One is relieved to see so many on the Right now calling for an end to imperial over-reach, and seek to ally with them across partisan lines toward a shared outcome -- less military adventurism by the Pentagon. This camp is represented by US Rep Ro Khanna, who responded favorably to an anti-imperial article by Tucker Carlson.
The other is panicked that anti-war sentiment no longer belongs exclusively to the Left. They may be nervous that a new group will give them competition for their material livelihood -- if they eke out a living on Patreon donations, and suddenly there's an interesting Right movement against imperialism, maybe Independents will drift toward that side with their donations.
But most folks on the Left don't make a living off of it. They are more worried about dirty outsiders corrupting the purity of their incestuous in-group. Because these people are not organized politically, it is more of a cultural lifestyle that they share with the other members. And so, they are defending their lifestyle turf from would-be invaders who would contaminate it with a different cultural lifestyle. It's akin to a small group of high schoolers who are fans of non-mainstream bands, who fear that their idols may make a hit song that would attract all sorts of normies, and try to police the borders of the fandom.
This camp is represented by the hosts of the Media Roots Radio podcast, Abby and Robbie Martin, who are desperate to prove that the anti-imperial Right does not really exist, perhaps outside a small band of libertarians. I draw attention to them because they're popular enough to get over 10,000 plays for a typical episode. They do good work covering current events per se, but veer way off course whenever it comes to their commonalities with the Right -- "Ewww, gross, no we're not, they have cooties, not like us!"
Thank god the alleged ‘anti war right’ has the Jussie Smollett outrage churn to keep them from taking any serious position on Trump’s new regime change op in Venezuela— Robbie Martin (@FluorescentGrey) February 23, 2019
Tucker is their main target because he's by far the most outspoken on the need to realign the party system, particularly on war and empire, and has the largest platform and audience -- primetime Fox anchor with millions of viewers, not to mention scores of others who are a tier or so below in their following, who attach themselves to his brand ("I'm on the Tucker Right, not the neo-cons or Hannity bootlickers").
Tucker Carlson’s new Venezuela segment: mild criticism of John Bolton but doesn’t give his actual opinion on the Trump regime change operation. Instead he does a clever dodge and makes the issue about our southern border https://t.co/GQcJFjYu69— Robbie Martin (@FluorescentGrey) February 22, 2019
There's no dodge in that video -- he brings on a US Army colonel who explicitly says we should not intervene in Venezuela, regime change does not work, it'll just waste lots of our money, and the refugee flood will overwhelm our non-existent border. What other mainstream show has had a chyron that read, "America should not intervene militarily in Venezuela," quoting their guest?
Tucker does not push back, does not accuse the colonel of coddling dictators, does not fear-monger about the need to stop socialism / spread democracy, etc. Instead, the opening chyron is a dog-whistle against the neo-cons -- "Are we going to nation build in Venezuela?"
It's clear that Tucker is under orders from his Fox superiors, probably coordinating with the neo-con-hijacked White House, not to personally argue against the coup. But bringing on MacGregor, who he has hosted repeatedly in the context of not doing regime change or occupation, amounts to the same thing. He gives a primetime platform to the anti-interventionist colonel, and sets up softball questions about why the Fox audience should not want to see our military intervene in Venezuela.
This is obvious, and shows that Robbie Martin is lying by omission, in a desperate attempt to make it seem like Tucker is playing a long-game for the neo-cons.
Well, then, why doesn't Tucker just come out and say he's in favor of toppling Maduro? That would be the easiest thing in the world right now -- literally every other cable news host is doing so, along with just about every politician, and a good chunk of his viewers. He can say he's against interventions as a general rule, but an exception must be made in this case (because it's about socialism, it's too close to home, or whatever). He would enjoy immense signal-boosting from literally the entire political and media world, for allowing them to say, "Even the anti-interventionist Tucker Carlson supports overthrowing Maduro."
The fact that he has not done so, proves that he does not believe in that, and is not going to advocate for that. If he doesn't come out overtly against intervention, it shows that someone is keeping him from saying so overtly -- his superiors, and/or the Executive branch itself. So he broadcasts the case against intervention in Venezuela through his frequent guest, MacGregor -- BFD. That is just as personal of a decision, with the same effect on getting the message out there, as if he stared into the camera and said so himself.
Martin and his sister twisted themselves into knots on this topic during the most recent episode of Media Roots Radio, going so far as to call Tucker "pro-coup" despite him never advocating in favor of the coup.
Tucker may be under immense career pressure to not speak out against it from a first-person perspective, but the rest of the anti-regime change Right is not. I'll limit this survey to just Twitter people with at least 10,000 followers, to show that the same people who freaked out over Trump sending thousands of Americans to occupy Syria are staying consistent now that the focus is Venezuela. There may be others who are selective, saying stay out of Syria but do intervene against socialism in our backyard. But that is not representative of Right-wingers who are against our regime change wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
These people may be paleocons, generic dissident Rightists, Alt-Right, Alt-Lite, all the way up to white nationalists. But across this broad array, they would all affiliate with Tucker over any other cable news figures, would have already spoken out against our intervention in Syria, and do not consider themselves Leftists.
One of the earliest and most forceful opponents has been Jack Posobiec, someone who leftoids would dismiss as a MAGA grifter, and who gets called out repeatedly on Media Roots Radio as someone not to be worked with on anti-war issues. Search his tweets for Venezuela, and he was opposed early on, drew parallels to our failures in arming proxies in the Middle East, the failure to oust Qaddafi and put anything better in his place, highlighting Elliot Abrams' role in Iran-Contra, calling the effort "neo-conning," slamming Rubio over and over by name, and upbraiding a fellow Alt-Lite guy for wanting to invade Venezuela without volunteering for the army himself.
If Russia went full Afghanistan on Venezuela, I still wouldn’t be in favor of US military invasion. Let them pay for it https://t.co/PVXagN8e6I— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 24, 2019
The government can’t event stop endless Chinese robocalls and fake IRS tax scams but we are supposed to trust them with a Green New Deal?— Mike Cernovich | 📽 (@Cernovich) February 10, 2019
Or regime change in Venezuela?
Get real, we have a bipartisan bench of incompetent losers.
We have a devestating opioid epidemic that has killed more Americans than the Vietnam war, an open border that is turning our country into Brazil, and a vanishing middle class buried in debt, but the main priority of our government is regime change in Venezuela. pic.twitter.com/ElR49uQJR8— Will Westcott (@westland_will) February 24, 2019
I don't really care about Venezuela. I am more concerned with how America is crumbling. https://t.co/Wkf1PnCI7r— RAMZPAUL (@ramzpaul) August 25, 2017
Love you man, but I gotta tell you, I don't give a rat's ass about Venezuela. I don't care if they're free, slaves, starving - whatever.— EllidaProject (@EllidaProject) February 19, 2019
I don't want one tax dollar spent, don't want one drop of American blood shed, and don't want one Venezuelan brought here.
Sad/horrible as it is, they must fight their own war. This is how all military interventions begin, we are shown "atrocities" to get public backing. They voted their way into socialism, now they must fight. I say it's none of our business. Even tho we have forces there already. https://t.co/zDpAm4BQ6R— Wyatt (@MrEarpLA) February 23, 2019
I don't support military intervention in Venezuela... but it still makes more sense for America to use its military might in Latin America than in the Middle East— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) January 24, 2019
That's just what I found poking around various corners of the Right, and not dwelling too long. If I lowered the threshold to people with at least 1,000 followers, there would be tons more.
So, contra the desperate turf-defending claim about how the so-called anti-war Right is MIA during the Venezuela coup, they are just as visible and vocal as they were during our invasion of Syria, and in talking about the failures of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
But, they don't use the same motives or rationales as the Leftists in order to arrive at the same policy decisions. And in our depoliticized climate of hyper-competitive moralism, that is what truly matters.
The likes of Abby and Robbie Martin do not want to cooperate with those who share real-world outcomes like staying out of a coup, withdrawing forces from some country, shrinking the military budget, etc. Rather, they want to cooperate with those who share an emotional moral impetus -- to save the world, to help Third Worlders, to tear down anyone who could have been a jock in high school and shoved them into a locker (the troops), and so on.
In their view, it's bad enough if your motives for the same goal are different from theirs -- but truly untenable if your motives are evil, i.e. racist, bigoted, xenophobic, etc. So if you "don't give a rat's ass" what's happening to the Venezuelan people, one way or another, and that's the basis of your objection to regime change -- sorry, can't work with you. Your moral motives are tainted, and any policy you reach would reflect that poisonous origin.
But then how could that outcome be bad, just because it came from what you consider evil origins? Isn't it the same outcome you're seeking, albeit for motives that you consider just? How can the exact same outcome be both morally tainted and morally pure, stemming from two separate motives? It's a contradiction, and that causes cognitive dissonance -- either the people you thought were evil are actually good, or you thought you were good but you're actually evil.
To resolve this cognitive dissonance, they deny that the evil side is in fact pursuing the same outcome as they are -- that means the two sides do not share goals, and therefore the two sets of motives are leading to two separate outcomes, and my motives and outcome remains pure, while their motives and outcome remains tainted, just as I was hoping.
Facts don't care about your feelings, though. It's time to grow up and accept that people can arrive at the same desired outcome by coming from distinct motivations.
Assuming the larger goal is to achieve a certain real-world outcome, then the practical thing to do is form a political coalition with those who share that outcome, no matter their reasons, in order to wield enough power to change the world. That's why they say politics makes strange bedfellows. That is what one camp of the Left is doing -- Ro Khanna, Zaid Jilani, Angela Nagle, Michael Tracey, Anna Khachiyan, and others.
The other camp takes the opposite step -- to refuse any coalition that could actually win (i.e., needing both sides of the aisle), and to distance themselves from their own fellow Leftists of the coalition-building camp. That choice proves that their larger goal is not to achieve a certain real-world outcome like the end of a war, reduction in deployments, redirecting military dollars to healthcare, or whatever. It is something else: building emotional support groups based on shared moralistic motivations, and signaling these values to one another (and against the values of out-groups). In-group cohesion is formed around their feelings, not their goals for changing the world.
The anti-imperial Right understands this distinction, and does not mind mixing it up with people from different motivations, as long as the goal is the same. They will re-tweet Left-wingers, even those like Abby Martin who don't want anything to do with them.
The Right is not a place that people drift to in order to find emotional support -- not that there's no element of that in Right-wing circles, but it's not the main reason. They principally get involved in order to achieve certain outcomes, and they don't care who they have to work with to do that. The Left attracts those who have been so damaged that they seek out emotional support groups, and then they try to edify this as though it were building a political movement capable of changing the world, which it never has been nor will ever be.
In the near-term, the pragmatic Right and the non-hysterical Left will continue to put out feelers over shared outcomes, and will keep building the newborn coalition to wind down America's over-stretched and crumbling empire.