ahead will be great ones for the cause of freedom. (No pagination)
Using Dobriansky as their mouthpiece, the Neocons were making it clear that they had their eyes on Lebanon. The Cedar Revolution was instigated using the assassination of Lebanon’s ex-prime minister Rafik Hariri as the trigger event (“Cedar Revolution,” Wikipedia, no pagination). From the beginning the Western media and the Bush Administration fingered Syria as the culprit in the assassination. This accusation was put forward in a U.N. investigative report written by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis. Under close scrutiny, the report comes apart. For instance, one of the report’s witnesses, Zuhair Zuhair Ibn Muhammad Said Saddik, bragged to the German magazine Der Speigel that his Hariri testimony had made him “a millionaire” (Parry, no pagination). Another witness, Hussam Taher Hussam, recanted his testimony and claimed he was tortured and then offered $1.3 million by Lebanese officials to lie about Syrian involvement (No pagination).
Despite the weak case for Syrian involvement in Hariri’s assassination, the Bush Administration still pushed for Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon. According to Mohamed Hassan, Syria was in Lebanon for a very good reason:
In 2000, with the departure of Israel, a new situation emerged. The Islamic movement Hezbollah controlled the south of Lebanon. The Christian Phalangists, some of them had left for Israel, they were being marginalized. In that situation, Syria played the role of a mediator. Without Syria’s presence, acts of revenge directed against the Phalangists could have been carried out. Moreover, the nationalists supported the presence of Syrian troops to protect the Palestinian refugee camps. One recalls 1982, when under the watchful eye of Sharon, the Phalangists carried out massacres directed against the Palestinians. (No pagination)
In spite of the fact that Syria’s military occupation of Lebanon seems to have been a necessity, the Bush Administration still portrayed the Syrians as oppressors that needed to go. Syria did withdraw its remaining forces on April 26, 2005 (“Cedar Revolution,” Wikipedia, no pagination). Then, in keeping with the concept of a global democratic revolution, national parliamentary elections were held in May 2005. However, Lebanon was not prepared for democratic elections. Much of the Middle East population has been brainwashed by a radical form of Islam that remained dormant for centuries until it was awakened by, in part, Western elites and the intelligence community. Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, played no small role in this radicalization project. This project began with enticing the Soviets to invade Afghanistan. This much Brzezinski candidly admitted in an interview with a French magazine called Le Nouvel Observateur:
Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs ["From the Shadows"], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?
Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?
B: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would. (No pagination)
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provided a catalyst for Brzezinski’s radical Islam project. Under the pretext of education, Afghan children were propagandized and transformed into a generation of radicalized Muslims. This project was exposed in an article in the Washington Post:
In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.
THE PRIMERS, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code. (Stephens & Ottaway, no pagination)
Various governmental and educational organizations were involved in this project:
Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID [Agency for International Development] grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994. (Stephens & Ottaway, no pagination)
The material circulated by this campaign was replete with violent images and language:
Children were taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and land mines, agency officials said. They acknowledged that at the time it also suited U.S. interests to stoke hatred of foreign invaders. (Stephens & Ottaway, no pagination)
According to the article’s authors, the material shocked and disturbed some: “An aid worker in the region reviewed an unrevised 100-page book and counted 43 pages containing violent images or passages” (Stephens & Ottaway, no pagination). The article elaborates:
One page from the texts of that period shows a resistance fighter with a bandolier and a Kalashnikov slung from his shoulder. The soldier’s head is missing. Above the soldier is a verse from the Koran. Below is a Pashtu tribute to the mujaheddin [sic], who are described as obedient to Allah. Such men will sacrifice their wealth and life itself to impose Islamic law on the government, the text says. (Stephens & Ottaway, no pagination)
After Afghanistan’s population was sufficiently radicalized, the county was used as a base of operations for the dissemination of this violent form of Islam to the rest of the Arab world. Ahmed Rashid pointed this out in his article for Foreign Affairs magazine entitled “The Taliban: Exporting Extremism.” In the article, Rashid writes:
With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI, who wanted to turn the Afghan jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined Afghanistan’s fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad. (No pagination)
Thanks to Brzezinski, USAID, CIA, ISI, and others among America’s establishment, this violent form of Islam spread from Afghanistan and reached much of the Middle East. The results of Lebanon’s May 2005 national parliamentary elections makes it abundantly clear that this violent form of Islam had infected the Lebanese people. The radical Islamic group Hezbollah won the largest number of representatives in it history (“Hezbollah and the ‘Cedar Revolution’,” Wikipedia, no pagination). The mixture of plebiscitary democracy and radical Islam reached its most disastrous results in July 2005 when Hezbollah was asked to join Lebanon’s government. Israel’s military moves in Lebanon are the results of Hezbollah kidnapping two Israeli soldiers.
Manipulation of the political landscape of the Middle East has resulted in a dangerous enemy raising its head in Lebanon. Perhaps that was the plan from the very beginning. The elite are not stupid. They fully realize that you cannot radicalize a population and then promote the idea of free elections for that population. Such a move would lead to the creation of an enemy that would have to be dealt with somewhere down the line. Brzezinski knows this. The CIA knows this. Most importantly, the neoconservatives who have brought about the current Israeli-Lebanon conflict stage in the global war with radical Islam know this.
Whether one speaks about the neoconservatives or some other blueblood faction, it must be understood that the elite as a whole subscribes to what can only be described as a foreign policy of cynicism. This method has been used by the oligarchs for decades, if not centuries. First, the elite destabilize and overthrow a target nation’s government. Second, the hidden manipulators facilitate the rise of dictatorial and potential dangerous regime to replace the target nation’s former government. Third and final, the elite instigate hostility from the new dictatorial regime which leads to a war that acts as a pretext for a political agenda. The political agenda almost always includes the promotion of an oligarchic model of world government. World domination has always been the final prize in the eyes of the elite. In the words of Henry Kissinger: “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
We seem to be seeing a variation of the foreign policy of cynicism being employed in the case of Lebanon. The neocons encourage plebiscitary democracy in Lebanon through the Cedar Revolution. This manifestation of the global democratic revolution helped Hezbollah climb the Lebanese political ladder and become a potential enemy. The neocons hope this will provide a pretext to continue the American Empire’s march across the Middle East. A discussion General Wesley Clark had with a Pentagon senior military staff officer confirms that the neocons have intended to militarily occupy the Middle East for quite some time:
As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there was a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan. (130)
The neocon encouraged rise of Hezbollah to a place of political prominence in Lebanon has provided the pretext for the American Empire to continue its military globe trotting. The end result will be the neoconservative faction realizing their model of world government.
- “Cedar Revolution.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia 19 July 2006
- Clark, Wesley. Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire. New York: Public Affairs, 2003.
- Dobriansky, Paula J. “ Remarks on Release of Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004” 28 February 2005
- Hassan Mohamed. “Who was Rafik Hariri and who was behind his assassination?” Global Research. 14 March 2005.
- “Hezbollah and the ‘Cedar Revolution.’” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia 19 July 2006
- “Interview of Zbigniew Brzezinski.” Online posting. 15-21 January 1998. Konformist Yahoo Discussion Group. July 2002
- Parry, Robert. “The Hariri Mirage: Lessons Unlearned.” Consortium News. 16 June 2006.
- “Paula J. Dobriansky.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia 22 February 2006
- Rashid, Ahmed. “The Taliban: Exporting Extremism.” Foreign Affairs Online. November/December 1999
- Ryn, Claes G. America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire. News Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2003.
- Stephens, Joe and David B. Ottaway. “From the U.S.A., the ABCs of jihad.” MSNBC. 2002
About the author
Paul D. Collins has studied suppressed history and the shadowy undercurrents of world political dynamics for roughly eleven years. In 1999, he earned his Associate of Arts and Science degree. In 2006, he completed his bachelor’s degree with a major in liberal studies and a minor political science. Paul has authored another book entitled The Hidden Face of Terrorism: The Dark Side of Social Engineering, From Antiquity to September 11. Published in November 2002, the book is available online from www.1stbooks.com, barnesandnoble.com, and also amazon.com. It can be purchased as an e-book (ISBN 1-4033-6798-1) or in paperback format (ISBN 1-4033-6799-X). Paul also co-authored The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship (ISBN 1-4196-3932-3).