NeoCon Nikki and Forever War
By Todd Davis
Corporate media loves to throw around the word democracy. Democracy dies in darkness. Democracy is literally on the ballot this year. We must defend democracy. If Trump is elected, 2024 will be our last democratic election. Democracy has become a cudgel to threaten voters with, a harsh fate for a noble ideal. Democracy can be forgiven if it feels unfairly characterized in these calls for action for what the media, and whoever is using the word in this manner really means when they cite Democracy is Oligarchy. Substitute oligarchy for democracy in all these instances and the hyperbolic insistence that you do what they tell you to begins to make sense. No one symbolizes the desperate grasp of oligarchy trying to maintain control of America quite like Republican Presidential candidate Nikki Haley.
The New GOP
President Donald Trump forever changed the Republican Party in 2016. He listened and gave a voice to the millions of Americans who sat out election after election because neither party represented their interests. Trump came to them and for the first time in a long time, told them there was nothing wrong with living in rural Ohio, there was nothing wrong with loving America, and it was alright, even necessary to stand up and fight back against the deep state that was taking the country away from the people.
Before Trump, the Republican Party looked like Dick Cheney, Bill Kristol, and Willard Romney. Men so rich they have to use colloquial names like Mitt to make them remotely palatable to the voting public. They stood for tax breaks aimed at the rich who would trickle down the benefits paying people $8.50 an hour. Government welfare for corporations but rugged individualism with no safety net for Americans, and, of course, war. Always war. War in Afghanistan. Iraq. Syria. Libya. Somalia. Ukraine. Gaza. Whenever and wherever it could be found, war would be pushed. For Democracy (Oligarchy).
Trump wasn’t perfect, a political novice, he mistakenly surrounded himself with NeoCons like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo. He allowed Mitch McConnell to pass a huge tax break for the rich while derailing the Trump build-a-wall border policy. All of them turned on the President because their loyalty was to globalism and money, not the American people. But the seed was planted in the electorate. Americans had been shown that there was another path.
Back to the Future
The establishment came at Trump with everything it had. Two impeachments. Fifty, sixty, seventy indictments on made-up charges. An entire media industry coalesced against him. And yet, a remarkable thing happened, Trump became even more popular. The Never Trump movement in the Republican Party has never looked more irrelevant. With each indictment, he has picked up voters. Meanwhile, establishment Republicans are becoming rarer than the rhinoceros. Leaders of the farcical January 6th commission Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger were kicked out of Congress by their constituents. Willard Romney announced his retirement. Kevin McCarthy lost his speakership for supporting globalism and not Americans. The Republican Party had changed, it no longer looked like a social club from Harvard Yard. Instead, the party now looks like a ragged band of proud citizens from 1779 trying to forge a new nation built upon not European oligarchy and privilege but that rare ephemeral idea of Democracy by, for, and with the people.
All of this change among the Republican electorate seems to have been lost on Nikki Haley who is running a campaign you would expect to see from a Republican in 2004. She is, to quote presidential rival Vivek Ramaswamy, Dick Cheney in 3-inch heels. And before historical revisionism that made Liz Cheney into some sort of Democratic Party patriot and her father into someone who was a good, decent, Republican maybe different but debatable on positions like taxes and world domination, Dick Cheney was generally regarded as a cross between Darth Vader and Voldemort. A symbol of all that went wrong with American global policy following 9/11. That man, hated by the right and left, is Nikki’s spirit animal.
Haley wants to drag the Republican Party back to the era when entitled politicians wearing American flag pins could ignore the needs and dreams of its voting base and enact policies that did nothing but bring hardship to its voters. Corporate donorship has coalesced around Haley after finding its first choice, the vocal and bombastic Chris Christie was entirely unpalatable to voters. Haley has responded by picking up the rhetoric and defining herself as the flagbearer for the worst aspects of failed American foreign and domestic policy.
Haley Ambassador for Israel?
Nikki Haley served as UN Ambassador for the United States during the Trump administration. Haley was one of many NeoCons Trump put into positions of power, a mistake that has had trickle-down effects with both his current legal troubles and the course of American foreign policy that has metastasized into a NeoLiberal forever war movement under the current Biden administration.
Ambassador Haley vigorously defended human rights abuses by Israel including the lethal use of force against peaceful Palestinian protestors. She was instrumental in getting the US to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, primarily because she felt that it criticized Israel and its treatment of Palestinians too much. Haley said in 2018,
This disproportionate focus and unending hostility towards Israel is clear proof that the council is motivated by political bias, not by human rights.
The United States has since rejoined the UN Human Rights Council under President Joe Biden. Haley’s staunch support of Israeli nationalism has not wavered. On November 3, in a message on X, Haley said,
Anti-Zionism is antisemitism. No federal funds for schools that don’t combat antisemitism.
Zionism is a heavily nationalistic view of the Jewish state and Jewish identity. It elevates, in an almost Biblical sense, Jews among other races and people in the region stating they deserve special rights and privileges because they are Jewish. Many Jews themselves are not Zionists because of the overtly nationalistic and intolerant rhetoric the theory espouses which no longer resonates among liberal philosophers and theologians. This doesn’t trouble Nikki Haley though, she asserts that you, as Americans, and presumably anyone else, must accept Zionism or you’re a racist bigot. And if schools don’t accept that, they will not be funded by the government under her administration.
Modern Zionism has been described by some as fascism and what Haley does echoes government control over what is taught in schools endorsing not a free exchange and debate of ideas. Instead, Haley pushes that only one worldview may be accepted and everyone who disagrees with it is wrong and should be punitively punished.
From Diplomat to Warlord
Nikki Haley has fully embraced military conflict to enforce American and Israeli political aims. Her position is remarkable, even jarring for someone who used to be a professional diplomat. From the beginning of the Israeli-Palestinian war in October 2023, Haley was at the forefront of advocating that Israel destroy Hamas and no ceasefire should be considered. As Israeli war crimes against Palestinian civilians have mounted and the world has witnessed the indiscriminate bombing in Gaza; leveling buildings to such a degree that images from the wrecked landscape look like a dystopian image from The Hunger Games, Haley’s position has not changed.
Millions of people around the world have protested against this massacre of Palestinians, the vast majority of whom are non-combatants. A bomb cannot tell the difference between a terrorist and a farmer. Nikki remains unmoved. On Nov 8 she said on X, Finish Hamas. On Nov 7, Finish Hamas. On November 5th, Haley wrote a chilling editorial in the New York Post where she advocated for destroying Hamas and declaring a cease-fire is not possible until Hamas is eradicated.
A hard-line stance like this, destroying all the terrorists, is straight out of 2004, something George W Bush likely said a hundred times. You are either with us or against us. Coalition of the willing. Axis of Evil. Black-and-white propaganda meant to categorize entire peoples as combatants so they can be bombed and killed with impunity from international law.
Reality in 2023 is far different from the world view in 2004. Most of us now understand that geopolitics are more nuanced. For every terrorist you kill, four civilians are hit as collateral damage. The survivors grow up hating the aggressor country and become freedom fighters, or terrorists depending on your worldview, themselves. It is a never-ending cycle of death and chaos. Nikki Haley has learned nothing from past mistakes in American policy. She still advocates for the collective punishment of an entire population, without end, until every political opponent is dead. This is neither attainable nor moral.
Our recent history has shown us it cannot succeed. America made mistakes in its disproportionate response to 9/11. As a country, we made military choices based on revenge, not mission-oriented decisions that would lead to a favorable outcome. Israel is doing the exact same thing now in Gaza. Haley is either oblivious to past mistakes in this shoot first sort out the bodies never policy, still believes it will work if only more bombs are added to the equation, or more cynically, she doesn’t care and is only motivated by revenge.
A Future of Discord and Chaos
Nikkie Haley is the most authoritarian, war-mongering Presidential candidate we have ever seen on the national stage. Don’t let her 3-inch heels fool you. Her rhetoric is a threat to America and the world. She seemingly can’t find a country that hasn’t accepted vassal status to US hegemony she doesn’t want to go to war with.
Viewers of the Republican Primary debates will be familiar with her abrasive, jarring repetition of the phrase a win for Russia is a win for China concerning Ukraine. Many American politicians are now realizing Ukraine is a lost war having taken the lives of 500,000 Ukrainians, depleted weapon systems of every kind within NATO, and driven European economies to the verge of bankruptcy. America should be negotiating with Russia on a settlement to end this conflict. Nikki Haley will have none of that, she will continue the war to the last Ukrainian until their entire country is destroyed, will ensure that Americans spend trillions funding that destruction, and then will still leave defeated.
Wars in Ukraine and Israel aren’t enough for Haley. In her New York Post article, she says,
We must respond such that Iran never attacks us again. The war in Ukraine is another part of the China-Russia-Iran battlefield. A win for Russia is a win for China and Iran.
In those three sentences, Haley links China, Russia, and Iran so that the current conflict with Russia automatically entails fighting the other two. She essentially commits to an attack on Iran. War with Iran would be the equivalent of Napoleon invading Russia in 1812. Like Napoleon, we would be able to defeat Iran on the battlefield at great cost while being unable to achieve a strategic victory or force Iran to accept peace. We would be once again in the regime change business bringing democracy to a predominantly fundamentalist Islamic country that doesn’t want democracy. And, like Napoleon following his Russian invasion, our diplomatic, economic, and military position after an Iranian war would be in shambles.
Iran poses the same immense logistical challenges that Napoleon faced going into Russia. Tehran is about as far away as you get from Washington. America would have to send everything thousands of miles to reach the battlefield. US bases in the region would be surrounded by hostile nations and subject to attack and interdiction. Few, if any allies would support an American crusade into Iran. NATO has been weakened by its war in Ukraine. Aside from Poland, not one country in the alliance is ready for a major war. And Poles aren’t sailing up the Persian Gulf.
Beyond the difficulty in fighting a war in Iran, this would broaden the conflict around Israel and turn the Middle East into a conflagration. Hezbollah would invade Israel from the north. Russia, and possibly China, would arm Iran as a proxy agent in the conflict and American forces would encounter far more deadly weapons than they faced in Iraq. Are Americans ready for another, deadlier 20-year war in the desert?
The China Question
Many American presidents and presidential hopefuls have taken a tough on China policy. Being tough on China is the new American flag on the lapel requirement for the job. Nikki Haley, like everything else in her foreign policy agenda, takes this to the extreme, practically demanding conflict with China while pledging unlimited, unending support to Taiwan.
Conflict with China would be unbelievably disastrous for Americans. Imagine all those made-in-China goods people claim not to like but use every day suddenly being gone or quadrupled in price. Already looking at $10 a gallon gas from a war with Iran, a hot conflict with China would destroy the American economy as we know it. Undoubtedly a new economy would emerge, but millions of American households would be destroyed. An entire generation would plunge into poverty.
China now has the industrial base that America had in 1941. We can no longer produce endless fleets of planes, tanks, trucks, and weapons. America can barely produce 20,000 shells of artillery ammunition a month to send to Ukraine. Fighting a wartime Chinese economy, even through a proxy in Taiwan, is a harrowing thought. The best course of action America can take is to make a deal with China over Taiwan, allowing the Chinese to absorb Taiwan as part of the One China policy in exchange for trade concessions that would benefit the American people.
Nikki Haley doesn’t have the vision to see this. Her view of the world is binary; us versus them, good versus evil, war over peace.
Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania
Haley recently asserted that allowing people to post anonymously on social media is a national security threat. She promised that as president, she would force every person on social media to be verified by name. This is brazenly unconstitutional and would never happen. Except that it might.
Consider how many freedoms Americans gave up following the 9/11 attack in the form of the Patriot Act. Freedoms that have never been restored. Once taken away, liberty is not returned. It is not hard to imagine a President Haley, embroiled in wars in Ukraine, Iran, and Taiwan would push through an act like she envisions claiming that anonymous posters on social media are Russian or Chinese agents spreading disinformation. Or, if she could not directly enforce this, she would strong-arm and coerce Big Tech companies to do it. The Twitter Files already have revealed that government agencies will censor American citizens if they are trying to speak against the administration’s version of the truth.
Anonymous free speech is fundamentally an American right. At its very core, this right helped establish the Republic. Letters From a Farmer in Pennsylvania was a series of twelve essays anonymously published from 1767-68 written from the perspective of a fictional farmer. The author, John Dickenson, laid out an argument that the British Crown had the right to regulate trade but not to raise revenue from the Colonies. These letters were enormously influential and formed the groundwork for later American political writing.
Had Dickenson been unable to publish his essays anonymously, he would have been arrested by the British authorities. Nikki Haley doesn’t believe in the political philosophy this country was founded upon. She wants to force schools to teach geopolitics aligned with her ideology and will label anyone who disagrees as antisemitic. She wants everyone’s speech on social media recorded and documented, and make no mistake about it, she will use government agencies to go after the speech of those who would disagree with her forever war agenda.
America invaded Iraq, passed the Patriot Act, and got stuck in a quagmire in Afghanistan twenty years ago. Two decades, not that much time on the political stage. Massive mistakes were made. Reflective politicians acknowledge as much. President Biden now admits he made a mistake in voting for military intervention in Iraq. Nikki Haley has learned nothing. She is the type of NeoCon that bulldozes ahead regardless of the damage being done, never looking behind for answers or analysis. The only reason failure occurred is because more military might was not applied. She will escalate the war in Ukraine until US troops hit the ground as “peacekeepers”. She will broaden the conflict between Israel and Palestine until it involves Iran and Hezbollah. She will destroy Taiwan the way Ukraine has been sacrificed in order to weaken and occupy China if it will give Haley’s America one more decade of presumptive world hegemony. Nikki Haley took all the worst parts of George W Bush and Donald Rumsfield’s geopolitics and injected them with HGH.
America, in this critical moment of open borders, economic inequality, and soaring inflation cannot afford a Nikki Haley presidency that promises only war and chaos. Trillions upon trillions would be added to the national debt to finance these wars that have no possible benefit to Americans. What gain do Americans get from a war with China in Taiwan except for skyrocketing prices? A war with Iran would ensure $10 a gallon of gas. How long does an American economy function on that without a strategic oil reserve? Where did the oil reserve go? It’s already been spent on the war in Ukraine.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Brown recently said in Japan
(Almost) every conflict that I’ve been involved with throughout my military career … (has) particularly gone a bit longer than most people would have imagined.
That is forever war. There are no quick endings and fast victories. Ukraine is not joining NATO. We aren’t taking Tehran in 14 days. Israel isn’t wiping out Hamas. China is taking Taiwan at some point, our future President is going to decide if that is done through diplomacy or bullets. Nikki Haley has promised to deliver bullets and bombs to any country that disagrees with her. She’s promised to name, censor, and likely prosecute anyone who doesn’t agree with her policy. Believe her. NeoCon Nikki can never be president of these United States.