"Bush neocons the intellectual descendants of Trotskyists"

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by GringoTex, Nov 7, 2003.

  1. GringoTex

    GringoTex Member

    Aug 22, 2001
    1301 miles de Texas
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    This is an extraordinary and biting analysis:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2090852/

    The assumption that events will conform to a preconceived model is a failing to which neoconservatives are notably vulnerable. Part of this may be Marxist residue that never quite washed off. The intellectual descendants of Trotskyists, the neocons find the idea of revolution from above, in which intellectuals and ideas play the crucial role, instinctively appealing. Many neocons also tend to buy into overly deterministic, Hegelian theories of history (see Fukuyama, Frank). In this sense, the assumption that Iraq was destined to become a liberal democracy with just a nudge from the United States is an error akin to Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick's Hannah Arendt-inspired view that Communist totalitarian societies could never reform from within. There was nothing wrong with that theory either, except that it happened to be completely wrong.

    Another reason the neocons go for grand theories may be that their primary experience tends to come from the classroom, rather than the real world. Colin Powell, who took fire in Vietnam, has a visceral sense of what happens when a military engagement turns sour that those who served out the war at the University of Chicago may lack. What's more, few neoconservatives have cultivated a deep appreciation or understanding of other cultures—unless you count the Athens of Pericles or Machiavelli's Florence.


    Back during the 2000 campaign, George Will and others argued that presidential intelligence didn't matter. This notion was reinforced after Sept. 11, when it became fashionable to argue that Bush's "moral clarity" was preferable to the ability to comprehend many sides of a complicated issue. In fact, presidential intelligence does matter. The intellectual qualities Bush lacks—historical knowledge, interest in the details of policy, and substantive (as opposed to political) judgment—might well have prevented the quagmire we're facing in Iraq right now. A more engaged president—one who understood, for instance, the difference between the Sunnis and the Shiites—surely would have asked about Plan B.
     
  2. obie

    obie New Member

    Nov 18, 1998
    NY, NY
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The irony in this for the Bush Admin is that his military team was alleged to have the most real-life experience of all his cabinet-level departments. But the only people in the US with experience dealing with an Islamist insurgency are from, of all places, the Carter Administration.

    They are treating the Middle East power structure like a weakened Soviet regime, where the governments were notoriously corrupt and the entire populations of the Eastern Bloc countries were itching to join Western Europe. In that case, one fallen domino could and did lead to sweeping reforms. The MidEast governments are still corrupt, but through oil their corruption has ties to Western interests that have made the population suspicious or hostile to American "liberation". The average Syrian or Saudi sees the US as part of the problem, not a possible solution. The DoD leaders don't seem to understand that our invasion of a neighboring oil-rich country doesn't make Arabs feel better about us because it fits perfectly into their long-held belief of Americans as exploiters, not liberators.

    That's why Iraq is so important right now, and why we can't leave until it's done, and why we need broad-based UN support from Islam-friendly countries like Turkey and Indonesia. Getting Iraq right will probably not lead to the Wolfowitz / Perle domino effect, but getting it wrong will turn other secular states in the region like Egypt, Syria and Saudi into more radical Islamist states that are openly hostile to Western interests.
     
  3. superdave

    superdave BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That was a strong piece (unusual for Slate, sort of the USA Today of internet news sites, but without the depth and nuance). As Iraq continues to deteriorate, it's important to notice the extreme ad-hoc nature of our responses. Ever since things didn't go as planned, it's been clear we had no plan for that.
     
  4. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    This passage is my favorite from the article:

    "Another reason the neocons go for grand theories may be that their primary experience tends to come from the classroom, rather than the real world. Colin Powell, who took fire in Vietnam, has a visceral sense of what happens when a military engagement turns sour that those who served out the war at the University of Chicago may lack. What's more, few neoconservatives have cultivated a deep appreciation or understanding of other cultures—unless you count the Athens of Pericles or Machiavelli's Florence"

    Anyway, regarding this bit...
    I was just thinking this while watching the news tonight, when ABC reported that Turkey wasn't going to send troops. Why would anyone who knows anything about the region think that Turkey would 1) want to be in there (well, except to rough up the Kurds) and 2) anyone in Iraq would want them there?
     
  5. superdave

    superdave BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: Re: "Bush neocons the intellectual descendants of Trotskyists"

    I've said it several times before, but it bears repeating.

    It's hard to distinguish the Bush agenda from what the agenda would be if he were an enemy agent sent to weaken the US. There's a sort of perverse perfection to his cluelessness.

    Another case in point...in his Big Idea speech, he mentioned Iran as a nation really in need of our benevolence and guidance toward democracy, but mentioned Saudi Arabia as a nation that is already on the road to democracy. This basically rendered his speech pointless as an exercise in diplomacy, because right there he completely destroyed his credibility. Which, I guess, means the speech only had prupose as a domestic political document.

    But then, it still was a pointless speech, because events on the ground are going to outstrip his Big Ideas by the time the election rolls around next year anyway.
     
  6. MikeLastort2

    MikeLastort2 Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Takoma Park, MD
    He posts a link to the same NY Times article I pointed out earlier this week.

    There's nothing wrong with being optomistic about the potential outcome of the war, but you have to plan for the worst at the same time.

    I was afraid of this going in - I knew we would win the war, but I was genuinely afraid that the Bush administation would have no idea in dealing with the aftermath.
     
  7. Sardinia

    Sardinia New Member

    Oct 1, 2002
    Sardinia, Italy, EU
    A good article but someway it undervalues neocons painting them as being totally idealistic.
    It's ok to explain the failures in actual strategies but fails to focus the real ideological goals.

    To understand their strategies the last thing you have to do is listening to the "democracy and freedom" propaganda.

    The idea of saudi arabia being more near to a democracy than iran clearly shows it.
    It's not because of bush's ignorance since someone else wrote the speech.
    It's because of the fact saudi arabia (or the most part of the royal family) is friend and ally ie they don't threat US interests.

    http://www.newamericancentury.org/

    Clean these statements of euphemisms and you have the core of the issue. It's a word beginning with I and ending with M.
    An aggressive one not the mild one being pursued by any US government and western europe ones (directly or as vassals).
     

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