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Klein: Neocons think 'it's raining Nazis' in Georgia
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Monday August 11, 2008

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As shells explode over South Ossetia and Russian troops press further into Georgian territory, America's most recognized neoconservative thinkers are calling for confrontation with Moscow. And not satisfied with just dealing with the players on hand, Time's Joe Klein observes that they all seem to think that 'it's raining Nazis.'

'Neoconservative Naziphilia,' he calls it.

"But it is important, yet again, to call out the endless neoconservative search for new enemies, mini-Hitlers," opines Klein. "It is the product of an abstract over-intellectualizing of the world, the classic defect of ideologues. It is, as we have seen the last eight years, a dangerous way to behave internationally. And it has severely damaged our moral authority in the world... I mean, after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, after Abu Ghraib, after our blithe rubbishing of the Geneva Accords, why should anyone listen to us when we criticize the Russians for their aggression in the Caucasus?"

Comparing the Russian invasion of Georgia to the beginnings of World War II, Robert Kagan, co-founder of the think tank Project for a New American Century -- which openly lobbied for war with Iraq during Bill Clinton's presidency -- also a regular contributor to the Washington Post editorial pages, opined in Monday's edition: "Do you recall the precise details of the Sudeten Crisis that led to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia? Of course not, because that morally ambiguous dispute is rightly remembered as a minor part of a much bigger drama.

"The mood is reminiscent of Germany after World War I, when Germans complained about the 'shameful Versailles diktat' imposed on a prostrate Germany by the victorious powers and about the corrupt politicians who stabbed the nation in the back."

In New York, William Kristol, also a co-founder of Project for the New American Century and publisher of National Review, believes the US owes Georgia a 'serious effort' in defense of its sovereignty.

"But Georgia, a nation of about 4.6 million, has had the third-largest military presence — about 2,000 troops — fighting along with U.S. soldiers and marines in Iraq. For this reason alone, we owe Georgia a serious effort to defend its sovereignty," he writes in Monday's New York Times. "Surely we cannot simply stand by as an autocratic aggressor gobbles up part of — and perhaps destabilizes all of — a friendly democratic nation that we were sponsoring for NATO membership a few months ago.

"...When the 'civilized world' expostulated with Russia about Georgia in 1924, the Soviet regime was still weak. In Germany, Hitler was in jail. Only 16 years later, Britain stood virtually alone against a Nazi-Soviet axis. Is it not true today, as it was in the 1920s and ’30s, that delay and irresolution on the part of the democracies simply invite future threats and graver dangers?"

Likewise, Washington Times follows suit, claiming: "It is in America's interest to exert maximum pressure on Russia to withdraw its troops and halt the interference in Georgian territory. This latest act shows the need for greater resolve in establishing a European security system that can be an effective check on Russian power."

Pushing the talking point further still, National Review contributor and American Enterprise Institute fellow Michael Ledeen asks, "What's the difference between this and the annexation of the Sudetenland? Including the paralysis of the so-called Western World in the face of deliberate, systematic military conquest."

He concludes that Russia is an enemy of the US, and shirks efforts of the American peace movement. "The silence of the Left is notable, since they so often pose as defenders of peace. Once again it turns out that American military action is judged evil, while our enemies can do the same without a word of protest. Where's Code Pink? Where's Ron Paul, for that matter..."

The employment of Nazi analogies in any opportunity to prop up an enemy figure before the US public, has been a frequent meme for the neoconservative ideology's followers, says Matthew Yglesias.

"The habit that the Kristols of the world have of deploying this kind of rhetoric is infuriating," he writes. "If Kristol really thinks we should go to war with Russia, he’s being crazy and irresponsible. If he doesn’t think that, then he has no business busting out these Munich analogies."