Tuesday :: Jun 17, 2003

Do the NeoCons Have an Endgame in Mind?

by Steve

I think this story in Newsweek is noteworthy for several reasons. First, the fact that one of the two major newsmagazines is casting doubt on the Bushies’ foreign policy in general and the NeoCons in particular shows just how much the landscape has changed since the realities of the Iraqi occupation, failed WMD search, and continued Al Qaeda activity have materialized.

Second, the story’s tone and quotes indicate not only doubts about the success of the NeoCons and their agenda, but posits the theory that Iraq was a one-shot deal, and not the first stage of a PNAC agenda. This is either a misdirection game by the Bushies to tampen down concerns about where they are headed next, or an admission that not only was Iraq a one-shot deal, but that there is no well thought-out endgame with these guys after all. And in some ways, that is more worrisome than the PNAC line of argument. At least with the PNAC line of argument, you could see an intellectual argument for what they wanted to do. You could certainly disagree with it, and call into question its basic assumptions, which have been trashed anyway by the WMD revelations and outcomes on the ground in the Middle East. But if we find out now that Iraq was in fact not part of a larger plan, and just about settling scores in Iraq no matter what justification it took, and no matter the consequences of the war, then it is worse that I thought.

Kristol’s comment at the end of the story is telling. And it seems to indicate to me that these guys are just the way I originally thought they were before the PNAC stuff emerged: a bunch of inflexible cold-war Neanderthals incapable of the multitasking and nuanced big-picture analyses required for diplomacy in the world we face. If Iraq was the endgame all by itself, we can feel relieved and scared at the same time. Relieved that these guys have blundered their way into situations in Afghanistan and Iraq that will tie us down for years while not allowing them to create mischief elsewhere. And scared because even in doing these ill-conceived things in a half-assed and surly manner they have made the world more unsafe than they found it in 2001.

Steve :: 12:16 AM :: Comments (28) :: Digg It!