S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Neocon evolves

Following the news - All of us have our political issues to follow. We have our regular keywords and our habitual search terms.

"neocon" is one of mine. I think I need to keep up with the latest news about this bunch, who are so responsible for many of our current national problems.

I am always hoping for good news. Something or someone has changed. And I think I have, indeed, found some items that give me hope that these people can change.

As I said, I will almost always click on the word "neocon". That automatic click happened last night as I visited one of my favorite new bloggers at her site, mahablog.

Minds change - She posted some fascinating thoughts about the current progress of Johns Hopkins Professor Francis Fukuyama's evolution as a leading author and Neoconservative thinker. Fukuayama is currently serving on the faculty of the prestigious Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. To quote maha,
Some years ago I read the original “The End of History?” article that Francis Fukuyama wrote in 1989, and out of which grew a book by the same name. This essay persuaded me that, just as youth is wasted on the young, graduate school is wasted on the stupid. I expressed more dismay at Fukuyama and explained why I think he’s an idiot here. . . Anyway, Fukuyama wrote a long essay for yesterday's New York Times Sunday magazine called "After Neoconservatism.". . . . I see neoconservatism as proactive isolationism. Foreigners scare us, so we'll make them be more like us so they're not so scary.
Professor's evolution continues - Blogger maha peppered her post with several very useful quotes from Andrew Seal of the Little Green Blog, who offers an excellent examination of the latest Fukuyama NYT Mag essay's evolution in thinking. Seal asserts that the professor has come to reject utopian neocon views in favor of a much more "Realist Wilsonian" stance.
New view appeared last fall - In The American Prospect Robert Boynton wrote an article titled, "The Neocon Who Isn't." In October of last year, he made the same argument that Fukuyama had changed his views. The author concluded,
The fact that Fukuyama traces the Iraq debacle to the triumphalism that followed the collapse of communism shows just how far he has come in his thinking. After all, his end-of-history thesis was as much a source for as a product of the American exceptionalism and hubris that has foundered in the streets of Baghdad. It isn’t as if he has dramatically switched allegiances in the manner of Whittaker Chambers or David Horowitz. What Fukuyama’s break (and, more importantly, his new magazine) may signify, however, is that the debate among conservatives on Iraq, on neoconservatism, and on the future direction of American foreign policy will be much more robust -- and much more fought out in the open. This wouldn’t have happened if Iraq had been a success. Even someone like Fukuyama, who opposed the war from the start, would probably have maintained a discreet silence if the troops had been greeted with flowers and the country weren’t on the brink of civil war. But they weren’t, and it is. And Fukuyama is one of the few from the neoconservative camp who is openly questioning the principles that led to the war. History, apparently, is not over quite yet.
This was news - Commentators were really taking notice. At about the same time this article appeared: "Fukuyama's moment: A neocon scism opens," by Danny Postel - 10/28/04. Quote,
In “The Neoconservative Moment,” Fukuyama turns a heat lamp on the cogitations
of one thinker in particular, Charles Krauthammer, whose “strategic thinking has become emblematic” of the neo-conservative camp that envisaged the Iraq invasion. Krauthammer, one of the war’s most vociferous advocates, had somewhat famously fancied the end of the cold war as a “unipolar moment” in geopolitics – which, by 2002, he was calling a “unipolar era.” In February 2004 Krauthammer delivered an address at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington in which he offered a strident defense of the Iraq war in terms of his concept of unipolarity, or what he now calls “democratic realism.”
Fukuyama was in the audience that evening and did not like what he heard.
Krauthammer’s speech was “strangely disconnected from reality,” Fukuyama wrote in “The Neoconservative Moment.” “Reading Krauthammer, one gets the impression that the Iraq War – the archetypical application of American unipolarity – had been an unqualified success, with all of the assumptions and expectations on which the war had been based fully vindicated.” “There is not the slightest nod” in Krauthammer’s exposition “towards the new empirical facts” that have come to light over the course of the occupation.
Many of have been following the neocon story since it became apparent that something big was driving the current administrations foreign policy. That something turned out to be the unprecedented neocon ideas with which we are now familiar. I have posted on this in the past. Here are a couple of links to related previous posts:
  • Francis Fukuyama was a featured speaker at this recent conference facilitated by my favorite, Steve Clemons: "A Conference that WILL make a difference" hosted by the New America Foundation.
  • Over the years, I have also followed the career of a close associate of Fukuyama's at S.A.I.S., Mary Habeck. Here is a link to my study of her ground breaking work on radical jihad entitled, "Professor Mary Habeck's study of jihadis". Habeck taught me more than anyone else about what makes this terrorist movement tick.
There seems to be growing consensus that the unthinkable has happen: a dyed-in-the-wool neocon has had a change of heart, breaking with his former comrades. That apparent evolution is worth watching. He knows his former allies well.
And we need to know them, too. Knowing one's adversaries is important for fighting back. Here are some references that are good basic reading for understanding the currently reigning neocon movement.
  1. Title linked above - search= 730 entries today on "neocon"
  2. Project for the New American Century: the neocon "bible."-PNAC
  3. Christian Science Monitor's Neocon Quiz
  4. Wikipedia: "Neoconservatism"page
My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about Olympic figure skater Sasha Cohen .

No comments: