May 04, 2003

Straussians Populating the Beltway Former

Straussians Populating the Beltway

Former U. Chicago prof Leo Strauss' long shadow.

"In "Ravelstein," a biography of Bloom in the form of a novel published in 2000, Saul Bellow depicts the information-avid professor Abe Ravelstein fielding calls on his cellphone from former students who have made their way to high places in government. His disciples include Philip Gorman, a Wolfowitz-like official in the first Bush administration who rings up his former professor to show that he's in the loop. "Powell and Baker," Gorman confides, have advised the President to call a halt to the 1991 gulf war without a march on Baghdad: "They send out a terrific army and give a demonstration of up-to-date high-tech warfare that flesh and blood can't stand up to. But then they leave the dictatorship in place and steal away. . . ." (Not this time.)

The Bush administration is rife with Straussians. In addition to Mr. Wolfowitz, there is his associate Richard N. Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board and the managing partner in Trireme Partners, a venture-capital company heavily invested in manufacturers of technology for homeland security and defense. Mr. Perle and Mr. Wolfowitz are both disciples of the late Albert Wohlstetter, a Straussian professor of mathematics and military strategist who put forward the idea of "graduated deterrence" limited, small-scale wars fought with "smart" precision-guided bombs."

Regular readers will know that I find that such quasi-omnipotent neo-con cabal arguments (written about with increasing frequency) overwrought. There are too many other competing factions in Washington foreign policy circles that wield significant influence. And regardless, as Dan Drezner points out, barely any of these supposed myriad Straussians are even actually serving in the government.

Posted by Gregory at May 4, 2003 10:06 PM
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