Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The end of the first neocon dream
Great op-ed piece in the Business Day today by Financial Times journalist Gideon Rachman. Rachman discusses the neocon strategy of US-led wars bringing democracy to the Middle East, as well as the notion that democracy would serve US interests.
Looking at the Iraq misadventure, it seems the neocons were not as free of liberal wishful thinking as they imagined. Their big mistake was to overestimate how easy it would be to establish a stable democracy in Iraq. That error was compounded by a naive faith that the democratisation of the Middle East would serve Americans interests. Proclaiming his neocon-inspired 'freedom agenda' for global democratisation, US President George Bush said: 'America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one.'

The 'freedom agenda' is seductive as it holds out the prospect of abolishing the uncomfortable moral choices associated with Kissingerian realpolitik. But the reality is that Iraq is a bloody mess; and that Arab voters have developed a habit of casting their ballots for the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Officially, the Bush administration is undaunted. Unofficially, it is shelving the 'freedom agenda'.

Rachman goes on to talk about the resurgence of "realism" amongst conservatives, as espouced by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. A well-written piece, and well worth the read.