Andrew Sullivan’s version of neo-conservatism comes perilously close to the paleocon vision that Arabs (or is it Muslims?) can’t govern themselves decently. It seems to me that most critics now regard neocons as altogether too sanguine (in the good sense) about the prospects for decent self-government anywhere and everywhere.
In any event, A.S. argues that the lesson of Gaza is that we should probably disengage:
We have, I think, two options. We can withdraw from Iraq and play the grand regional Shi’ite-Sunni war in the Middle East by proxy. Or we can enmesh ourselves much more deeply and irrevocably in a metastasising conflict. Such a conflict may well breed even more antiwestern terror and run the risk of inserting Americans into an ancient sectarian blood feud.
There are grave dangers in both options and no one should underestimate the risks of withdrawal from a power vacuum we created. But surely the lesson of Gaza and Iraq is that occupation will not transform Arab culture for the better either. It may in fact make things worse.
I guess the other lesson he’d have us learn is that murderous thugs like Saddam--so long as they don’t have major regional or global ambitions--are the best we can expect. At least they keep the lid on, killing only their enemies, without letting them fight back.
If this is the alternative to Bush, give me GWB any day.