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Elliott Abrams and 'Neocon-ing' Obama

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In a Nov. 30 article entitled "People Not Placards," Abrams broadened his assault on Obama calling the President's efforts to talk with adversaries a foolhardy attempt to "engage, apologize, avoid friction, be humble, reach out to previously scorned tyrannical regimes."

Abrams complained that Obama's "multilateral diplomacy means small talk with torturers, tea with dictators, negotiations with regimes that survive through sheer brutal repression and it means putting such unpleasant facts aside to gather U.N. votes and seek consensus."

Abrams left out that in the 1980s he himself coddled Central American dictators responsible for mass murder and arranged weapons for Nicaraguan contras who engaged in acts of terrorism. Nor did Abrams mention that he just left an administration that practiced torture against Muslims in the "war on terror," with his colleagues on the National Security Council virtually choreographing the near drowning of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, beatings and painful stress positions.

Despite Abrams's contempt for Obama's supposed "dithering," some neocons feel their pressure tactics have succeeded in getting Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan and to give a Bush-style speech albeit with much better grammar before the Nobel Peace Prize committee.

During the Peace Prize acceptance speech on Dec. 10, Obama slipped six decades of violent excesses in U.S. foreign policy behind the five-word phrase "whatever mistakes we have made" and followed that by asserting the overarching morality of U.S. military interventions.

In describing U.S. concerns about nuclear arms, Obama accused Iran and North Korea of doing what they could to "game the system," adding that "those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of an arms race in the Middle East or East Asia. Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war."

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However, Obama made no mention of Israel's undeclared nuclear weapons arsenal or for that matter, the secret a-bomb programs of U.S. allies, Pakistan and India.

"The shift in rhetoric at Oslo was striking," observed neocon theorist Robert Kagan in a Washington Post op-ed on Dec. 13. "Gone was the vaguely left-revisionist language that flavored earlier speeches, highlighting the low points of American global leadership -- the coups and ill-considered wars -- and low-balling the highlights, such as the Cold War triumph."

Abrams has yet to join his former State Department colleague, Kagan, in popping champagne corks in celebration of the neocon-izing of Barack Obama, but Abrams and the neocons clearly have reason to celebrate that they have blunted any serious Obama pressure on Israel to accommodate the Palestinians in a Middle East peace accord.

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at

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I had a brief exchange with Abrams in the 80s. One... by Peter Duveen on Friday, Dec 18, 2009 at 9:36:37 PM
Abrams is the neocon point man on "destabilization... by Dick Thomson on Saturday, Dec 19, 2009 at 8:16:04 AM
Has long been making mischief in the USA and Abram... by Ed Encho on Saturday, Dec 19, 2009 at 8:57:37 AM
A google of Elliott will be enlightening so far as... by thomas unger on Saturday, Dec 19, 2009 at 12:36:07 PM
To help the Palestinians with their immoral oppres... by Brian Jenkins on Tuesday, Dec 22, 2009 at 2:28:34 PM