Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fukuyama's apostasy

"The fact that Fukuyama portrayed the administration as having betrayed the very neoconservative agenda it had claimed to champion must have made his critique especially painful to his erstwhile mentor Wolfowitz. In particular, Fukuyama noted three foreign-policy blunders he predicted would harm the country’s prestige for years to come. The administration had launched an ill-conceived social-engineering project ('If the United States cannot eliminate poverty or raise test scores in Washington, D.C., how does it expect to bring democracy to a part of the world that has stubbornly resisted it?'); it had underestimated the importance of using international institutions to help legitimate U.S. foreign policy; and -- perhaps most hurtful to the neocons -- it had likened the threat of Islamic terrorism to the United States with the threat it posed to Israel, adopting 'the Israeli mind-set' regarding the Middle East. 'Are we like Israel, locked in a remorseless struggle with a large part of the Arab and Muslim world, with few avenues open to us for dealing with them other than an iron fist?' he asked"... " 'Lack of moral certainty is hardly the chief American problem today.' [says Fukuyama] Today, in fact, [he] believes America is more threatened by another of the modern vices [Leo] Strauss warned against: conformity"...

"Fukuyama suggests that the lesson some took from [the collapse of the Soviet Union] was twofold. First, it convinced them that all totalitarian regimes are ultimately hollow. In After Neoconservatism, he suggests that neoconservatives have inappropriately universalized the Eastern European experience. Second, it taught them that the more your critics tell you that you are wrong ('the Soviet Union will be around forever,' for example), the more likely you are to be correct. 'The rapid, unexpected, and largely peaceful collapse of communism validated the concept of regime change as an approach to international relations,' he explains. 'And yet this extraordinary vindication laid the groundwork for the wrong turn taken by many neoconservatives in the decade following that would have direct consequences for their management of the post–September 11 war on terrorism and the Iraq War.' "

The Neo-con who isn't - Robert S. Boynton

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