In part two of the award winning BBC documentary: Power of Nightmares, that chronicles the rise of the neoconservative movement; we learn more of the fabricated threat of the Soviet Union and the rise of corporate controlled foreign policy.
We also see how the Religious Right then entered the fray, to provide the much needed religious fervour, that Leo Strauss claimed was necessary to achieve their goals.
It's important to get an idea of the history of neoconservatism, since the Harper government emerged from this movement. And while they were able to build on the theocracy created by William "Bible Bill" Aberhart, and maintained by Ernest Manning; they also intertwine continuously with their U.S. counterparts.
Not So Clear But Omnipresent Danger
Continuing the notion that the Soviet Union was planning a nuclear attack on the U.S., Ronald Reagan established the Committee on the Present Danger ... (CPD) with the goal of creating a prolonged arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, to generate huge profits for a handful of the corporate elite.
Reagan was able to convince Congress to provide increased funding for the military, as he began a mission to "spread democracy" around the world, to ward off a perceived communist threat.
The head of the CIA, William Casey used a book by Michael Leeden; 'Terror Network', to justify various military actions. Michael Ledeen's book was actually based on false information, as part of a propaganda scheme initiated by Donald Rumsfeld, as seen in part one of Power of Nightmares.
Jerry Wayne wrote a book on this: Peddlers of crisis: the Committee on the Present Danger and the politics of Fear. Excerpts can be read here. And another on the subject, Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy, by Robert Kagan, can be purchased here.
Candi Crider wrote a paper, History Repeats Itself Clear and Present Danger, which can be read here. I didn't want to get into this too much, since I'm more concerned with our own government, but I will add that William Casey, Michael Ledeen and George Bush Sr. were all involved with Ronald Reagan's election campaign.
But this so-called spreading of democracy, involved things like plotting coups, kidnapping leaders and providing arms to factions who overthrew their own governments, paving the way for American interests. And of course, one of these little ventures was Afghanistan.
And in true neoconservative fashion, since America is now getting out of the whole "spreading democracy" thing, the Harper government is jumping in head first. Michael Allen from the University of California, and editor of Democracy Digest, wrote a piece in December entitled: The D-word out of favor? Don’t tell the Canadians.
Many people are wondering why Flaherty's latest budget included money for new helicopters, and increased military spending, when we will be leaving Afghanistan next year. Well wonder no more. It's for our new "coup" business. You can read more here.
Canada is poised to set up a new democracy assistance organization, based on the experience and structures of existing foundations, but reflecting distinctively Canadian characteristics and priorities. A proposal has been tabled in the House of Commons, with legislation likely to follow next month, to form a Canadian Centre for Advancing Democracy, funded by an annual parliamentary appropriation of $30-70 million.
Enter Ayman al-Zawahiri and the Moral Majority
As Egypt was becoming increasingly westernized, religious factions in the country were protesting American influence, and what they viewed as moral decay. The Religious Right, then called the Moral Majority, already had a prominent place in the White House, with a view to changing society at large.
But while Egypt was predominantly a Muslim country, their Religious Right was also looking to change society at large.
In September of 1981, Time magazine reported:
Concerned by rising militancy among Islamic fundamentalists who object to his secular and pro-Western policies, Sadat has launched a crackdown on dissidents of all persuasions. Over the past two weeks, more than 1,600 of the regime's most vocal opponents—Islamic and Christian militants, political activists, lawyers, journalists, professors—have been rounded up and imprisoned, to stand trial beginning this week. The charges: fomenting sectarian sedition, undermining stability, or simply violating the measure Sadat pushed through last year, known as the "Law of Shame," that makes it illegal to propagate rumors damaging to the state. Fifteen religious societies have been disbanded, virtually all dissenting publications have been closed down, independent mosques have been "nationalized," and Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Christian Church has been exiled to a desert monastery.
Sadat, with his usual candor, called the wave of arrests a "purge." It was also one of the riskiest gambles he has taken during his eleven years in power ....
One of the men rounded up and imprisoned was Ayan Zawaine, more commonly known as Ayman al-Zawahiri, a prominent leader of al-Qaeda, and reportedly a "lieutenant" to the late Osama bin Laden.
Zawahiri came from an upper middle class family and was a doctor and a scholar. But as a young man he fell under the influence of an uncle, Mahfouz Azzam, who had been a student and then lifelong follower of radical Islamist thinker Sayyid Qutb, as mentioned in part one.
Anwar Sadat would be assassinated on October 6, 1981.
1. Egypt: Democracy with a Bite, Time Magazine, By William E. Smith; Nathaniel Harrison; Robert C Wurmstedt/Cairo, September 21, 1981