History Last, Polemics First: A Critical Review of Jacob Heilbrunn’s ‘America Last’

History Last, Polemics First: A Critical Review of Jacob Heilbrunn’s ‘America Last’

The Western commentariat has spilled much ink and expended considerable effort attempting to explain our era of political malaise, particularly the disruptions underway within the Republican Party and the American Right. It is into that maelstrom that Jacob Heilbrunn seeks to explain the Republican Party’s alleged turn towards illiberalism. Heilbrunn’s America Last: The Right's Century-Long Romance with Foreign Dictators is a meandering and often ahistoric examination of the American Right and its affinity for authoritarian or illiberal overseas regimes. Heilbrunn's central question is to...

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Neocon Charlie Sykes’ Tortured Analogies, Past and Present

Neocon Charlie Sykes’ Tortured Analogies, Past and Present

There is a booming op-ed industry that peddles tortured World War II analogies. The latest offering from its tired assembly line was published by Politico and penned by unreconstructed neoconservative Charlie Sykes. As with other offerings in recent years (and indeed, decades past), Sykes' piece, entitled "How FDR Made Republican Isolationists Look Silly with a Simple Rhyme," plays loose with the facts and is steeped in ahistoricism. Sykes's piece hinges upon the Roosevelt administration's reaction to "isolationists" in Congress, their supposed resistance towards preparedness, and the White...

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Enemies Above: The FBI and the Creation of the Brown Scare Myth

Enemies Above: The FBI and the Creation of the Brown Scare Myth

"Today's threat to our national security is not a matter of military weapons alone. We know of new methods of attack. The Trojan Horse. The Fifth Column that betrays a nation unprepared for treachery." Such were the remarks from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's fireside chat on May 26, 1940. Roosevelt's sentiments captured and propagated a growing sense of fear and paranoia that the United States was entering a covert war with a hostile foreign power. These sentiments, coupled with the steps taken by the United States government to fight them, are strikingly similar to those of today....

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Brown Scare, Red Scare, Fake Scare, Who’s Scared?

Brown Scare, Red Scare, Fake Scare, Who’s Scared?

The demands of the American empire have been used throughout the twentieth century to influence domestic politics and popular opinion on foreign affairs. The exaggerated threat of foreign agents and alien ideologies in league with one’s political opponents has long been used to constrain the Overton Window on foreign policy, and its one of the few bipartisan institutions in Washington. Offenders from across the political spectrum have participated in a "scare cycle" that has hampered our politics and narrowed our minds. Such is the case today, with supporters of the foreign policy status quo...

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Power Elite Analysis: Lessons from the ‘Conspiracist’ Right and New Left Academics

Power Elite Analysis: Lessons from the ‘Conspiracist’ Right and New Left Academics

The United States is amidst a full-blown moral panic concerning the authenticity and proliferation of online discourse. This latest culture of information anxiety over "misinformation" is an example of what one preeminent scholar called "conspiracy panics." This panic is similar to an earlier fear of the "ultraright," which helped define American politics throughout the 1960s. A quick history of one "ultraright" figure and his unlikely influence upon a New Left academic offers us valuable warnings and a possible path forward in our time of information anxiety. Dan Smoot was an...

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The Loneliness of Ron Paul: By the Numbers, 1975-1985

The Loneliness of Ron Paul: By the Numbers, 1975-1985

In 2022, the ideological landscape of American foreign policy opposition is the most dynamic and diverse it has been in over eight decades. This newfound disorder is especially true for the right, as a new crop of libertarian-leaning and populist Republicans are challenging fundamental precepts of America’s mission in the world. For those who know their foreign policy history or are old enough to remember the Cold War, this represents a sea change in the American right. While the right has a long history of “isolationism,” that tradition of foreign policy restraint waned for much of the...

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Israel Winner of the 2003 Iraq Oil War

Israel Winner of the 2003 Iraq Oil War

From the Foreword by Lawrence B. Wilkerson: “[T]he debate over whether oil was a principal reason for the 2003 invasion has waxed and waned, with one camp arguing that it absolutely was, while the other argues the precise opposite.” “Mr. Vogler, himself a former...

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