In 2003 writer Eli Lake declared that the neoconservatives were the “most influential wing in the current administration,” and that those empowered neoconservatives were chiefly responsible for the expedited time table to launch what would become the disastrous Iraq War. A war that would, among other things, bring Barack Obama to power as the American public near-universally rejected not just the blunders and false promises that sold the war, but the ideology underpinning it. Americans no longer saw trying to bring “democracy” by the barrel of a gun to every corner of the world as a good idea, let alone a duty worth killing and dying for.
Despite the public rejection of neoconservatism, the ideology continues to permeate throughout Washington policy circles. The results of national elections and the blood of thousands of American soldiers, sailors, and marines can not wipe away the sepsis. But why?
One answer could be those that fund the “movement.” Eccentric billionaires and foreign governments are willing to fund neoconservative institutions and individuals regardless of how poorly regarded the ideology has become among the American people.
Take for example Michael Goldfarb, founder of The Washington Free Beacon. Goldfarb was paid by the governments of Georgia and Taiwan to lobby for their interests as a partner at Orion Strategies. Part of that meant lobbying for maintaining and increasing US power projection in Eurasia and East Asia.
As a lobbyist for foreign governments Goldfarb was forced to disclose some of his politicking on behalf of those foreign governments with American journalists. The press contact lists for story pitches from Goldfarb could act as a roll call of neoconservative journalists in Washington, some of whom ended up working at the Free Beacon. The mixture of foreign money and domestic journalism is an odd brew, though from all accounts legal.
Then there are the neoconservative think tanks that, despite public disgust with neoconservative ideas, continue to be well funded. The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a good case in point. Even after the Iraq War catastrophe FDD has been amply funded by the rich and unhinged.
According to tax information uncovered by reporter Eli Clifton, FDD has received millions from right wing billionaires Paul Singer and Sheldon Adelson. Singer was a prominent Bush donor and ally while Adelson is perhaps most known for spending over one hundred million dollars to try and defeat Barack Obama in 2012, though he may be most noteworthy for claiming last year that the US government should “drop an atomic bomb on Iran.”
Adelson then imagined what might happen if an American official were to call up an Iranian official, say “watch this,” and subsequently drop a nuclear bomb in the middle of the Iranian desert.
“Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes’,” Adelson said.
Other donors, also revealed by Clifton, show that wealthy ideologues are FDD’s true constituency.
So with a group of deranged billionaires and foreign governments paying the bills it seems the neoconservatives in D C can continue to promote wars of aggression no matter how unpopular US military involvement in places like Syria, Iran, or Ukraine are with the American people.
The neocons don’t need popular support – they probably know after Iraq they may never have it again – they just need a foothold in the halls of power to lobby and maybe some nice write ups from a mainstream media willing to ignore who is funding their agenda and why.