End of the Neo-Cons
Date: Monday, November 06 2006
End of the Neo-Cons
Nov. 5, 2006. 08:16 AM
"Every dogma has its day."
— Abraham Rotstein
"America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw;
Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law! (italics added)
— Katharine Lee Bates, "America The Beautiful" (1893)
Whether or not the Republicans lose control of one or both houses of the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, the neo-conservative vision that has guided American foreign policy since 2001 has run its course. The neo-cons' grand design lies in ruins, having accomplished nothing other than to shrink America's stature in the world.
The great unwinding of the American "benign global hegemony" first heralded by neo-cons William Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1996 will commence after the election, when America's political leadership will abandon Iraq and the neo-cons.
The neo-cons' starting point, of course, was the Americanization of Iraq — the "easy win" that would trigger rogue states from the Middle East to the Korean peninsula to fall in line with American values of capitalism, democracy and pro-Israel policies.
But the Iraq conflict has proved unwinnable. And as handmaidens to a $300-billion (U.S.) catastrophe in Iraq that has cost the lives of at least 400,000 Iraqis and almost 3,000 American soldiers, and which ranks as the worst American foreign-policy disaster since Vietnam, the neo-cons have irretrievably lost their credibility.
By Christmas or soon thereafter, a White House that has run out of options on Iraq will begin to cut and run, pronouncing favourably on an exit plan that is now in the final stages of completion by a team led by James Baker, former U.S. secretary of state and a close friend of the Bush family, and Lee Hamilton, a respected former congressman and Democrat who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission.
Having already scrapped his Iraq mantra of "stay the course" late last month, U.S. President George W. Bush will adopt the most substantive points of the Baker-Hamilton blueprint for extricating America from the Iraq quagmire with as much dignity as possible. Baker, despised by the neo-cons for his nuanced, diplomatic approach to geopolitics, has already indicated that the options under consideration by his team are all variations of withdrawal. The only questions are how rapidly the Americans will leave, and which honeyed words the Bush administration will use in trying to dress up failure as success.
Withdrawal from Iraq can't come a moment too soon for a Republican Party paying a heavy price for allowing itself to be hijacked by one of the most naïve world views to come down the pike since Henry Ford chartered a shipload of peace activists and set sail for Europe in 1915. There isn't a Republican drawing breath, war hawk John McCain included, who wants to campaign in 2008 on a diplomatic and military horror show produced and directed by a Republican White House and a GOP-controlled Congress.