Wednesday, March 01, 2006
THE DEATH OF NEOCONSERVATISM
I was listening to Harry Schearer's LE SHOW Sunday, when I heard a quote that I found quite startling. Schearer quoted Francis Fukuyama as saying neoconservatism should be tossed on the trash heap of history's bad ideas. For those of you unfamiliar with Fukuyama, he is one of the founding fathers (along with Elliot Abrams, Paul Wolfowicz, Richard Pearle, and others) of the modern Neoconservative movement. I immediately attempted to find the quote via Google. I was unsuccessful, but found an equally damning article by Fukuyama in the NY Times magazine. Here are some excerpts:
As we approach the third anniversary of the onset of the Iraq war, it seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention itself or the ideas animating it kindly. By invading Iraq, the Bush administration created a self-fulfilling prophecy: Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as a magnet, a training ground and an operational base for jihadist terrorists, with plenty of American targets to shoot at....
The so-called Bush Doctrine that set the framework for the administration's first term is now in shambles. The doctrine (elaborated, among other places, in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States) argued that, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, America would have to launch periodic preventive wars to defend itself against rouge states and terrorists with weapons of mass destruction; that it would do this alone, if necessary; and that it would work to democratize the greater Middle East as a long-term solution to the terrorist problem....
But it is the idealistic effort to use American power to promote democracy and human rights abroad that may suffer the greatest setback. Perceived failure in Iraq has restored the authority of foreign policy ''realists'' in the tradition of Henry Kissinger....The administration's second-term efforts to push for greater Middle Eastern democracy, introduced with the soaring rhetoric of Bush's second Inaugural Address, have borne very problematic fruits. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood made a strong showing in Egypt's parliamentary elections in November and December. While the holding of elections in Iraq this past December was an achievement in itself, the vote led to the ascendance of a Shiite bloc with close ties to Iran (following on the election of the conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran in June). But the clincher was the decisive Hamas victory in the Palestinian election last month, which brought to power a movement overtly dedicated to the destruction of Israel."
Fukuyama goes on to detail how and why neo conservatism has failed, and has some concrete suggestions as to refocusing American foreign policy. He ends the article with this:
Neoconservatism, whatever its complex roots, has become indelibly associated with concepts like coercive regime change, unilateralism and American hegemony. What is needed now are new ideas, neither neoconservative nor realist, for how America is to relate to the rest of the world -- ideas that retain the neoconservative belief in the universality of human rights, but without its illusions about the efficacy of American power and hegemony to bring these ends about.
That Fukuyama would so thoroughly disparage and discard the movement he was instrumental in starting is more than just surprising, it appears to be a harbinger of drastic change coming in the American body politic.
This article is almost a must read, but unfortunately, it cost $4 to purchase from the NYT archives. However, since I have already purchased it, if you are interested in reading it, drop me an email!
New ideas? Get OUT! That's impossible!
I, personally, wish many of the neoconservatives would die along with their ideology.
The Kristol family can be blamed for starting this whole movement and for the creation and perpetuation of the Republican Noise Machine.