Monday, December 19, 2005

Neocons being mugged by reality?

This blog has been a supporter of neo-conservative approach to foriegn policy. This author shares the core idea, perhaps with lesser intensity than our co-bloggers, that powerful democracies must deal firmly and aggressively with threats from ill-behaved, non-democratic forces, even if unilaterally. We are concerned about the dangers of unchecked unilateralism, but have faith in democracies to check and balance themselves.

Be that as it may, this post has a different objective. We wonder if a good idea is being done a disservice by the poor execution of the Bush administration. In other words, we wonder if the neocons, who love to claim that they are liberals mugged by reality, are being mugged by reality all over again?

The reality has been far too many errors of omission and commission. The stretching of truth on WMD in Iraq, the persecution of Ambassador Wilson, the poor planning before, during and after the invasion, the complete lack of understanding of Iraqi culture and politics, the premature de-baathification of Iraqi forces, insufficient troops on the ground, the indiscriminate collateral damage, the torture scandals, the vilification of patriotic dissenters, the blatant manipulation of the media, all compounded by an inarticulate president who cannot stray beyond the soundbite, the list goes on and on...

The consequence of this reality is the declining public support inside America, reduced credibility outside America, worldwide suspicion of US motives, fewer friends and emboldened enemies. This may yet lead to a wholesale rejection of neoconservative ideas. Good ideas with poor execution can cause the idea to be discredited. Here in silicon valley, this is like good startup ideas (e.g. online groceries) with poor execution (e.g. Webvan), an idea now thriving in Web 2.0.

We haven't lost sight of the silver lining - of democracy flowering in the Arabian desert - an incredible miracle indeed! Yet, we also acknowledge the severe mugging neocons are taking at the hands of reality.


Jaffna said...


We have never met before. Welcome back to blogosphere. What a nice surprise to hear from you.

Best regards

Pragmatic said...


Apologize for the prolonged absence. You and Primary Red have been doing an incredible job and are my inspiration for contributing more frequently.

doubtinggaurav said...


This latest round of mugging will result in Neo-Neo cons or something else.


libertarian said...

Pragmatic, very thought-provoking. Great to read this view juxtaposed with PR's defense of the neocon position.

Am personally much more bullish that the neocon idea - or some revision of it - will come to be. While the strategic decisions (Iraq in particular), the methods and execution leave the current implementation open to attack, it has a very solid basis.

The alternative is to roll over or to appease like the French and Spanish did. Most nations have discovered to their detriment that that does not work - the Russians with Beslan, the French with their riots. India has discovered this several times - Masood Azhar is a prime example.


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