Afghanistan: America’s First Step Out of Trotsky’s Long Shadow?

Leon Trotsky. Public Domain.
Leon Trotsky. Public Domain.

“President Joe Biden continues to humiliate the United States,” Joseph Klein whines at neoconservative rag FrontPageMag, “by letting the Taliban terrorists dictate the terms of his surrender.”

Furthermore, writes Klein, “the president is clearly willfully blind to ISIS in Afghanistan being a long-term threat to the American homeland. … Biden has shown zero concern for any al Qaeda threat emerging from Afghanistan.”

Oddly missing: Any mea culpas for the neoconservative policy pillars that created,  and fueled the rise of, al Qaeda. And of the Taliban. And of ISIS.

In the 1970s, former Trotskyites like David Horowitz (founder of FrontPageMag), Jean Kirkpatrick (Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations), and Paul Wolfowitz (deputy Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush) wormed their  way from “the New Left”  into  the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party and on into the GOP, transforming themselves from prophets of Trotsky’s “global socialist revolution” into  advocates for “global democratic revolution.”

Their support — as expressed from positions in the American foreign policy bureaucracy — for giving the Soviet Union “its own Vietnam” in Afghanistan resulted in the birth of al Qaeda and the rise of the Taliban. Their support for a continued US presence in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War led directly to the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan. Their support for the US invasion of Iraq led directly to the birth of ISIS.

With predictable regularity, every jar of pickles neoconservatives touch at the foreign policy grocery store falls off the shelf and bursts on the floor.

It takes a lot of nerve to scream at the janitor tasked with the unsavory job of cleaning up their gory messes that he’s missing a spot. And more nerve yet to insist that if the janitor will just help them spill more blood — American, Afghan, and Arab — on the floor, surely all their wildest dreams will eventually magically come true.

American politicians have spent the last 40 years chasing the fantasies of the younger crop of Republican Trotskyites. And before that, they followed a previous generation, led by James Burnham (former leader of America’s Trotskyite sect, later co-founder of “conservative” journal National Review) down the primrose path in Vietnam.

In every instance and without exception, the results of American politicians listening to neoconservatives have been disastrous for Americans and for the world.

They’ll never sit down and shut up, but we can and should tune them out.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.