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Beck Takes Sharp Turn to the Left

April 19, 2010

In a sharp turn to the left, Glenn Beck of Fox News featured Justin Logan of the Cato Institute on his Thursday night program. Logan had hailed Barack Obama as “a vocal advocate of direct diplomacy with America ’s adversaries,” a stand that he claimed had been “well-received by the American people.”

Logan wrote that while a nuclear Iran would pose problems, Israel and the U.S. could deal with such a regime. Logan said Obama’s campaign statements opposing a nuclear Iran were designed to appease “the Israeli right and American neoconservatives.”

Those “neoconservatives,” such as William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, just happen to be regular commentators on other Fox News programs. 

Cato is often labeled as “conservative” or “libertarian,” but its foreign policy views are frequently in sync with the Obama Administration.

Logan appeared on the show along with another Cato scholar, Chris Edwards, who said that we should “pull back the foreign troops” and drastically reduce the U.S. defense budget. This will produce “higher security” for the U.S. , he claimed.

Sounding like an anti-war progressive, Edwards charged that sinister arms manufacturers were pushing funding for unneeded weapons.

Nobody mentioned that Obama had cancelled the F-22 Raptor, the most advanced air superiority fighter in the U.S. inventory, at a time when the Russians are developing their own version of a fifth generation fighter.

The Cato Institute favored the Obama policy of killing the F-22.

By featuring the views of Logan and other scholars from the Cato Institute, Beck has become one of the “progressives” he frequently criticizes on the air.

Logan, in a Cato Institute policy paper, had attacked the conservative Weekly Standard, which had been owned by the parent company of Fox News, as “war-friendly” because it favored U.S. military intervention against terrorists and anti-American regimes in the Middle East.

Beck spent the early part of his Thursday program complaining about the size of the U.S. defense budget and even the new U.S. embassy in Iraq . “This is what we went into Iraq for?” he asked. He also said he was close to adopting the Ron Paul view of foreign policy, which holds that the U.S. is the cause of most of the region’s troubles and should therefore pull back to its shores.

Ron Paul and his son, Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul, have suggested that U.S. intervention in the Middle East was the cause of the Muslim attacks on America on 9/11.

“I don’t want a global force,” Beck said of the U.S. military, adding that he has “changed” his foreign policy views and is now “on the road to Ron Paul,” an isolationist in foreign policy. He said he wants the U.S. to “come home” and wrote on his famous blackboard that the U.S. should withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan .  

However, Beck paused when considering that an American withdrawal from the rest of the world, of the kind argued by Cato, would lead to the isolation and destruction of the state of Israel , a major U.S. ally. Beck also seemed to pause when Logan insisted that the religious zealots running Iran would not risk a nuclear attack on the Jewish state. Beck shook his head in disbelief.

Logan, associate director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, wrote a 2008 policy paper attacking “the failed policies of the Bush Administration” and praising Obama for a proposed policy of engaging with “rogue regimes.” This represents “a prudent break with the Bush Administration,” he claimed.

Logan said the Obama policy was “a genuine change that goes beyond the schoolyard approach” of the Bush Administration.

At this point in time, however, such a policy, which has been carried out by the Obama Administration for more than a year, strikes most observers as dangerously weak and naďve. The diplomacy with Iran , for example, hasn’t produced any demonstrated slowdown in the regime’s nuclear weapons program.

Demonstrating that the “libertarian” group is even to the left of Obama, Logan had warned that Obama’s campaign statements about pursuing al Qaeda in Pakistan constituted a threat to “violate the sovereignty of a nuclear-armed Islamic country” and were therefore “imprudent.”

Under pressure, Obama has continued the Bush policy of destroying terrorist targets in Pakistan . 

Logan also opposed statements from Obama and McCain that they would support the territorial integrity of Georgia , the former Soviet republic, which had been invaded by Russia . Such a commitment shows “a lack of seriousness,” he said.

Today, Georgia still remains in danger of another Russian invasion. What’s more, Obama, according to press reports, snubbed the president of Georgia , who is pro-American, by refusing to meet with him during the recent Nuclear Security Summit.

But nobody on Thursday’s Glenn Beck program mentioned that.

Logan, who is said to be an expert on “the formation of U.S. grand strategy” in foreign policy, is also outspoken on other issues, such as gay marriage. He has called opposition to homosexual marriage by a Heritage Foundation analyst to be “positively insulting.”

Several Cato leaders, such as executive vice president David Boaz, are not only gay themselves but pro-marijuana. 

Will Wilkinson of Cato wrote a column headlined, “I smoke pot and I like it.”

It remains to be seen if Beck will follow up this week’s worth of shows featuring Cato scholars with those from the organization who favor gay sex and drug use. 

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