Taking Lead in Syria Talks, Russia Works to Preserve Assad Regime

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Syrian President Bashar Assad does an interview with Russian newspaper "Izvestia" in Damascus on Aug. 26, 2013

On Thursday, Sept. 12, when Russian and American diplomats came to the negotiating table in Geneva, the Russian side came in with the upper hand. The previous night, they had sent Washington a proposal for dismantling Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons. According to Russian diplomat Alexei Pushkov, who discussed the outlines of the proposal with TIME, it includes several complicated phases and gives Syria a leading role in the destruction of its own chemical arsenal. The American side, meanwhile, has one trump card in these negotiations — the threat of a military strike against Syria. But Russia seems ready to call that a bluff. “If the U.S. wants to play the main fiddle here, let them go ahead and occupy Syria like they did Iraq or destroy it from the air like they did in Libya,” says Pushkov, who is the chairman of the foreign-affairs committee of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma. “Those are their only two options for taking the lead at this point.”

The Russian proposal, which Syrian President Bashar Assad has signaled his willingness to accept, would take much more than a couple of weeks to carry out, says Pushkov, who was briefed on the contents of the proposal but declined to show a copy of it to TIME. “It envisions several stages,” he says. In the first step, Syria would join the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international agreement that bans the production, storage or use of these weapons. (Since it came into force in 1997, the convention has been ratified by 189 nations; Syria is so far among the handful of states, including Israel, that refused.) The second stage would allow Syria time to prepare a report on what kinds of chemical weapons it has and where they are located. The third stage would allow Syria to negotiate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the U.N.-affiliated, Netherlands-based administrator of the convention, on how the organization’s inspectors would work inside Syria.

Pushkov was more vague about the fourth and final stage. On Thursday, Russia’s most authoritative daily newspaper, Kommersant, cited an unnamed Russian diplomat as saying that the proposal indeed has four stages. The first three roughly coincide with Pushkov’s description, while the fourth stage, according to Kommersant, involved Syria “deciding with the [OPCW] inspectors who will destroy the chemical weapons and how.” Pushkov, however, said that by the time the inspectors arrive at the chemical-weapons sites inside Syria, the question of their destruction will become practically irrelevant. “If we are to believe President Obama, the main goal in all of this is to prevent the use of these chemical weapons,” he says. “After the inspectors arrive in Syria and start working at places where the chemical weapons are stored, it will already be practically impossible to use them.” Pushkov would not elaborate on whether the Russian plan calls specifically for their destruction, nor did he offer a clear time frame within which the process could take place. Speaking to reporters in Kazakhstan on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov likewise did not mention the need to destroy the weapons, saying only that international experts must “determine which specific measures will be required to secure the appropriate means of storage.”

But regardless of its final phase, the proposal would clearly give Syria substantial control over the process at every step. The role of the U.S. would be much more modest, says Pushkov. “As one of the leading powers in the world, they will of course influence this process,” he says. “But all of this will be done on Syrian territory. So either Obama has to put boots on the ground, occupy Syria and destroy the weapons himself, or he has to accept the necessity for negotiations with the Syrian government through the mechanisms of the United Nations.”

With the start of the talks in Geneva, Russia has in effect brought Assad’s government to the negotiating table with the U.S. That is already a diplomatic coup for President Vladimir Putin. Since the Syrian civil war began more than two years ago, Putin has insisted that a negotiated solution must involve Assad, whose exit Obama has demanded. In December, the U.S. recognized Syria’s main opposition council as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. By setting up these talks between Washington and Damascus, Russia has paved the way for further negotiations to end the conflict, says Sergei Ordzhonikidze, a Russian ambassador-at-large and former Deputy Foreign Minister. “Destroying the chemical weapons is one factor, a very important one,” he told TIME in an interview Thursday. “But it does not take the political resolution off the table. Not at all. This is just the beginning. Then you have to stay at the table and resolve the conflict,” said Ordzhonikidze, who served from 2002 to 2011 as the Director General of the U.N. office.

The Russian end game in these negotiations may therefore go well beyond what the U.S. signed up for, which was an agreement to take Assad’s chemical weapons out of the fight. Indeed, the ultimate goal of Russian diplomacy would be to allow Assad, or at least his chosen successor, to stay in power in Syria, says Sergei Baburin, a former Russian lawmaker who now heads the Russian Committee of Solidarity with the Peoples of Libya and Syria, a civil-society group backed by the Russian government that is opposed to U.S. military intervention in the Middle East. “Saving the [Syrian] leadership that is loyal to Russia is a guarantee of Russia having influence in the region and defending its national interests there,” Baburin tells TIME. Judging by Obama’s past condemnations of the Assad regime, that is unlikely to be an outcome the U.S. would welcome. But if those are the guns that Russia plans on sticking to in Geneva, these negotiations may be a lot harder than the U.S. expects.

114 comments
roygwaters
roygwaters

I don't like your title " ...Russia works to preserve Assad regime". Much more relevant would be "Russia plans to control Syria's chemical weapons without military intervention" (which in any case would fail to control Syria's chemical weapons). I applaud Obama's sensible decision to support Syria's ally. (Normally Americans, especially Texans, can't understand such a decision - but I guess they'll catch up with the world in the next 50 years or so). The way Obama thinks and makes decisions is the most likely way to bring peace to the world - and it's straightforward common sense.

hdevreij
hdevreij

@robsatloff @DanKaszeta So? *All* relevant nations, such as Russia and the US, have control over the demilitarization process of their CW.

FrancisTrm
FrancisTrm

@TIME Russia can be the worlds police for now-they just prevented an attack!

surething1050
surething1050

Is the western world blind. The rebels are more blood thirsty than Assad. Assad has more followers than the rebels, thus a majority. Get real. The US is backing the wrong bunch, again! Watch the videos of those nice rebels cutting heads off and cutting hearts out to eat. Putin is right to be backing Assad and the US should too.

united_we_stand
united_we_stand

The good thing about Obama taking over the neocon agenda is it means the tea party has won! The neocons have to go back to the party where they belong, the democrat party, the party of wilson and fdr, the party of imperialism, globalism, and a one world order. Sure some rinos like mccain are probably so embedded and we will have to wait for them to die, but the future of the republican party will be more similar to the conservative american classical liberal views of Ron Paul.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Guards missile cruiser "Moskva" on Tuesday left the Strait of Gibraltar" and moves in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, where will be part of the continuous  connection of the Navy (Navy) of Russia.
The Ministry of defense of Russia called the leadership of the USA and Israel to the restrained behavior in the Mediterranean sea, as well as asked to avoid actions that could negatively affect regional security.

AbrahamYeshuratnam
AbrahamYeshuratnam

There will be genocide of Christians, if the rebels come to power in Syria. Already, Christians have suffered terrible persecution in rebel-controlled areas, with countless reports of murder, rape, and extortion. Under its new Sunni rulers, minorities would likely face a fate like that in neighboring Iraq, where the Christian share of population fell from 8 percent in the 1980s to perhaps 1 percent today.  In Iraq, though, persecuted believers had a place to which they could escape, namely Syria. Where would Syrian refugees go?      So here is the nightmare. If the U.S., France, and some miscellaneous allies strike at the regime, they could conceivably so weaken it that it would collapse. Out of the ruins would emerge a radically anti-Western regime, which wuld kill or expel several million Christians and Alwarites.. Assad is an Alwarite and he is very friendly with Christians. Alwarites celebrate Christmas. Obama being pro- Muslim brotherhood in Egypt  may favor rebel rule in Syria. In recent riots Muslim Brotherhood activists burnt Christian churches, schools and killed Christians. Syrian rebels will also do the same crime with arms supplied by the Obama administration.. So here is the puzzle. Is it wise to support the fanatical rebels?

 

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

The Russian stand on Syria is unwavering and does not permit a military solution of the Syrian conflict, especially foreign intervention, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"The position of Russia is well-known. It is immune to change and varying circumstances. This position says there is no alternative to peaceful, diplomatic settlement of the Syrian conflict, especially not a military solution employing foreign intervention," he said at the Moscow meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Mualem.

He said he expected al-Mualem to confirm the Syrian authorities' preparedness to take part in the peace conference on Syria.
Read more:
http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_09_09/Moscow-has-unwavering-position-on-Syria-Lavrov-4817/


camaripop
camaripop

@TIME history will judge putin; the 100 000 deaths are as much on his hands as Assads, and the peace he brokers will likely be unjust/unfair

AcidRed
AcidRed

30 days to protect your step child? Never! The Tomahawks will fly before then. Time to wash your hands, read your Koran, and kiss your @$$ goodbye... 

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Alexander Nevsky : "The God is not in strength but in truth"

EagleSyrian1
EagleSyrian1

Alternating president of #Russia #Putin and his protégé terrorist chemical thug #Assad who is masquerading as eternal president of #Syria both benefit from #US freedom of the press to peddle their twisted propaganda while denying freedoms in their countries!? 

That’s farce of crude audacity.

#Act2EndAssadsWar

#USA #Congress

#UK

#EU

#Assadcrimes

#Putincrimes

GeorgeAdamrovich
GeorgeAdamrovich

Take out Assad now and lets get it over with.  If we would have listen to General Patton on Russia when he said to take them out in WWII, we would never had to deal with them later. Remind the world that we are the greatest power in the world and will not deal with bull from anyone. Putin does not have a leg to stand on against us and he knows it. He can not feed his people without us.

billorights
billorights

@united_we_stand 

I think reforming the G.O.P. would be no less difficult than reforming the Democratic Party.  They're both irreparably compromised.

As long as the Karl Rove types (your pink is showing, Karl) are embedded, it will be nearly impossible.

arvay
arvay

@united_we_stand

I'm a committed leftist, and I suppose there's not too much we agree on, but I think we have a mutual battle to wage and win.

You are correct -- because we have one political party in the country, which represents the interests of our oligarchs, and which consistently overrides the will  and interests of the American people  -- until Obama took up the neocon banner after years and tears of draining, losing wars. He lost that big time and finally aroused the Americans, who firmly reject these foreign adventures.

The neocons include both he right-wing neocons famous for the Iraq fiasco, and leftist neocons like Samantha Power. These are both agents of a foreign power, whose interests are pushed onto the plate of America all the time.

Here are the areas where I think we can collaborate usefully to clear the decks of all the K Street vermin, Wilsonian delusionists (yes, I despise Wilson also) neocons and everyone who puts other agendas before that of the common good.

-- Shine a bright light on the Israel-first people and publicly make them answer the question "which nation are you working for?" Here they are, largely uncovered in the major media in the role they played in the Syria mess

http://www.thenation.com/blog/176040/obamas-syria-war-really-about-iran-and-israel#axzz2eFYXl9MD

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-04/adelson-new-obama-ally-as-jewish-groups-back-syria-strike.html

http://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-organizations-in-us-support-syria-strike/

We also need to oppose Obama's "pivot" to Asia. American foreign policy needs to be re-defined and the Americans are fundamentally interventionist. The Money Boys will scream "isolationist" -- let them. 

The isolationists were always right.

Hillary has just speared her presidential campaign, possibly with a fatal self-inflicted thrust. Chris Christie ought to pay attention also. Unless he changes his tune, Paul Rand will prevent him from winning the election. Good!

-- Stop the financial industry from deforming our economy. We don't really have free enterprise in America --we have crony capitalism that tilts everything in favor of specific business organizations. Before you and I can argue about the merits of capitalism -- we need to see it restored. These oligarchs need to be identified as the reckless, arrogant hidden dictators they are, and their hands taken off the nation's levers. 

We can start by demanding that all lobbyists, except for individual citizens not financed by some hidden hands -- be prohibited from writing our laws in the back rooms of Washington. Force them to expose and defend themselves. We on the left will lose our "interest group" backing and you need to drop folks like the Koch Brothers so we can have a national discussion, face-to-face -- without these people muddying the waters and serving their own interests. 

It's political "wisdom" that "third parties" can't win in America. But in reality, we have just one "Republocrat" party. 

Time for a real choice.

IanBortner
IanBortner

@united_we_stand I hope so but I doubt it.  I think both of the parties are on the way out and we need to start fresh, hopefully without political parties in any form. 

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AbrahamYeshuratnam Obama is guilty of treason and collaborating with the al-qaeda enemy against legitimate governments, so he's also a war criminal under international law.  The only just end for this criminal will be the gallows.  

IanBortner
IanBortner

Better kiss the carrier task forces in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf goodbye.  Our capitol ships have never, ever been in the sights of so many different types of weapons in such a confined space. 

AcidRed
AcidRed

@Sibir_Russia"You never have trouble if you are prepared for it."

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready."

"A just war is, in the long run, far better for a man's soul than the most prosperous peace."

"The shots that hit are the shots that count."

"If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose righteousness."

"Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords."

"I believe in waging war on rank-growing evils of all kinds."

"Throughout past history liberty has always walked between the twin terrors of tyranny and anarchy."

-Theodore Roosevelt

IanBortner
IanBortner

@EagleSyrian1 Go join your terrorist buddies and slaughter some innocents.  That seems to be the opposition's only strategy against Assad the lawful ruler of Syria.  The terrorists don't even care about defeating Assad, they are there to slaughter the Alawites, Christians, Druzes, and moderate Sunnis.  Claiming this is an "uprising" is simply diplomatic cover for their genocide against the "infidels". 

IanBortner
IanBortner

@GeorgeAdamrovich We can't even launch satellites into orbit anymore without Russian rockets.  Assad will be victorious against al-qaeda and if Patton were alive today he would be standing with Assad and Putin against Obama the tyrant and his terrorist, cannibal buddies.  If we dare to drop even one bomb in Syria our naval forces in the Mediterranean will be crushed.  Every nation on the planet is turning against blood-thirsty America except for the Wahabbi devils in Saudi Arabia.  If we're serious about democracy in the Middle East why are we still allies with this absolute monarchy that funds terrorists?

billorights
billorights

@arvay @united_we_stand 

You're almost there, but there's one more fallacy you must overcome, with regard to Jewish interests.

I have now confirmed, with no less than five VERY reputable sources, that the Israelis are not only NOT behind this, they are captive fellow passengers.  Moreover, they are in alliance with the most unlikely of nations.

But, in order to understand why, consider a few points:

1) With regard to Jewish-American interests, take a look at AIPAC, the largest and most powerful of the Zionist PACs.  AIPAC has undergone the same radical changes as the Democratic Party and the G.O.P.

Perhaps a comparable example would be the AARP, who came out as a big supporter of Obamacare.

AIPAC has become overrun by Progressive and Neocon zombies.  This is happening to or has happened to the other American pro-Zionist groups as well.

2) You mention Samantha Power.  She and her self-loathing, atheistic Jewish husband, Cass Sunstein, are rabid pro-Palestinian apologists.  The terrifying thing is that the administration is full of these types including Mr. Obama himself.

3) The Obama administration has a history of leaking top secret Israeli intelligence, including the complete operational specs for Israel's newest and most advanced military base.

4) While pretending to be partners with the Israelis, the Obama administration has been simultaneously strong-arming them, with regard to the Palestinians.  In addition, the administration triggered the entire arab spring, with partners Qatar (think Muslim Brotherhood) and Turkey (Erdogan regime).  Since Morsi's ouster, Russian resources have been pouring in and the Egyptian army seeks to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt altogether (God speed!).  At present, they're cleaning house in the Sinai, along the border with Israel.

5) While the Israelis would like nothing more than to wipe the Hezbollah off the face of the Earth (sounds peachy to me), they are unwilling to do so in the face of a pyrrhic victory.  Furthermore, if the Russians and Israelis both recognize that the threat of Iranian missiles hardly puts a damper in the Obama administration's plans, what logical conclusion might they both make?

There is much going on behind the scenes, and the mainstream media is working overtime to play out a false narrative.

Don't let the Russians' anti-semitic propaganda throw you.  War in Syria would be cataclysmic.  In times like these, nations prioritize their allies, based upon immediacy.  And, with history as my witness, it isn't the first time that Israeli-Russian relations have shifted.

yodadog
yodadog

And hopefully without campaign money, lobbyist money and staffers writing regs and legislation supplied by corporate America. No gov by the people as long as this system remains in place.

AcidRed
AcidRed

@IanBortner Yeah, and 3 F18 super hornets will sink ALL ya' got while the task force is out of range.

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @Sibir_Russia I knew you liberals could be manipulated into praying for war and death and blood.  You're as bad as the neocons.  At least Bush didn't pretend it was for some stupid humanitarian crap.  

AcidRed
AcidRed

@IanBortner Guess you never heard of the Phalanx CIWS before, huh? BTW, they call 'em "task forces" because they are multiple vessels in formation to protect the carrier. It includes vessels that have the CIWS mentioned above as well as subs. They MAY get lucky with a hit, but never take out a carrier, never. We also own air superiority as well..

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @Sibir_Russia Teddy Roosevelt genocided the filipino people in numbers far outpacing the Syrian war and you quote that war criminal to back up your propaganda?  . 

IanBortner
IanBortner

@Sibir_Russia @GeorgeAdamrovich Putin doesn't event need nukes to crush our fleets, Russian missile technology is has soared light years ahead of America's ever since we started wasting our money on drones to more easily assault third-world countries at a cheaper cost.  The S-400 is officially the fastest, most-advanced AA missile on earth which is even admitted by NATO.  The Sandbox anti-ship missile salvos fire by Russian submarines can sink an entire carrier task force in minutes.  Only the US is dumb enough to keep these giant floating targets lumbering about the high seas.  If we ever fight an enemy less than fifty years behind us in technology we'll be losing capitol ships. 

arvay
arvay

@billorights @arvay @united_we_stand

First of all, we need to separate two words -- "Jewish" and "Zionist." Not all Jews are Zionists and not all Zionists are Jews. AIPAC is not a "Jewish" lobby -- it's a Zionist lobby.  Increasingly, American Jews are repelled by israel and its advocates, they're Americans, not agents of a foreign power.

Second, I'm an atheist and eager to make sure no one turns my country into a "Christian nation."

Third, here's the real story on Power.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/07/16/how_michael_jacksons_rabbi_made_samantha_power_kosher_shmuley_boteach

Israel is a giant mistake. It's a western outpost in an area what will always reject it. This would be true if its people were all Methodists. It's going to be destroyed -- either by a slow leak of frightened, talented people who can easily relocate or in a big explosion, complete with mushroom clouds.

America should distance itself from this, we have no interest in trying to postpone the inevitable outcome.

We need to make Iran the centerpiece of our regional policy. It's a technically advanced nation with a very educated population, with youth who will eventually take over -- who are very positive toward our country. A strong, friendly Iran will provide both stability and a forward path -- unlike the tribal veneer that sits atop the vastly underpopulated Saudi desert. 

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @IanBortner Super hornets are not stealth and are easy targets for S-400 batteries, even ones firing  from the land can shoot halfway across the Mediterranean.  Even if we pull out the stealth planes the Russians will just call up the Serbs and ask them to shoot those down LOL.  

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@AcidRed @IanBortner 

Too closely in the Mediterranean sea...

anti-ship missiles with nuclear combat part marked with a yellow triangle.

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @IanBortner Forward projection of power can be much more cheaply and securely accomplished with other naval ships and other types of aircraft.  Were it not for inertia and our third-world bombing sprees the carriers would have been scrapped long ago. 

AcidRed
AcidRed

@IanBortner @AcidRed If you insist...but I certainly disagree. They will always be the forward projection of power. Even if it is bombing other countries, lol..

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @IanBortner The only thing carriers are good for is being a mobile air strip for faster bombing of third-world countries.  In an actual modern naval battle they would be utterly worthless.  They are the new battleship and in twenty or thirty years none will be left.  

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @IanBortner @Sibir_Russia My point is that Teddy Roosevelt was a war criminal who we still worship as some sort of hero, while Stalin is a war criminal the Russians themselves are ashamed of.  

AcidRed
AcidRed

@IanBortner @AcidRed @Sibir_Russia "Just in case you were under a rock" for 2 minutes, you were talking genocide.

After the Soviet Union dissolved, evidence from the Soviet archives also became available, containing official records of 799,455 executions 1921-53, around 1.7 million deaths in the Gulags and some 390,000 deaths during kulak forced resettlement – with a total of about 3 million officially recorded victims in these categories.

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @IanBortner @EagleSyrian1 If you support freedom and democracy in the Middle East then where is the outrage against Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain?  The three main sponsors of the "democratic" uprising in Syria are all monarchist totalitarian dictatorships. 

IanBortner
IanBortner

The FSA Farrouqh brigades are the ones on camera eating the beating hearts of men, not the Nusra Front.  They're all savages that will be slaughtered by Assad and Putin.  I'm sick of Americans having to walk on eggshells when it comes to calling out the special interest in the Middle East that dominate foreign policy.  The fact is that if Israel and Saudi Arabia didn't exist (both were established in the 20th century) we wouldn't care about the Middle East and Syria would be another Rwanda or Sudan with nobody in the West calling for military intervention. 

AcidRed
AcidRed

@IanBortner @AcidRed @GeorgeAdamrovich I was patiently waiting for it and you delivered, thank you. I knew Israel had to be in there with your Saudi's as somehow "controlling" our foreign policy. Here ya' go,

http://world.time.com/2013/09/11/cheer-up-obama-israel-is-happy-with-your-syria-plan/

Also, the SFA is also concerned with al-qeada and pretty much overwhelmed by them from other countries. The SFA are who we support, not al-qaeda, but I do admit they are a problem and an issue to be addressed.

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @IanBortner @GeorgeAdamrovich Why so much hatred for the nation's that stand against our own terrorist enemies?  Iran and Syria would be our natural allies in the conflict against al-qaeda if Saudi Arabia and Israel didn't control American foreign policy.  We have absolutely no legitimate reason to be in the Middle East now that bin Laden is dead.  Instead, we have allied ourselves with his successors to defeat the enemies of Jihad.  Unbelievable!

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @IanBortner @GeorgeAdamrovich Then why not stand with Assad and Putin against the Wahhabi monarchists and al-qaeda terrorist army?  This is no "conspiracy theory" the Saudi family even branded their name onto the nation of Arabia,  They openly claim absolute authority over all in their country and elections of any kind are forbidden.  Women there can't even drive.  Go into Damascus and you'll see woman walking the streets in Western clothing and driving cars.  

AcidRed
AcidRed

@IanBortner @AcidRed @GeorgeAdamrovich No, actually. BUT, unfortunately, most are. I believe in an Independent/Moderate party yet to truly exist. There are times for diplomacy and times to let the missiles fly which has yet to be determined in this conundrum. For people like you it's either the Saudi's or the Israeli's who are behind the conspiracy theory of it all. Death from above should rain on all terrorists regardless of country of origin.

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @IanBortner @GeorgeAdamrovich So in your world everyone is a liberal or a neocon?  Grow up and stop worshiping Obama the Bush clone.  Both federal parties are a joke and the whole rest of the planet is stunned by the audacity and blood-thirstiness of the American imperialists in DC, who do nothing but rain death on the enemies of the fat Saudi monarchists. 

AcidRed
AcidRed

@IanBortner @AcidRed @GeorgeAdamrovich Your opening sentence condemned you neocon. What's the saying? If it reads like BS, smells like BS and sounds like BS, then you must be full of Bull$hit. Go back to your fox news or cnn posts where your Obama hate BS will be readily recieved.

IanBortner
IanBortner

@AcidRed @IanBortner @GeorgeAdamrovich Haha the neocons were the ones who started these stupid wars and cemented our allegiance with Saudi Arabia to oppose Iran and you're accusing me of spewing their propaganada?  You need to educate yourself on what the neocons actually believe in: permanent war and an American Imperial system.  I'm an isolationist libertarian who will never, ever support any war unless America is under direct assault within our nation's actual borders.