Friday, October 12, 2007

Joshua Muravchik's The Past, Present, and Future of Neoconservatism

I'm always called one. So here's the final paras from Muravchik's Past, Present, and Future,
This suggests a few priorities. First, for all our failures in Iraq, we cannot afford to accept defeat there; nor do we have to. True, our more fanciful images of what Iraq would become after Saddam’s removal have gone by the boards. But there is still a world of difference between a relatively stable if troubled country and a state of anarchy.

And then there is Iran. Even if we turn a corner in Iraq, our relative success will be negated if we allow Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb. Once it does, not only will we be haunted by the specter of nuclear terrorism, but we may be constrained by nuclear blackmail from actions we would want to take in future chapters of the war against terror.

Next, only by enlarging our military can we base strategic decisions on military need and not on the availability of forces. How is it that a nation of 300 million cannot indefinitely sustain a force level of 150,000 in a given theater, meaning one soldier for every 2,000 Americans?

Finally, our efforts to foster democracy in the Middle East must not be curtailed but prosecuted vigorously and more effectively. True, the “Arab spring” of 2005 did not turn out to be as successful as the famous “Prague spring” of 1968. But then, it took two decades for that Prague spring to yield fruit. The modest liberalization in the Middle East and the democratic ferment that we have stirred there promise further advances if we persevere.

None of this offers a complete guide to waging the war against terror. But it does amount to a coherent approach, essentially similar to the one by means of which we won the cold war. By contrast, liberals and realists have no coherent approach to suggest—or at least they have not suggested one. That, after all, is why George W. Bush, searching urgently for a response to the events of September 11, stumbled into the arms of neoconservatism, unlikely though the match seemed. One can always wish that policies were executed better, but for a strategy in the war that has been imposed upon us, neoconservatism remains the only game in town.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gee, where to start.

A war was not "forced on us" in the case of Iraq. A war was forced on us in the case of Afghanistan, but we won that war, although we are now busily losing the peace.

As the neo-conservatives are being proven utterly wrong by events, they have been busily trying to show that events don't really show that they are utterly wrong. Usually, in the real world, things like our utter failure in Iraq (and "reasonably stable" is an utter lie) would make people take a new approach.

The really aggravating thing about neo-cons is this fake argument that they constantly promote which claims that 1) they are motivated by just "principles" and 2) if someone else isn't, then if follows that they are not progressive, or that they don't offer an alternative.

In fact, neo-con "principles" are not principles at all. They are idealist fantasies that one can promote virture by vigorous and violent social engineering. It is the moral equivalent of the neutron bomb; kill people while leaving the ideals standing.

Their problem with picking up people like Bush IS a problem. Since their ethical ideas are so facile, vague and flexible, they pick up all kinds of corrupt, weak minded people (like Bush) or corrupt strong minded people (Cheney, Podhoretz) who have other unstated agendas in mind but like the way that neo-cons can spin the violence.