Rudy’s Radicals

If ever there was an archetypal anti-libertarian, a politician whose views exemplify all the very worst aspects of the authoritarian personality, then that man is Rudy Giuliani, who infamously intoned:

"We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don’t see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

This quote just about sums up his almost cartoonish ability to embody the values and rhetorical style of what Lew Rockwell has trenchantly described as "red-state fascism": state-worship, the cult of the leader, and, most of all – the bedrock upon which the entire rotten edifice rests – an aggressive foreign policy that virtually guarantees perpetual war.

This last is the keynote of Rudy’s run for the White House, and it is reflected not only in his public pronouncements – he doesn’t rule out nuking Iran – but in his team of foreign policy advisers, who represent, more than any other campaign, the core leaders of the neoconservative hardliners who whooped it up for war with Iraq. They now want to push us into war with Iran, as one of Giuliani’s top consiglieres, Norman Podhoretz, has been "praying" will happen. (Since praying to God for war seems, uh, counterintuitive, to say the least, one has to wonder: Who, in this instance, does Poddy pray to? Himself? Ares? Maybe this guy.)

Poddy’s latest book-length rant, aptly titled World War IV, is a compendium of every mythological bugaboo and grandiose exercise in "national greatness" in the neocon canon, from the "they hate us because we’re free" canard to the vicious labeling of anyone who dissents from his Israel First agenda as anti-American, pro-fascist, and anti-Semitic, to the all-too-familiar neocon hubris that conjures up a 50-year project of "reordering" the Middle East in order to make the region safe for Israel (and, supposedly, the U.S., although one fails to see how).

Aside from openly declaring that he is lobbying the president to attack Iran, Poddy envisions a grand project of secularizing and "democratizing" the Middle East that would require us to invade and indefinitely occupy Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Egypt, with Pakistan and the states of Central Asia also in our sights. (Turkey presumably gets a pass, unless, of course, they stop cooperating with the U.S. and Israel). How many American lives will this social engineering crusade require? The invasion of Iraq is costing us $2 trillion – multiply that times at least 10, and you get the bill for Poddy’s regime-change shopping spree.

Will President Giuliani take up the call to start World War IV? If Poddy were the lone neocon on the campaign’s foreign policy team, then I’d say it was chiefly for decorative purposes: after all, neocons are advising other candidates – including Hillary Clinton – and most of what we have gotten so far from Giuliani is a lot of generalities about a war on "Islamofascism," but no real specifics on how, exactly, he proposes to fight it. Last night he came out openly for using the U.S. military to launch a preemptive attack on Iran, establishing Poddy’s frenetic warmongering as the leitmotif of his campaign. An even scarier picture of what a Giuliani foreign policy might look like comes into sharper focus as we look at Team Giuliani’s foreign-policy shop.

Newsweek cites the candidate’s chief foreign policy adviser, Yale scholar – and unindicted co-conspirator in the Iran-Contra scandal – Charles Hill, as claiming “I don’t really know much about neoconservatives"! Well, then, can we assume he’s not acquainted with his fellows on the Giuliani foreign policy team? Because it looks to me like an all-neocon lineup:

  • Daniel Pipes, who believes all Muslims, including in America, are out to establish a World Caliphate that will impose Sharia law. He believes the goal of Muslim organizations, like the moderate Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is to establish a theocracy in America. How does he know this? Well, you see, he just kind of intuits it:
  • “Now, they don’t say that in black and white in their writings. I can’t prove that to you. I can tell you that there are all sorts of intimations of it. I can tell you I can sense it. I can make this case, but I can’t make it specifically for CAIR. But you asked me, do I think that’s what they want? Yes.”

    It is doubtful that Pipes seriously believes American Muslims could ban pork, "do away with the equality of the sexes," and criminalize adultery, for chrissakes. His appeal is based on calculated demagogy, which is why he fits in so well with the Giuliani campaign.

  • Martin Kramer, who has made a profession out of purging the faculties of America’s universities of anyone who criticizes Israel and/or shows the least amount of sympathy for any Arabs anywhere. As John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt put it in their pathbreaking essay "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy":
  • "The Lobby also monitors what professors write and teach. In September 2002, for example, Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes, two passionately pro-Israel neoconservatives, established a website (Campus Watch) that posted dossiers on suspect academics and encouraged students to report comments or behavior that might be considered hostile to Israel. This transparent attempt to blacklist and intimidate scholars prompted a harsh reaction and Pipes and Kramer later removed the dossiers, but the website still invites students to report alleged anti-Israel behavior at U.S. colleges."

  • Stephen Rosen, a Harvard professor associated with the neoconservative Project for a New American Century (PNAC), who advocates a massive increase [.pdf] in "defense" spending – a major project to establish permanent bases all across the globe, including in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. In effect, he wants an American empire poised to expand without limit.
  • Peter Berkowitz, the intellectual heavy on the team, cofounder and director of the Israel Program on Constitutional Government, has served as a senior consultant to the President’s Council on Bioethics, and is a member of the Policy Advisory Board at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is also a champion of Leo Strauss, the philosopher of the "noble lie" – a sure find in President Giuliani’s bag of executive tools. Perhaps it will be his particular job to rationalize the concatenation of lies and half-truths the Giuliani administration will cook up to justify an attack on Iran.
  • Why, oh, why do some conservatives get the "extremist"-baiting treatment from the liberal-left, while others remain immune? You’ll notice that it’s only the good conservatives – e.g., Barry Goldwater, and, increasingly, Ron Paul – who are targeted in this manner. Yet real extremists, like the war-crazed neocons on Team Giuliani, go mostly unchallenged in the mainstream media, except for this single Newsweek piece and accompanying sidebar.

    Aside from Ron Paul, which of the Republican candidates has called out Giuliani on this – does he really endorse Poddy’s "prayer" for war with Iran? And never mind the Republicans, since most of them are brain-dead anyway. The really interesting question is: what about the Democrats?

    All this malarkey about how only Giuliani can beat Hillary is nonsense: one "daisy-picking" television ad à la 1964 would make short work of the blustering bully. The Democrats will go after the extremists who populate the highest reaches of the Giuliani campaign, hammer and tongs, and a war-weary American public, which is so easily spooked, will look at "America’s mayor" quite differently. The hysterical hyperbole that tends to color the candidate’s every pronouncement will tend to validate the charges of extremism.

    I could go all conspiratorial on you, and speculate that maybe the "liberal media" knows this perfectly well and is going easy on Rudy during the primaries only to set him up for an awful drubbing in the general. But I won’t – although you’re perfectly free to spread that rumor…


    I‘m having a lot of fun over at Taki’s Top Drawer, blogging about my morning stroll in cyberspace and certain ominous developments over at the supposedly impregnable $597 million U.S. embassy they’re building in Iraq, as well as making random remarks regarding the essential absurdity of the age we live in.

    However, I want to point out – and underscoreone very interesting piece by Richard Poe that exposes some very shocking behavior by Christopher Hitchens, the drink-soaked neo-Trotksyite popinjay who has switched from smearing the antiwar movement to libeling God. Without further ado, go read "Hitchens Unhinged" – it’s appalling, funny, tragic, and disgusting all at once.

    Author: Justin Raimondo

    Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].