We are unabashed admirers of American neoconservatives. We are, like them, liberals mugged by reality -- strong idealists with a clear vision for the world.
Here we take stock of the progress of aggressive neoconservatism.
Unlike realists, who believe in deploying national power for self-sustenance, neoconservatives believe in deploying national power as a force for good. "Good" is not an abstract construct -- we believe in the absolute goodness of harmonized freedom and equality. Both must co-exist for the good of the world.
Thus, we reject, for example, unchecked freedom to clerics and despots for suppressing equality of those they lead. Likewise, we reject "equality-based" political tyrannies that suppress freedoms of their citizens (e.g., Marxism).
For realists, values and interests are independent things. For neoconservatives, values are a sub-set of national interests.
All this came together in America's post-9/11 attitude to the world. It saw itself an unrivalled power challenged by radical extremists who offered a vision sans freedom and equality. Both Osama and Saddam personified this challenge.
America decided to use its national power as a force for good by attacking those who threatened its values, hence its interests. This was a test of whether America had sufficient power to enforce standards of good conduct across the world. If America, with all its might, could not pull this off, then neoconservatism would have a problem -- not a conceptual problem, but a problem of means.
Regretfully, it must be said now, that things have not gone the neoconservative way -- our way. An impatient American public and a myopic global opinion have turned against the war. In other words, we neoconservatives have a problem.
We fervently hope Washington does not cut and run -- as some are arguing. That would be a horrendous mistake. We also hope people not see America's difficulties in implementing its neoconservative vision as the negation of neoconservatism itself.
Still, its clear that if America hasn't been able to enforce its noble will in small Iraq, India cannot expect to do the same, with similar tactics, in its massive neighborhood. This does not mean our advocacy for enforcing political modernity on our neighbors is mistaken; all it says is that we'll need coalitions of the willing to achieve our ends. We need a strong capability and experience in building such coalitions.
India's partnership with US and UK to isolate the Nepalese tyrant is a terrific case in point. We need to build similar coalitions for advancing our values in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Burma.
We hope Indians do not see the Iraq matter as a crutch to advocate "dealing with the devil" realism. The thing to remember here is that 9/11 was a clear consequence of historical American realism. Realism may be a short-term pacifier, but it's also a long-term landmine.
Bottom line, these may be trying times for neconservatives, but that only means we need to re-affirm our resolve and re-assess our tactics. This does not mean that we cut and run back to the darkness of political realism. We hope India becomes increasingly neo-conservative aligned, but having learnt from the Iraq experience, pushes forward with better tactics and greater success.
- ► 2011 (14)
- ► 2006 (194)
- The Pontiff's Plea
- Surely The Prime Minister Jests
- Mr. Vajpayee's Legacy
- Gender Progress At IITs
- Worse Than Crocodile Tears
- Azad Baluchistan?
- Encircled With Chaos
- Outrage In Malaysia
- Smashmouth In Serendip
- Random Thoughts on the North East
- A Desolation Called Peace
- Despicable Bigotry, If True
- India: Constitution: Schools, Caste and Religion
- Tough Talk In Washington
- The Ruby Takes The Cake
- War Ain't Picnic
- Neocons being mugged by reality?
- Latin America's Long March Backwards
- The Extinct Royal Bengal Tiger?
- Idiocy Watch
- The Welfare State and the Arthashastra
- The Death Of Common Sense
- Blog Mela
- The Annals Of Intelligence
- Pankaj Mishra's Warped World
- Sepia Mutiny
- Race Riots in Sydney
- No Kidding
- India Shining
- India Dimming
- Opium For The Masses
- Persian Idiot
- The Bloody Hands Of Democracy
- Gambling In Casablanca
- Freedom of Expression
- East Asia Summit
- Cambodian History 101
- Bombs in Bangladesh
- Positively Miraculous
- US Public Opinion On Great Power Peers
- Idiocy Watch
- Confused, Anyone?
- Journalistic Tampering in Iraq
- A Nightmarish Stress-Dream
- Monday Morning Comedy
- Zia Ul Haq
- A Nocturnal Portrait Of The World
- The Indian Navy
- A Well Deserved Diss
- Ariel Sharon
- World AIDS Day
- ▼ December (63)