Sunday, March 05, 2006

A country and an ideal

David Clark has a review in February's Prospect of Oliver Kamm's 'Anti-Totalitarianism: The Left-Wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy' (link here - it should be free to view for another few weeks). It's not as bad as some articles that Clark, a former adviser to Robin Cook, has written for The Guardian and gives some interesting details on the evolution of Blair's foreign policy thinking. Nonetheless, it concluded
Is it possible to be a neoconservative without actually being American? A strong belief in the superiority of your own country is somewhat chauvinistic. But a strong belief in the superiority of another country is positively dotty. The contradictions involved in being a left-wing British neoconservative are too great for the idea to endure. The only way to resolve them will be for Kamm and those who think like him to abandon their flirtation with neoconservatism or take it to its ultimate conclusion by following Christopher Hitchens in adopting US citizenship and backing a Republican for president.
In answer to the question, of course it is, since the belief is in the ideal of democracy, not in the expansion of American power. You do not have do go along with the conservative social agenda: the term neoconservative becomes meaningless then anyway and, as noted in a previous post, linking the two creates its own paradox.  As I understand it, the reason Hitchens backed Bush for president was because he thought Kerry would crumble on Iraq.

Update: Hitchens has commented on the Fukuyama essay. He does not say much about "root causes", in the context of domestic social policy, but he does speak of his 'temporary neocon allies'.

While those who are in ecstasy over Fukuyama´s defection would do well to read his whole piece, Hitchens attacks that same defection and the hankering after ´times that will "restore the authority of foreign policy 'realists' in the tradition of Henry Kissinger" ´. It is clear, though, that Fukuyama is warning against exactly such an over-reaction: 'What American foreign policy needs is not a return to a narrow and cynical realism, but rather the formulation of a "realistic Wilsonianism" that better matches means to ends.'


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