Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Kristol on Fukuyama

I’ve been waiting for this. Here’s a snippet:

Remember: The United States of America and its allies--regimes that seek to embody, or at least to move towards, the principles of decent, civilized, liberal democracy--did not seek this war. But we are at war, and we could lose it. Victory is not inevitable.

Does that make Bush-supporting, liberal-democracy-promoting, Iraq-war-defending neoconservative "Leninists," as Francis Fukuyama has recently charged? No. Does it mean we
believe--as Fukuyama defines Leninism--that "history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will"? Does it mean that history does not automatically move in the right direction, that justice does not necessarily or easily prevail? Yes.

"I’ll see your Fukuyama and raise you a Wittmann." Read the whole thing to make sense of this.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Insanity can be defined as repeating the identical action over, and over again, yet always expecting a different outcome.

Kristol must finally have last what few marbles he had. He must be completely bonkers if he expects competence from this administration.

Brian, this administration has been dealing with issues of a complexity and difficulty without parallel in the history of American foreign policy. There simply isn’t any analogy within our history that would prove instructive. Furthermore, for every step and every action GW takes in the mideast, he has a media ankle biting him, a political opposition irresponsibly opportunizing upon him, and mideast powers imploring him to stop, and raising a spectre of horrors that would daunt Patton himself. Moreover, those very same mideast powers have think tanks, academics and lobbyists almost wholly addicted to Arab petrodollars, who can be wholly relied upon to repeat and amplify mideast objections and talking points. In addition, he has a State Department actively thwarting his policy, refusing to explain it to Europeans, secretly sympathetic to the agenda of the EU, and whose views are effectively arabist. And then he has a CIA that has a profound enemy identification problem, and has repeatedly proven that it is incapable of running any intelligence operation against anyone other than this administration.

So before you start damning the competence of this administration, perhaps you might like to suggest who you think would have done a better job under the same circumstances.

Cut ’em a break, they are dealing with a nightmare.

So before you start damning the competence of this administration, perhaps you might like to suggest who you think would have done a better job under the same circumstances.

You know, I get this a lot. I didn’t get you guy here. YOU got you guys here by saying YEAH, lets do it, bring it on and the like. Now you somehow expect me to come up with a solution to this debacle? Yeah well, I don’t know either. However, I had the good sense to oppose this abortion from day one.

Secondly, the war is the headline issue right enough, but there are a plethora of subsidiary issues handled as badly, if not worse. I am consistently amazed at the slavish willingness to support these morons no matter what.

That this was no forseen, or not predictable is total nonsense. Let me leave you with the words of one of your sharper countrymen.

I believe it is my patriotic duty to urge a different path to protecting America’s security: To focus on al Qaeda, which is an imminent threat, and to use our resources to improve and strengthen the security and safety of our home front and our people while working with the other nations of the world to contain Saddam Hussein. . . .

Had I been a member of the Senate, I would have voted against the resolution that authorized the President to use unilateral force against Iraq - unlike others in that body now seeking the presidency.

That the President was given open-ended authority to go to war in Iraq resulted from a failure of too many in my party in Washington who were worried about political positioning for the presidential election.

The stakes are so high, this is not a time for holding back or sheepishly going along with the herd.

To this day, the President has not made a case that war against Iraq, now, is necessary to defend American territory, our citizens, our allies, or our essential interests.

The Administration has not explained how a lasting peace, and lasting security, will be achieved in Iraq once Saddam Hussein is toppled.

I, for one, am not ready to abandon the search for better answers.

As a doctor, I was trained to treat illness, and to examine a variety of options before deciding which to prescribe. I worried about side effects and took the time to see what else might work before proceeding to high-risk measures. . . .

We have been told over and over again what the risks will be if we do not go to war.

We have been told little about what the risks will be if we do go to war.

If we go to war, I certainly hope the Administration’s assumptions are realized, and the conflict is swift, successful and clean. I certainly hope our armed forces will be welcomed like heroes and liberators in the streets of Baghdad.

I certainly hope Iraq emerges from the war stable, united and democratic.

I certainly hope terrorists around the world conclude it is a mistake to defy America and cease, thereafter, to be terrorists.

It is possible, however, that events could go differently, . . . .

Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms.

Anti-American feelings will surely be inflamed among the misguided who choose to see an assault on Iraq as an attack on Islam, or as a means of controlling Iraqi oil.

And last week’s tape by Osama bin Laden tells us that our enemies will seek relentlessly to transform a war into a tool for inspiring and recruiting more terrorists.

There are other risks. Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms.

Howard Dean, Feb 17th 2003.

Vilify him now.

Easy, no one wants you to wander along with the herd.

My observation, which may have been made with a bit more edge than I actually intended, is simply when you launch criticisms, offer an idea that solves the problem, or ameliorates to a certain extent the problem. You might not be able to propose an idea that will comprehensively resolve everything, to be sure, but an approach of almost deconstructing everything the Administration is trying to do only adds to the overall level of rancor.

I have MAJOR difficulties with many a decision of this administration, going all the way back to the selection of Powell for Sec. of State, because I thought the enormity of his office would find him out, {and it did, and look at his immediate staff, Haas, Armitrage, L. Wilkerson, Zinni out there running criticism which everybody knew originated with Powell and the State Department}. Karen Hughes, somebody who might have a finger on the pulse of Bible Belt America, but that’s about it. That speech she drafted for the President on the evening of 9/11 was pathetic, lets be honest, it was pathetic. And now she is over at State, she’s so far out of her depth that it isn’t even funny, in a dark, gallows humour sort of way.

Going after Afghanitan first, instead of moving in strength on Tehran, armoured columns in strength, driving on the heart of the enemy, instead of moving on the margins. Going to the UN, for every single time you go to the UN for permission, ratification or aggreement, you are transferring sovereign powers over to the UN. Regardless of whether you intend to or not, every time you go to the UN, you are carving deeper precedent. And that’s a disaster. The fact that we did not create an army of a few million men in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 has narrowed our military options. Defense budget needed to be expanded far more than it was. His energy policy, and I could go on and on, and on, but ultimately, we are, where we are. And we have to make this policy work.

The consequences of ignominious withdrawal don’t bear thinking upon. We have no choice.

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