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20 February 2006

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matt

Greetings. I found reading your 'James Wolcott-like' evisceration of Mr. Fukyama's arguments thoroughly enjoyable.... What has often frustrated me as i have read (or listened to) Neo-Cons like Mr. Fukyama (or others - especially Richard Perle) has been the fact that i what i have read (or listened to) just doesn't seem to correspond to my sense of how the 'real world'really is. They always seem to be defining the parameters of their interaction with the world. ANd dealing with it on their own terms.

In other words, I intuitively just seemed to disagree with them and at times, haven't really had the vocabulary or 'bona fides' (or platform, for that matter...)to challenge this tendency. When i have seen these guys in the media actually challenged by an articulate critic of Neo-Conservatism, they always just seem to reply with a pithy 'coversation-ender' type comment. the host then invariably then moves on to a new topic...

This is a great blog. thanks!

W. Patrick Lang

Matt

I was once on a news show with one of their flunkies from AEI. Someone with an Italian name.

The necons were then trying to make the argument that the occupation of Germany had been like Iraq because "resistance in Germany had not stopped for several years."

My father was an officer in the occupation government. I lived there at the time under discussion. I laughed at this clown and said that I had gone camping in the woods with the German Boy Scout troop that Dad sponsored at the time under discussion.

The Neokid said something like "Aha, Nazi associations..." He wasn't kidding. Pat

avedis

I have always enjoyed your critical disassemblies of neocon personalities and notions, though I think that you are entirely too kind regarding those that are politically active.

My sense is that the Perles, Wolfowitzs, Ledeens, etc are not acting from a purely theorectical basis.

Additionally, I see much interest on their part in - to be crass (true words are often not fine sounding and fine sounding words.....) 1. lining their pockets with kick backs from the industries that benefit from their "wars of liberation", 2. intangibles derived from advancing policies that coincide with the desires of certain Israeli political spheres and 3. obtaining and maintaining power for its own sake.

I believe that these alterior motives are sufficiently salient that whatever these people do or say - sophmoric or otherwise - re: neocon policy cannot be viewed entirely as such.

But Fukuyama is probably operating from a more pure intellectual standpoint and does sound almost as silly as his politicized kin.

W. Patrick Lang

avedis

You know that I agree with you. As proprietor of this enterprise I feel the need to maintain a certain tone, almost as though I had come from the cavalry.

I have been re-reading some JW Bellah novels, and that last slipped out.

I flatter myself that as a result of our self-restraint we have a good bunch of folks talking here.

angela

I think he's technically right. Peace *might* emerge from Hamas rule. Also the stock market might hit DOw 30,000 in the second Bush term rather than stagnant in "secular bear." California real estate *might* rise and rise. And also the treaty I made with the aliens might be declared valid when they levitate the White House and so you can take advantage of this possibility I'll give you a good deal on a bridge.

However past history has shown that when many radical movements take power they flib things further and the outlet is blame an external enemy. Whatever the sins of Israel (and they are many) the past has shown that Palestinian "leaders" have little interst in schools or sewage, Fatah was "revolutionaries" with guns and Hamas is more revolutionary still.

Still they *might* be more competent, but this isn't necessarily good news. It might simply make them more dangerous to us not lead them to embrace us.

One of the assumptions behind this end of history thing is that there is an absolute st of truths and values not spiritual, but materialist and pragmatic. And that the heathens will embrace them when the truth shines in their face.

I actually think there is a good argument that despite their flaws our mechanisms are superior, that over time they wll dominate in a Darwinian (not necessarily bloody, Darwinian not Spencerian0 competition, but even in this country the majority have feeble knowledge of them and don't embrace them intuitively.

To expect the rest of the world too is just as stupid (no matter how cloaked in fancy words) as these rightwingers wondering why we are losing the propaganda battle (they can admit it when Rumsfeld told them) when they've been calling Arabs ragheads, suggesting bombs on Mecca, romanticizing torture (the bored, depressed prisn guard discovering the 15 year old Iraqi kid who knows where the terrorist nukes in Kansas are hidden!) and come to the conclusion that it's the fault of the liberal press that the Satan worshipping Muslims don't hear their thoughts on dropping bacon bits by B52 because certainly if we'd spent more money on Bush cronies to spread the word all the world would see the self evident greatness of our concepts.

(Incidently I don't make this up, the really big news sweeping the righties which has cheered them up immensely is that Batman may join the fight on terror.)

The "end of history" folks have the same sorts of delusion.

IMO.

avedis

Col.

Understood.

Yes, it is a good bunch of folks talking here.

sbj

Great deconstruction of Fukuyama.

One of the central characteristics of the neocon palaver seems to be that they frequently postulate cause and effect linkage between various events but usually never reference actual real-world cause and effect connections.

Whether it's the hollow rhetoric of an academic blowhard like Reuel Marc-Gerecht or the more nefarious bombast of a creature like Richard Perle, they eschew the relationships between real events in favor of their own delusional ideological constructs as though they were allergic to reality.

Is it any wonder they can't even provide a rational explanation of their own position?

fbg46

"Ah I forgot. History has no meaning for them, because like all good little Utopians, the past is dead and only the future matters."

Too bad none of the neocons bothered to read Faulkner -- the past isn't dead; it isn't even the past.

We're not going to get away with this.

Eric

This must be an attempt at historical revisionism on Mr. F's part.

11B40

Col. Lang,

FWIW, I believe that much of the tone and tenor of this board derives from your active involvement in the comments.

On the positive side, you offer a rare opportunity to interact with someone who's had actual, real-world experience with issues that most of us only can read about. (Ditto Larry Johnson, whose references led me here).

And from the not-so-positive side, trolls are required to offer immediate battle to that same intellect. Few seem willing. So much the better for the rest of us, eh?

ikonoklast

I'm grateful that you reminded us about maintaining "tone" here, because reading Fukuyama's article evokes a litany of creative synonyms for "fecal residue." Of course no matter the venue, it's not gentlemanly to kick a craven pompous weasel while he's down.
However, there's something to be said for the ability to expand "We're clueless, anybody got any ideas?" into six pages of self-congratulatory drivel, and I'm impressed that he knows almost as many big words as Murry. (Insert apology here ...)

W. Patrick Lang

11B

People need to speak up, but hey, expect me to respond. I'm not your grandfather. pl

W. Patrick Lang

Eric

You think? pl

W. Patrick Lang

FBG

Agreed, but we are going to coninue "with style."

Reference?

Ah, "for every real 14 year old Southern boy it is always 1 o'clock in the afternoon on the 3rd of July, 1863."

pl

W. Patrick Lang

Angela,

Thanks for a great contribution. Pat

Duck of Death

A lot of good comments here, with which I mostly agree. I will add that it seems like a lot of these neocons have seen way too many bad action movies. It seems like an ideology born of arrested adolescents playing backyard war games. I read the article in the Times earlier today and had a chuckle, these guys can't back away fast enough from what they've done/said, then again...what harm have they done?

W. Patrick Lang

Duck

It took me a breathless minute to "get it" early in the pre-cafeinated morning, but I see your point. Boys will be boys and experimentation in the post doctoral world is only to be expected. pl

fbg46

Col:

Per a couple of the on-line quotations sites:

"The past is not dead. In fact it's not even past."

None of the sites gave the attribution.

ali

I'd regard this as a well conducted retreat under covering fire.

A difficult maneuver at best and Francis has had the foresight to prepare his position more wisely than some of his PNAC colleagues. Watch this fellow; he's a sly one.

Duck of Death

Col Lang,

As a previous poster mentioned, the neocons are now going nuts because the next Batman movie will have our caped crusader(what an appropriate name now) fighting Al Queda in his next movie. These guys are completely caught up in mythology and out of touch w/ reality. I'm sure right now they're thinking "How can we lose w/ Batman AND Jack Bauer on our side?"

Charlie Green

I was disappointed to get to the end of the comments on this topic with no link to Lang's Rules of Epistemology. Even Dogpile only had the two URLs from this blog.
A chimera? Poetic license? Or the product of some secret cabal? :)

Eric

Meanwhile Rumsfeld is planning a new total war.

They shouldn't allow the old codger into the Shirley Temple supply before he briefs the press.

From William Arkin and precious:

http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/earlywarning/2006/02/rumsfelds_infor.html#more

Robert Murray

Well done, Col! - Fukuyama is pretty hard to take - he's pretty a poster boy for the Weekly Standard, but by God did you ever tear him new a one!!
Great moment in the blogoshere - Wow, right up there with "Drink the Koolaid"... Trotskyite wannarule the world Machiavellians iare a far cry from a main street conservative.

PS Col - Quail to right of them,
Quail to left of them,
Quail in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well;.....
w/apologies to Lord Alfred T...

orionATL

ColL

thanks for a nice piece of balloon (gas bag) puncturing.


on the end of fukiyama


in the first place

what francis says now, he could and should have said in sept, 2001 were he the prescient intellect he is given credit for being.

(remember boys and girls
it's a media, media, media world. nothing makes you appear smarter faster than a catchy title like "the end of history".)

despite tom freidmans's hysterical "world war III" headline in sept, 2001, fighting terrorism was never a "war" in any but a rhetorical way, e.g., the "war" on cancer.

in 2001, or in 1901, or in 1801.

fighting terrrorism, strictly, was always a matter of tracking down and eleminating small groups of committed and dangerous people.


in the second place:

anybody who writes stuff like the following is mostly a blowhard.


“Neoconservatism, whatever its complex roots, has become indelibly associated with concepts like coercive regime change, unilateralism and American hegemony. What is needed now are new ideas, neither neoconservative nor realist, for how America is to relate to the rest of the world.”


"whatever its complex roots"?

what does that mean?


"new ideas for how to relate to the rest of the world"?


would that be "new" ideas like

co-operation with one's allies,s

say, building true coalitions,

instead of sham coalitions like the fiction the bush administration foisted off on the world about a "coalition of the willing" in iraq.

new ideas like

not using a terrorist attack on a symbolic building in new york as a shield

for running the table with ideologically inspired partisian programs, domestic as well as internationa?

new ideas like exercising awareness of the culture and circumstances that lead men and women to feel that terrorist actions are the best option before them?


where oh where

has francis been these past five years?

what kept him silent so long?

i don't know the man's work, but, from media depictions over time, i have the prejudice of yet another self-promoting intellectual, not as egregious as christopher hitchens, but of the same ilk.

sounds to me like this latest bit of wisdom from fukuyama is more of a john yoo career-building move, than a thoughtful merging of past and future.


2001-2006: FIVE WASTED YEARS

W. Patrick Lang

Eric

I have to tell you that LJ and I have an article coming out in the "National Interest" (solicited by them)that deals with the issue of an Iranian campaign and its various costs. pl

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