AFTER THE NEOCONS AMERICA AT THE CROSSROADS PDF

Fukuyama now considers neoconservatism a revolution betrayed. He traces its roots to the New York Trotskyist intellectuals of the s, whose anti-Stalinism morphed in the '50s into an aggressive anti-communism and then, in the '60s, converged with conservative opposition to New Left "social engineering". It's a history that has been well chronicled elsewhere but Fukuyama puts his own interesting spin on it: downplaying, for instance, the influence of political theorist Leo Strauss, who is often seen as a key source for the neocons. Fukuyama distils neoconservatism down to a few key tenets: the promotion of liberal democracy rather than a realist acceptance of authoritarian regimes; a willingness to deploy American military might; a scepticism about international law and institutions; and a view that ambitious social policies often undermine their framers' intentions. The Bush Administration, he says, has distorted these insights, almost to the point of caricature. Its argument about the inevitable ascendancy of US-style liberal democracy seemed to provide a high falutin' rationale for the promotion of regime change.

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Fukuyama now considers neoconservatism a revolution betrayed. He traces its roots to the New York Trotskyist intellectuals of the s, whose anti-Stalinism morphed in the '50s into an aggressive anti-communism and then, in the '60s, converged with conservative opposition to New Left "social engineering". It's a history that has been well chronicled elsewhere but Fukuyama puts his own interesting spin on it: downplaying, for instance, the influence of political theorist Leo Strauss, who is often seen as a key source for the neocons.

Fukuyama distils neoconservatism down to a few key tenets: the promotion of liberal democracy rather than a realist acceptance of authoritarian regimes; a willingness to deploy American military might; a scepticism about international law and institutions; and a view that ambitious social policies often undermine their framers' intentions.

The Bush Administration, he says, has distorted these insights, almost to the point of caricature. Its argument about the inevitable ascendancy of US-style liberal democracy seemed to provide a high falutin' rationale for the promotion of regime change.

Fukuyama now explains that he meant inevitability in a quite different sense: a process taking place in "historical time" decades? After the Cold War, the neoconservative enthusiasm for military power evolved into a conviction that high-tech weapons could solve almost any difficulty, overthrowing Saddam and providing post-war security and facilitating a new political culture, while suspicion about the United Nations and other international bodies grew into a hostility towards any nation that didn't fall instantly behind the US.

Most of all, neocons who had spent their formative years talking up the menace of the Soviet Union proved incapable of realistically assessing the threat posed by al-Qaeda. The tenuous prewar connection between the Jordanian jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the Ba'athists in Iraq has now grown into a full-scale alliance, fed by mutual resentment of the US occupation. Of course, had Professor Fukuyama shared his thoughts on Iraq when they might have mattered - like, before his friends and acquaintances attacked the place - it would be easier to read his comments without thinking of rats and sinking ships.

It's rather rich for him to piously lecture the administration for following his advice. Nonetheless, from the rubble of neoconservatism, Fukuyama wants to salvage its original emphasis on the promotion of liberal democracy, especially in the Middle East. He proposes that the US focus less on military power and more on fostering good governance, development and political accountability. The process will, he says, require a new engagement with both formal and informal international institutions, though he remains sceptical about the UN.

He dubs his approach "realistic Wilsonianism"; people in Britain might wonder how greatly it differs from Blairism. That's the biggest problem with After the Neocons : though the book tackles global themes, it's primarily a polemic within a US foreign policy establishment so captured by far-right ideologues that ideas utterly unremarkable elsewhere seem shocking and heretical.

Much of After the Neocons is a little obvious. Fukuyama tells us that the fall of dictatorships doesn't necessarily lead to democracy, that not all Muslims are terrorists, that most people around the world don't believe that the US is self-evidently a force for good, that many Arabs think America tilts towards Israel. Worse, there's something deeply disturbing about the casual assumption of imperial privilege that Fukuyama shares with his former colleagues, even as he argues against them.

Yes, he worries about Iraq, but almost exclusively in terms of what a botched occupation means for the US. The tens of thousands of Iraqi lives lost rate only a single line in a page book. After the Neocons matters, if only as an indicator of how much the consensus about the war has changed. But it's very much an account of neoconservatism from the perspective of the powerful rather than the powerless.

After the Neocons: America at the Crossroads. The Age. Gosh, who knew? Jeff Sparrow is the reviews editor of Overland magazine. License this article.

HYPERPLASIE CONGENITALE DES SURRENALES PDF

Critical thinking

This book is a brutal critique of neoconservatism as practised by the Bush administration: and it is all the more damaging for the fact that Francis Fukuyama has himself been strongly identified with the neo-conservative cause. His tone is measured but the comprehensive nature of his demolition of Bush's foreign policy leaves it - and neo-conservatism - in tatters. What, of course, has really done for Bush is "events", above all those in Iraq. Rarely has a policy been exposed so rapidly and comprehensively on such a grand scale, but then wars have a habit of doing precisely that: the rhetoric and platitudes are suddenly and mercilessly subject to the cold test of reality.

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