Friday, March 25, 2011

Botched Neocon Wars? Hardly

Ideological simplification is one of the biggest problems we're seeing with all the intense debate over Libya and the wider "Arab Spring." One example is Andrew Sullivan's little piece that stops just short of slamming neocons as fascist. Sully draws on C. Bradley Thompson's recent book on neoconservatism, but amplifies the implications without the theoretical context. For background, see Thompson's recent piece, "Neoconservatism Unmasked." It's pretty abstract, but if Thompson's right, there's a lot in my personal philosophy that's at odds with the neoconservative program hypothesized there. That said, much of the current debate over intervention in Libya hinges on the argument that the Iraq war was a colossal blunder of world historical proportions. It's the progressive meme that the Bush administration blew the mission after the initial post-conflict phase of operations. The photo-op on the USS Abraham Lincoln came to symbolize the hubris of an administration many argued was hell-bent on war and profanely dismissive of international norms. There's no convincing ideological partisans otherwise, of course, so it's probably not worth it to make the effort. Yet real-world events have repeatedly shown that the Bush administration's foreign policy was frequently masterful and often quite successful. There's been a long slide in Afghanistan's political efficacy, which is why we're still there today, after ten years of war. But in Iraq, the lodestar for progressive attacks on the "Bush-Cheney cabal," the revolutionary changes in the Middle East have elevated Baghdad to regional diplomatic prominence. See New York Times, "Ready or Not, Iraq Ascends to Take Helm of Arab Bloc":
BAGHDAD — After Libya was suspended from the Arab League last month, de facto leadership ended up coincidentally in the hands of Iraq, the Arab nation with the most experience — much of it painful — with a foreign-led military campaign against an unpopular dictator.

For all of that still unsettled pain, the foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari — in his new capacity as head of the Arab League — rushed off to Paris last Friday evening to join Western and Arab allies, where he argued passionately in favor of action against Libya, citing the American no-fly zone in northern Iraq that protected the Kurdish population from Saddam Hussein in the years before the American invasion here, according to a senior official who took part in the Paris deliberations.

And soon, Iraqi leaders, who are facing their own protest movement, plan to use their own troublesome democracy, still bloody and inchoate, as a showcase for Middle East countries. Iraq is taking on a larger diplomatic role in regional affairs as host of the group’s annual summit meeting — while assuming the rotating presidency of the league — in May.

“If there’s a political message, it’s that Iraq is back to play a major and positive role in the Arab region,” said Labid Abawi, the deputy foreign minister who has led a committee to prepare Baghdad for the summit meeting.

“We take pride in that Iraq has already exceeded all these other Arab countries in establishing a democratic regime,” he said. “Now, we can say yes, we are on the right track, and other Arab countries can follow suit in establishing a democratic regime.”
There's more at the link, but I want to reiterate the point above: No amount of evidence, not even Iraqi testimony on the country's democratic consolidation, will wrest from idiot progressives the claim that toppling Saddam Hussein was a debacle. It's all they have, along with endless allegations of racism and the demonization of Israel. And to respond to simpleton Mike Tuggle, who asked if I'd lost my "'neo-conservative illusions' as a result of the botched Neocon Wars?," the answer is no --- because I don't have any illusions to lose.


LibertyAtStake said...

What we have here (Cool Hand Luke ref) is a failure to recognize the commonality between NeoCon doctrine and Progressive One-Worldism. Too close for comfort for this conservative.

"Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Could you elaborate on that Liberty at Stake? Recent outlines for a Progressive Foreign Policy have been shared by Professors Mearshiemer and Metz, or Jay at Armchair Generalist.

And they are the mirror opposite of the ancient neoconservative or the new school neoconservative outlooks on nearly every level.

AmPowerBlog said...

Courtney: Liberty at Stake is a regular reader here, Lord knows why. But "progressive one-worldism" is the stupiest thing I've heard for some time. Liberty, go and read that link to Thompson at the post. That's neoconservatism, which by Thompson's estimate leads in a very different direction.

Old Rebel said...

Simpleton Mike Tuggle here.

C'mon, DD! I responded to your post in which you stated you found little to disagree with Horowitz' startling admission, "Why I Am Not a Neoconservative," in which he confessed:

I allowed myself to get swept up in the Bush-led enthusiasm for a democratic revolution in the Middle East. I remained on board until the Beirut spring began to wither and got off when election results in Gaza came in and put a Nazi party into power. That spelled the end of my neo-conservative illusions.

Of course, he's right when he adds that the Neocon Wars resulted in "a squandering of American resources and a weakening of American power." And as Horowitz said in his article, democracy isn't flowering in Iraq and Afghanistan; US intervention in Iraq transformed a secular regime into a Sharia-compliant kleptocracy.

Horowitz finally grasped that the Neocons' universalism is pure hooey. Or as we paleocons would put it, culture matters.

Now see if you can respond without grammar school level name-calling.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

@Donald - noticed recently that most (not all) critics of neoconservatism - honestly wouldn't recog any of it if it landed on their front lawn (with all respect to LibertyAtStake - who has yet unresponded to the above query)

The simple hap hap happy fact is that most American Primary voters embrace neoconservatism - your choice the 'paw paw era' neoconic ideals or the v2.0 dameoneoconic - even if they don't realize it.

AmPowerBlog said...

Old Rebel Airhead: Schoolyard taunts are met in kind. I've already responded and you've completelyl ignored the argument. Neoconservatism is not exclusively a foreign policy approach and the record of Iraq is a model of what can happen under the right circumstances.

Old Rebel said...

So -- you're happy that Sharia's been implemented in Iraq? And you fundamentally disagree with Horowitz' confession -- even though you said there was little to disagree with?

Of course there's more to Neocon ideology than endless war -- their universalism makes them champions of open borders, as well.

That's why I work to expose this sick ideology for what it is.

Angie said...

I think the 2006 election proved that the siren song of the neocons was just that - a lure into a disaster.

Neoconservatives are indeed inclusive of a philosophy that consists of more than using our military to run the world, but the rest of the message is equally distasteful to the paleocons. We have little to no interest in providing cultural "guidance" or funding federal welfare programs, either.

I'd love to see the Trotskyites go back to the left where they came from. It might mean the GOP would never win another election, but I sincerely doubt it.