Monday, January 28, 2019

Neoconservatism: The Lessons Learned

replying to What Democracy Requires

A brief guide to putting America first.

Irving Kristol defined a neoconservative as a liberal “mugged by reality.” A select number of these erstwhile liberals wisely chose to hand over their valuables to their muggers—in this case many of the comforting sociological illusions underpinning President Johnson’s “Great Society.”

Decades later a new type of neoconservative emerged. This second generation, perhaps determined that no future “muggings” should occur, launched what could well be the most awesome and devastating counter-assault on reality in recent political history.

Fortified with a mixture of Post-Cold War triumphalism and universalist illusions of spreading global democracy, this neoconservative cadre focused their efforts on foreign, rather than domestic, policy. But the crown jewel of its military adventures, the Iraq War, was also its crowning disgrace.

The roots of that grievous error showed clearly in the Republican establishment’s reluctance even to acknowledge it—much less attempt to learn from it. Of the sixteen candidates in the 2016 Presidential primary, thirteen years after then-President Bush declared “mission accomplished,” only two dared criticize the Iraq War and the experts behind it. One, Donald Trump, won the Presidency in a stunning victory against the vigorous opposition of the GOP establishment and its powerful institutional allies around the Western world.

With this victory, the failures behind the neoconservative foreign policy establishment, particularly in the Middle-East, could no longer hide behind embarrassed silence. But it is not enough to smugly point out failures. In order to seize the opportunity Trump’s presidency created and to develop a successful foreign policy vision for the 21st century, we must learn from those failures. Two general lessons are especially noteworthy.............To Read More......

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