Published On: Thu, Jul 15th, 2010

Meet the Neocons: Max Boot

Who are the neocons or neoconservatives? This group of men and women from academia and think tanks has the ears of presidents and members of congress. For the most part they work behind the scenes, steering US foreign policy with unusual success.

Why do I bring this up? Because most Americans have no idea about whom they are, what they believe and what influence they wield.

As a first in a series, I will explore the most prominent neocons, the thing they wrote and the things they said. I will also delve into some of the neoconservative organizations that promote a imperialistic agenda.

Max Boot portrait cfr.org

In essence, a neoconservative is generally liberal in nature. Few really concern themselves with domestic spending or monetary policy. Their main focus is on a foreign policy that is expansive and costly. They generally believe in the United States as the world’s policeman and are very liberal in the use of military power to achieve their goals. They promote American Imperialism outwardly and are quick to criticize anyone with a more restrained foreign policy.

As you’ll see very few or none of them ever served in the US military to fight in the wars they promote so voraciously, but have little concern about sending you and I and our children to risk their lives in foreign entanglements.

The first neocon I want you to “meet” is Max Boot.

Boot is a Senior Fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He also writes or has written for the LA Times, Commentary, the Christian Science Monitor, the Weekly Standard and was the editor for neoconservative op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal.

He has numerous titles of expertise but most notably as Steve Forbes called him in the July 19th issue of Forbes, “the acclaimed military historian”.

What has Boot said or wrote that concerns me? There are many, but I’ll mention a notable few.

Boot has been one of the biggest proponents of preemptive attack on the nation of Iran. In his LA Times piece, “Keeping Iran in Line” from March 2007, Mr. Boot makes the following statement; “Faced with such a flagrant casus belli [Iranian support of insurgents in Iraq], not to mention President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blood-curdling threats against our ally, Israel, the United States would be perfectly justified in hitting Iran now, before it acquires nuclear weapons.”

As far as the use of drones in Pakistan, Boot dismisses the fact that a 30 year old Pakistani would try to harm Americans because of our use of drones over there. The fact is that man stated that was exactly why he did what he did. Boot however ignores the issue of motive when it comes to people wanting to harm us. He says, “No doubt we will soon be hearing, if we aren’t already, that CIA drone strikes in Pakistan are responsible for the aborted Times Square bombing, which is linked to the Pakistani Taliban. If only we weren’t targeting the terrorists, some will argue, they wouldn’t target us.”

Later in the article he smugly says, “Curtailing the drone strikes won’t earn their gratitude; it would simply signal to them that we can be intimidated. The best response to the Times Square attempted attack is to keep sending our robotic aircraft after the bad guys. This is by far the most effective program we have to address the terrorist threat inside Pakistan.”

Sometimes Boot goes a little more haywire than usual. In a 2003 Washington Monthly interview, Boot explains his desire for attacking Saudi Arabia. “We need to be more assertive and stop letting all these two-bit dictators and rogue regimes push us around and stop being a patsy for our so-called allies, especially in Saudi Arabia.” In a worst-case scenario, he said, the United States may end up “occupying the Saudi’s oil fields and administering them as a trust for the people of the region.” Do we own the Saudi oil fields? Is that not their sovereign land? But as I explained in the intro, men like Boot are more than willing to use military force for anything and everything.

And God forbid if you are a traditional conservative with non-interventionist beliefs. Boot is quick to call out men like Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul and inaccurately call them isolationists. He even recently went after the non-interventionist foreign policy of Kentucky Senatorial candidate Rand Paul.

Here Paul quotes Jefferson saying, “The Founding Fathers warned us that foreign alliances sacrifice our independence as a nation. In Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address, he asserted that America should have “peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.” Yet today, America is often subservient to foreign bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO), and the United Nations (UN). …

Rand Paul proposes that America can engage the world in free trade, develop lucrative commercial relationships with other nations, and defend its national interests without funding or joining international organizations. The U.S. Government must answer only to the Constitution and the citizens protected by it.”

Boot replies that “I suppose some on the right would join him in denouncing the UN, but what about the IMF, World Bank, and WTO? Generally I think most conservatives are Hamiltonian (one of the Founding Fathers whom Paul doesn’t mention) and believe that we gain from such trade and economic arrangements, which, yes, restrict sovereignty to some small degree but in the process immeasurably benefit the United States by curtailing tariffs and other obstacles to economic growth.”

Interesting, Paul quotes one of the greatest proponents of small government and liberty while Boot praises Alexander Hamilton, the man who wanted so much for the US to be like Britain.

Max Boot also frequently criticized Presidents Bush and Obama for their lack of boots on the ground and didn’t praise Bush until the surge. Maybe Mr. Boot doesn’t know the numbers of troops Mr. Obama has put in the Middle East. He has out-Bushed George W Bush.

Don’t get Boot going on defense spending. In this arena, there is no ceiling, increase the defense budget to the moon. In one article, he criticizes George Mason’s Veronica de Rugy who writes about defense spending cuts.

Boot gives the answer you would expect a globalist to give, “It’s true that we spend as much on defense as the rest of the world combined, but our commitments are also greater because the U.S. armed forces have to maintain peace and security across the globe.”

Possibly the quote that sums up the core beliefs of Max Boot and many neoconservatives was found in a Paul Crespo article in the Miami Herald in 2003, Boot has unflinchingly argued that the United States should “unambiguously … embrace its imperial role.”

Max Boot is also quite active with the neoconservative organization, The Project for the New American Century. As a signatory, he has participated in letters to our most recent presidents, encouraging and sometime demanding more military intervention. The letters talk of democratizing these countries, establishing peaceful and stable governments and rebuilding of these nations. Mr. Boot, is this really the job of the US military?

If Mr. Boot is an “acclaimed” military historian as Mr. Forbes describes him, how can he possibly call our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars?

If you don’t think men like Max Boot have enormous influence on our foreign policy, you could just turn on the TV news in the past 10- 15 years to see his handy work.

I think based on just a few articles and a few quotes, Mr. Boot has no ceiling on how much we should spend on our empire. In addition, he is more than willing to use military force very liberally. Why should anyone care? Because government officials at the highest levels really listen to him.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Tucker Carlson battles Max Boot over Russia, calling disagreement ‘Nazi sympathizing’ | The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a 2003 Washington Monthly interview, Boot explains his desire for attacking Saudi Arabia. “We need to be more assertive and stop letting all […]

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