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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper CXXXIX: October 11, 2010, 7:00 p.m.

Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman, The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of
the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama (New York: HarperCollins, December
2009).

[Thesis. Richard Nixon's pragamatic Fritz Kraemer (15-20). Their foreign
approach to foreign policy was policy team (20-22).
undermined from within by deceitful
neoconservatives, inspired in part by the Ch. 2: The Anti-Nixon. Fritz Kraemer,
belief of Fritz Kraemer that "weakness is fervent anti-Communist Pentagon
provocative"; their rise culminated in the intellectual committed to militarism and
presidency and policies of George W. fearing "provocative weakness" (23-31).
Bush.]
Ch. 3: Sending Signals. Early Nixon
[Epigraph. La Rochefoucauld.] administration (32-42). Restraint in
handling the April 1969 EC-121
Foreword by Roger Morris. This book shootdown by North Korea (42-45).
is "both primer and indictment" and can Kraemer's predictions about provocative
be compared to David Halberstam's The weakness come to pass (46-47).
Best and the Brightest (xiii; xi-xiv).
Ch. 4: Young Men in a Hurry. Richard
Prologue: Is This the Beginning of Perle and Paul Wolfowitz (48-51). Donald
the End of the Neocons? When Rumsfeld (52-53). Dick Cheney (53-54).
resigning in 2006, Sec. of Defense Bob Woodward (54-56). Fred Buzhardt
Donald Rumsfeld invoked the doctrine (56). Alexander Haig (56-58).
that weakness is provocative, a key
concept of militarist Fritz G.A. Kraemer, a Ch. 5: "Actual of Feigned." Nixon's
civilian intellectual at the Pentagon (1-4). plans for Vietnamization of the war raises
How to extract the U.S. from Vietnam hawks' fears (59-71).
was "the main subject of contention in
the early phases of the forty years war Ch. 6: Cambodia and Echo. Moorer
between those 'pragmatists' who made chairman of Joint Chiefs (73-74).
embraced Nixon's approach to policy and The Cambodia incursion (74-79). Adm.
those 'ideologues'—later known as Moorer feared Nixon's leftward drift and
neoconservatives—whose policies were spied on Kisinger and Nixon as concerns
dictated less by circumstance than by on the right grew (81-83).
certain fixed principles" (4-5). Nixon's
fall was devised by his enemies and led Ch. 7: Crises Expose Fissures. Nixon
to the triumph of the neocons in the and Kissinger's "eagerness to give in to
administration of George W. Bush (5-7). the Soviets" led the right to react (90;
84-92). Lam Son 719 (92-95).
BOOK ONE: OPPOSING NIXON
Ch. 8: Approaching the Zenith.
SECTION I: THE ROAD TO CHINA Opening to China; the Pentagon Papers
(96-103).
Ch. 1: Nixon's Foreign Policy Dream.
In the 1960s Richard Nixon shed his SECTION II: UNDERMINING THE
inflexible anti-Communism (13-15). PRESIDENCY
Nixon and Henry Kissinger, protégé of
Ch. 9: Making Allies into Enemies. BOOK TWO: THE TRIUMPH OF THE
Conservative resistance to Nixon grows, NEOCONS
1971-1972 (107-19).
SECTION IV: THE POST-NIXON YEARS
Ch. 10: "A Federal Offense of the
Highest Order." In Dec. 1971 the Ch. 18: A Short Honeymoon. Gerald
White House discovered the Moorer- Ford's presidency, during which anti-
Radford spying, but decided to cover it détente forces consolidated (229-48).
up (120-31).
Ch. 19: Yielding to the Right.
Ch. 11: "Three out of Three, Mr. Pressure on Ford from the right mounts
President." Vietnam negotiations, the (249-53). Kraemer breaks with Kissinger
presidential campaign, Watergate (132- (253-56). Rumsfeld; Brent Scowcroft
45). (256-59).

Ch. 12: A Meeting of Mind-Sets. Ch. 20: Primary Battles. The 1976
Nixon meets with Kraemer and Kissinger campaign (260-71).
in the Oval Office on Oct. 24, 1972 (146-
53). Vietnam negotiations; the Christmas Ch. 21: The Carter Interregnum.
bombing (153-57). Carter's presidency (272-90).

Ch. 13: Actions and Reactions. SECTION V: THE REAGAN EVOLUTION
Watergate brewing (155-72).
Ch. 22: Fits and Starts. First six
SECTION III: THE HAIG months of Reagan's presidency; Haig's
ADMINISTRATION resignation (293-303).

Ch. 14: Three Quick Strikes. Ch. 23: The High Tide of Anti-
"Alexander Haig entered the White Communism, and After. Haig's
House in May 1973 with a secret to departure facilitated the rise of anti-
conceal and an agenda to pursue. The Soviet zealots (304-06). The Reagan
secret was his participation in the years (306-25).
Moorer-Radford spy ring. The agenda
was his Kraemerite opposition to the Ch. 24: Not Going to Baghdad.
Nixon-Kissinger foreign policies" (175; George H.W. Bush's administration as
175-92). successful pragmatism (326-44).

Ch. 15: Nullifying Nixon. Haig, James Ch. 25: The Post-Cold War Dilemma.
Schlesinger, and others "weaken Nixon at Clinton's first term: failed pragmatism
every turn" (193; 193-209). (345-55).

Ch. 16: Protecting the Flanks. The SECTION VI: FULL POWER
Moorer-Radford spy ring became public
in late 1973; Haig used Watergate to Ch. 26: Neocons versus Clinton.
deflect attention from it (210-15). Second term sees rising opposition the
right (359-71).
Ch. 17: Endgame. Haig forced Nixon
from office, but Nixon never figured it out Ch. 27: From Candidate to Bush 43.
(216-24). George W. Bush's first months as
president (372-84).
Ch. 28: The Neocon Hour of Triumph. writing at NYU and lectured at various
Bush's wars (385-404). The death of universities. He has worked for the
Fritz Kraemer in September 2003 at 95 National Geographic Society and
(404-05). participated in a number of writers'
organizations. He has long lived in
Ch. 29: The Cheney Regency. The Connecticut. He maintains a self-
debacle of the occupation of Iraq; promotional website
Cheney overreaches (406-16). (tomshachtman.com). His son, Noah
Shachtman of New York City, edits the
Ch. 30: Losing Power. "[M]oral and national security blog "Danger Room" at
political losses" at the end of Bush's Wired. Roger Morris was born in 1937.
second term (417-25). He holds a Ph.D. in government from
Harvard. He resigned from the National
Epilogue: Foreign Affairs and the Security Council in 1970 in protest of the
Election of 2008. Obama represents a bombing of Cambodia, and has made a
return to centrist pragmatism (427-34). career as an author and critic writing
about contemporary American politics
Acknowledgments. Assistance in and foreign policy.]
research (435-36).
[Critique. This work continues, with
Notes and Bibliography. 31 pp. Tom Shachtman's assistance, Len
Colodny's revisionist effort to rehabilitate
Index. 21 pp. the presidency of Richard Nixon, who
appears here as the victim of forces on
About the Authors. Len Colodny is the right that undermined his policies of
the coauthor of Silent Coup: The détente. ― Flaws in the authors'
Removal of a President. He lives in approach prevent this book from being a
Florida. Tom Shachtman is the author reliable source. Much of their writing
of some thirty books, including Decade of consists of brief strokes that,
Shocks, 1963-1974. unfortuntately, often contradict each
other. (For example, Fritz Kraemer
[Additional information. Len "came to understand that [World War I]
Colodny was born in 1938. Silent Coup had 'destroyed all foundations—lives,
(1992) was a controversial revisionist institutions, values, and faiths'" [23], yet
account of Watergate that alleged that Kraemer "embraced the notion that there
John Dean ordered the Watergate break- are fixed moral values" [29]; then again,
in to destroy information implicating him Kraemer believed "nothing is possible
and his wife in a prostitution ring, and without power" [29]. Colodny and
argued that Alexander Haig was a source Shachtman seem unaware that such
for Bob Woodward during Watergate. In assertions are self-contradictory.) —
1992 Dean sued Colodny; the case was Interpretations are generally shallow and
settled with a money payment in 1999. unnuanced. — Documentation is
Many critics regard Colodny, who is not a sketchy; no page numbers or archival
trained historian, as unreliable; his details are cited; notes are haphazard;
standing among critics is not high. These many assertions go unsupported. The
claims are not made here, but Colodny tendency to ignore contradiction and the
and Shachtman continue to view Haig as need for proof seems to be a
a dark figure. Tom Shachtman is a characteristic of Colodny's writing: there
prolific author who has written many is no recognition here of overconfident
non-fiction books and made many and portentous claims he has made in
documentary films. He has taught the past that have proved to be untrue.
— The narrative point of view taken in volume, seems to come from a self-
The Forty Years War is that of a sort of promoting and self-publishing German
omniscience, but to since named Hubertus Hoffman under the
characterizations are mostly one- or two- sway of whose notion of "the true
dimensional and unconvincing, this Kraemer creed" Colodny and Shachtman
approach was ill-advised. The authors do appear to have fallen (422). ― In fact,
not win the reader's trust. Ideas that are "provocative weakness" is a completely
presented as profound are mostly unoriginal notion and there seems little
ponderous and trite (e.g. "The reason to attribute to Kraemer so much
fundamental and continual clash importance. — Another odd thing: The
between ideology and pragmatism is a Forty Years War is almost devoid of
basic theme of human history" [385]). — consideration of forces and factors
The assertion of Fritz Kraemer's vast outside the arena of American politics.]
influence, which is a central theme of this