Fukuyama says fukutowar

You have to read this, from the Wall Street Journal, a little carefully to discover that the spine of the argument is three good reasons against the war:


The present plans for Iraq, involving its invasion, occupation, and the replacement of the Saddam regime by a democratic one acceptable to the US (and Israel) will, he says

“require a consistent, long-term willingness to do what it takes to build legitimate and stable political institutions in foreign lands. The United States is not good at either implementing or sticking to such projects over the long run. The fact is that the idealist agenda is inconsistently supported within the administration itself, part of which retains strong opposition to nation- building.
The second problem has to do with empire and legitimacy. Americans tend to assume that democracy and U.S. security go hand-in-hand, as they have in places like Germany, Japan, the former Soviet Union and Afghanistan. The administration is betting that the same thing will happen in a post-Saddam Iraq. But liberation may give way to something that seems more like occupation over time. The same will apply in many other countries spawning terrorism where we may be tempted to expand our reach. Democracy and American national interests do indeed go together, but only over the long term and with periodic exceptions when we are often better served in the short run by friendly authoritarians. The idealist project may therefore come to look more like empire pure and simple in the short run.
The final conservative caution has to do with domestic politics. It is not at all clear that the American public understands it is getting into an imperial project as opposed to a brief in-and-out intervention in Iraq. It can be rallied to heavy public involvement overseas, and is often better motivated by idealist rather than realist appeals (as with the Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine). This is, after all, an exceptional nation. But the grounds for prolonged military and economic involvement in the Middle East, and the kinds of sacrifices this may entail, have not yet even begun to be laid.

The whole article is here.

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1 Response to Fukuyama says fukutowar

  1. Anonymous says:

    Do you agree with what he says about US conservatives being European liberals, though? I’ve certianly never thought so. My own way of looking at it is that in terms of economics both US parties are conservative in European terms, and in terms of social issues (eg abortion, civil liberties, etc.) the split is similar to European terms. I certainly would never agree that the Republicans are liberal! If they are not defending the status quo now that’s because they are seeking to reverse many policies and social programs that were built up over the 20th century.

    I’d have thought.

    argh

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