June 17, 2008

Cold War liberalism ain’t gonna save you now

My friend Michael Brendan Dougherty talks some sense to Mathew Yglesias, who dreams of a return to the good ol? days of the ?bipartisan? foreign policy of the Cold War and sees the Iraq fiasco as a lamentable aberration:   

What about the Korean War, or Vietnam? I suppose these aren?t ?Iraq-scale? being that they are much, much larger and helped to discredit the Truman and Johnson administrations respectively. Along the way these, lets call ?em, ?Vietnam-scaled blunders?, created a small renaissance of non-interventionist thinking on both the left and right. We might also consider the much longer list of recent (smaller than Iraq-scaled) blunders supported by the same establishment. The first Gulf War, the sanctions-regime and the decade long bombing campaign that followed there, Somalia, Haiti, and our intervention against Slobodan Milosevic. Can any of these be judged a success? The Iraq War was relaunched. Somalia saw the humiliation of American forces and taught bin Laden a few lessons. No one can explain what has been accomplished in Port au Prince. And Kosovo is in a state of near anarchy and has been linked to every post-9-11 terrorist attack in Europe. Yet Yglesias has the stones to frame Iraq as an isolated freakout? A one-off after decades of uninterrupted, unimpeachable successes of the establishment.

On neoconservatism, Yglesias knows better and is telling a convenient untruth. Neoconservatism was not some ?fringe right-wing position.? The intellectuals that formed that movement were not gathered around totems of extreme conservatism. No, instead they leapt forth from the heads of center-left Democrats Scoop Jackson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Neoconservatism is a variant of the same establishment foreign policy that Yglesias claims to champion.

I suppose when you are a liberal who originally supported the Iraq War, and you have a foreign policy book to sell, a little lying and misrepresentation goes a long way. Or is he willing to say that he too was out in ?loony land? when he boosted an unprovoked war on a nation that hadn?t attacked us. Maybe he lacked what Obama-supporters call, ?judgment,? in these matters.


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