Friday, August 1, 2008

American Power

Online for less than a year, American Power has earned a spot in the top tiers of Great Satan's intelligentsia. Created by So Cal Poli Sci guy Dr. Donald Douglas (Oh! He got game! ), Am Pow is essential reading in the new millennium.

Neophilosophical mindcandy that consistently makes the case for the undeniably sexy appeal of fun, freedom of choice and certifiable democrazy with insightful analysis, commentary and expertise on a wide variety of subjects - Foreign Policy, Education, American and Foreign politics, culture, International relationships - all from an unbound neoconservative perspective.

AmPow's "Pro Victory" stance and determined daemoneoconic devotion has generated support, robust debate and PR at sundry sites like Air America to Atlantic Monthly. AmPow's influence routinely and regularly stars at Real Clear Politics "Best of the Blogs" series.

A true son of So Cali, before he was Dr Douglas he was a champion skateboardist, a homie and peer of Tony Hawk, rocked out with cutting edge rock harbingers like Black Flag and Social Distortion and supported American Intervention in the Balkans way back in the 1990's.

He excelled so well in school, truly in love with booklearning and a first class communicator, a career in education seemed a perfect match.

GsGf correspondants recently won the highly coveted op to snag an iview with the hot doc and put the journalistic moves on at the recent super secret neocon coven "Committee Of Five" annual super secret Grand Strategy hook up.

GsGf - What was the spark to create American Power?

Dr Douglas - The fact is, when I started blogging I had just finished teaching a new course, Introduction to Political Theory. More so than other political philosophies covered in the class, I was drawn to Burkean thought for its emphasis on custom and tradition.

"Burkean Reflections" was my first weblog.

I especially liked Burke's emphasis on continuity in culture - on prescriptive authority found in a nation's historical associations and traditions, and how such bases of authority formed a bulwark against revolutionary movements, and the rise of authoritarian leadership.

I thus thought Burkean conservatism would provide excellent foundations for a traditionalist's analyisis of poltics and world affairs.

GsGf - What happened? What compelled you to ditch old school diplopoli philosophy in the new millennium?

Dr Douglas - While Burke will remain a key pillar of my thinking on the best social order, my forward orientation on America power and U.S. foreign policy diverges substantially from orthodox conceptions of Burkean restraint in foreign affairs.

I became increasingly distressed under a Burkean identity of classical conservatism. disgusted, frankly, by some of the uses of Burke among some old-guard conservatives, who've championed Burke in a program of outright American isolationism and reactionary doctrines.

GsGf - By "Restraint in Foreign Affairs" you mean the Iraq war.

Dr Douglas -Most of my blogging was on Iraq, and I started to realize that I was really neoconservative more than a Burkean conservative, so after I learned that paleoconservatives champion Burke as their intellectual pedigree I created American Power.

GsGf - What were the inspirations?

Dr Douglas - A couple of articles further convinced me that it was time to firmly authenticate the neoconservative foundations of American Power.

One of these is a New York Times essay by David Brooks. An agenda of global democracy promotion is well within the established traditions of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy, from Wilson to Reagan.

There's no ignominy in the push to harness U.S. hegemony for the expansion of world freedom.

Second, that has affirmed the importance of making more clear the ideological identity for my writing, Joshua Muravchik's October 2007 essay in Commentary Magazine, "The Past, Present, and Future of Neoconservatism."

Muravchik makes an awesome case - absolutely no apologies - for the power of neoconservative thought thus far and in the years ahead. The essay offers a fairly comprehensive review of neoconservativism's development.

This article's a modern classic, and those who so easily and utterly dismiss neoconservatism would be irresponsible to disengage from the arguments it presents. Muravchik concludes the piece by rightly noting that neoconservatism isn't foolproof, that it doesn't hold all the answers.

What it does do is offer a coherent and compelling approach to meeting today's international challenges, not the least of these being the war on terror. Those who so easily and utterly dismiss neoconservatism would be irresponsible to disengage from the arguments it presents.

GsGf - What are America's National Interests?

Dr Douglas - The national interest historical defined has physical/economic security of the state can be very narrow. It can lead to isolationism for a great power. Today, if a "realist" national interest conception would return to favor, we'd "off-shore" our political-miltary responsiblities around the world, starting with Iraq, and then with a realignment of our basing overseas.

GsGf - Wouldn't that be ammoral or immoral to outsource America's projection - or rejection of projection?

Dr Douglas - It's not moral or immoral, but simply a choice on the appropriate use of our resources and power. Unfortunatly, "national interest" can be construed so narrowly as to be isolationist.

America historically in the indispensible great power. I think the world would be less free and stable of we adopted a "come home America" national interest foreign policy.

GsGf - And Regime Changes?

Dr Douglas - The question of whether or not to intervene's relative, depending on a range of factors, but genocidal circumstances and the failure of multinational responses ought to be precipitous factors. We should have no more Rwandas or Darfurs, to say the least.

And the case could be made that criminal negligence, as in this year's case of Burma, might be added to the notion triggers on the responsibility to protect. The national interest includes moral responsibility, where material capabilities are used for the expansion of liberties and values.

GsGf - Could humanitarian needs be a trigger for interventions?

Dr Douglas - It depends on international circumstances. The U.N. structures can work if there's a commonality of interests among the key actors. Humanitarian assistance can be facilitated without regime change. But when nations refuse to act amid genocidal-scale disasters, outside action should be considered. Today, Zimbabwe is not yet such a situation.

Kenya earler this year wasn't quite on the level where we'd see calls for outside action. We'd need to see something of world historical enormity to rouse the normal recalitrance to override the norm of sovereignty for outside intervention to be seen as acceptable. There's a political calculation in all of this, so smart politics will advise proportionate responses.

GsGf - Am Pow tends to have a laissez-faire view on personal freedoms - secular in a way compared to many conservative voices per se - is this significant?

Dr Douglas - I'm kinda of into the religious values thing, only to the extent that we respect Judeo Christian values against anti-Western nihilism.

GsGf - May I ask one last question?

Dr Douglas - You just did.

GsGf - Oh, then may I ask you one more after this one?

Dr Douglas - (laughs) Certainly!

GsGf - Why does neoconservatism face such ardent foes? Are these willful mischaracterations or honest ignorance?

Dr Douglas - The left hates neoconservatism first on foremost for the powerful role leading neocons played in the lead up to Iraq.

From postmodern leftists, where forces, essentially, can't ever be considered, neocons are the enemy.

But if you look at it closely, neocons are almost exactly opposite on the issues most important to the left. Where liberals want the U.S. to be humble and focus on multilateral compromise and even supranational authority over the U.S. (the U.N), neoconservatives reject these themes, instead pushing a righteous moralism in upholding American power and values, as well as a refusal to subordinate American interests to foreign states or international institutions.

We'd have to sort out some other factors, but the fact that "neocons" have become the shorthand scourge for so many antiwar leftists it's fairly clear the movements simply a lightning rod and easy ideological demon.

Postmodernism is fundamentally challenged by neoconservatism moral optimism and stunningly unabashed willingness to promote the national interest by use of military power. "


Michael Tuggle said...

"Neophilosophical mindcandy"

That's perfect! Mind if I borrow it?

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Hi Michael! No prob - though I would ask that ye toss a link to GsGf whenever you use it or maybe even the essay by the same name here:

Anonymous said...

The neocons have wrecked this nation. Unjust wars and loss of civil liberties. You really reconsider your role models little one.

Debbie said...

Great interview Courtney. I always enjoy reading the doctor's articles. I was also a fan of his writing at "Burkean Reflections".

I completely agree with his statement

" ... Where liberals want the U.S. to be humble and focus on multilateral compromise and even supranational authority over the U.S. (the U.N), neoconservatives reject these themes, instead pushing a righteous moralism in upholding American power and values, as well as a refusal to subordinate American interests to foreign states or international institutions. ..."

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Khaki Elephant said...

Great interview. Thanks for all the links.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a few civil liberties to bridle.

Nikki said...

AWESOME POST! This is soooo cool. I enjoyed the read very much. What an intriguing idea to interview someone. I loved it. The doc is definately a must read...Can't wait til the summer mellows and I will be able to do more of it! :)N

Red Phillips said...

Dr. D. is quite the dapper fellow. He almost looks like a Euro despite his vocal partisan Americanism. Nice tie and knot, BTW. Assistant professorships must pay better than I thought.

I think GSGF might have a little crush on Dr. D. How sweat.

But if Dr. D. was fit enough to be a skateboarder and is not just another dumpy academic, then clearly he was fit enough to enlist in THE GREAT WAR TO CONVERT THE WORLD TO DEMOCRACY. Who knows, maybe he had eczema or something. (My real hunch is that he didn't want to cut his flowing locks.)

But he can still do his part for the cause. He could save the small fortune he was going to spend on his next tie and send care packages to the troops who are actually fighting THE GREAT WAR TO CONVERT THE WORLD TO DEMOCRACY.

I'm torn though, Mike. I don't know whether to be impressed by Dr. D's sartorial splendor or to make fun of him as some sort of pretentious fancy boy. What do you think? Personally, I prefer boots and a bolo tie. More man-of-the- peopleish.

Red Phillips said...

Well I have now been informed that the picture is not Dr. Douglass. Sort of deceptive GSGF.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Oh Red, argumentum ad hominum is soooooo last year. Kinda like wobbling off topic.

Jealousy does not become ye.

Take it from me - being beautiful, smart, funny, fashionably coutured and all together with it bears certain costs.