28 Mar 2006

Fukuyama’s Retreat

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In the cultural echo-chamber of the liberal establishment, the justification for the US invasion of Iraq has been thoroughly exploded, its results labeled and inventoried in the lumber room of disaster, and a suitable location for the headmount of George W. Bush’s presidency selected on the wall above the foreign policy pundits’ bar.

The president’s poll numbers are decidedy unattractive, and Republican candidates are approaching the 2006 elections with the forlorn air of Emperor Valens’ legions advancing to meet the Gothic cavalry at Adrianople.

One of the highlights of last Sunday’s Times was Paul Berman‘s oleaginous review of Francis Fukuyama’s America at the Crossroads, a coat-reversal-cum-grovel appearing in public with a dust jacket.

It looks so much better to place one’s moment of conversion at a period in the past when the fortunes of the side one is rejoining did not appear quite so propitious as they do at present, and Fukuyama takes care to supply a story of his gasping aloud at the deluded optimism of the Neoconservative company he found himself in at a speech delivered by Charles Krauthammer in 2004.

Unfortunately for Fukuyama, Krauthammer reads the Sunday Times Book Review, and is only too eager to decline the role of strawman and debunk Fukuyama’s convenient account of feckless and provocative Neocon bragging.

It was, as the hero tells it, his Road to Damascus moment. There he is, in a hall of 1,500 people he has long considered to be his allies, hearing the speaker treat the Iraq war, nearing the end of its first year, as “a virtually unqualified success.” He gasps as the audience enthusiastically applauds. Aghast to discover himself in a sea of comrades so deluded by ideology as to have lost touch with reality, he decides he can no longer be one of them.

And thus did Francis Fukuyama become the world’s most celebrated ex-neoconservative, a well-timed metamorphosis that has brought him a piece of the fame that he once enjoyed 15 years ago as the man who declared, a mite prematurely, that history had ended.

One can only advise members of the liberal foreign policy establishment to listen very carefully at all their upcoming speeches over the next few years. You never know, the tide may turn in favor of the Bush Administration, and the United States, and you might hear Francis Fukuyama gasping again.

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Mohammed Ali

You think Berman was oleagenous? Fukujama deserves a pat on the back for willingness to accept error in supporting the Iraq War. Look at how he is vilified by you for his honest assessment. Do you think he has become a cynical liberal, grasping at the anti-war stance in a power grab? Or is he sincere and correct?

BTW, “oleagenous” should be “oleaginous” according to my dictionary. I remembered what it meant, but it didn’t look right. I had to look it up. My wife has to proofread all my writing, except in my email I am allowed typos and mispellings. If I had a blog, I don’t know what I would do, knowing the corrections she makes in all my work. Even with auto spell check (red underlines) on my word processing, I seem to ignore it. Maybe to much dependency on others to correct my errors. Maybe a trait I share with our president.



JDZ

You’re right on “oleaginous.” Karen missed that one.

Call me cynical on Fukuyama’s conversion.



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