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The Neoconservative Convergence

 
 
Reply Fri 1 Jul, 2005 12:07 pm
If at all possible, can we keep the half-baked comments to a minimum?

I would like some understanding and interpretations of this peice by Charles Krauthammer from various members.


The Neoconservative Convergence
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 10:35 am
Re: The Neoconservative Convergence
McGentrix wrote:
If at all possible, can we keep the half-baked comments to a minimum?

I will leave it to others to judge how thoroughly baked my comments are.

McGentrix wrote:
I would like some understanding and interpretations of this peice by Charles Krauthammer from various members.

For a Krauthammer piece, it is surprisingly insightful. A few criticisms:

1. Krauthammer falls into a rather simplistic error in equating "liberal internationalism" with "liberalism," just because both share an identical term. A recent Atlantic article by David Kennedy correctly, I think, pointed out that neo-conservatism owes a great deal to Wilsonian internationalism. Indeed, neo-conservatism, as a dog's breakfast of idealistic internationalism and cynical Realpolitik, resembles the foreign policy of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt more than anything else.

2. Krauthammer criticizes "liberal internationalism" for failing to achieve anything during Clinton's administration (a dubious proposition at best) without bothering to look at the successes achieved by the "liberal internationalism" of FDR or Eisenhower. Apparently, anything touched by Clinton becomes, in the eyes of Krauthammer, a thing to be despised.

3. Likewise, although Krauthammer divides foreign policy into three parts (neoconservatism, liberal internationalism, and realism -- ignoring, for the most part, isolationism), he doesn't really explain why "realism" isn't a viable option to neoconservatism. If Bush I was a realist (another dubious proposition), then certainly Reagan was an ├╝berrealist. Although Bush I's foreign policy may have suffered from a "failure of imagination," Krauthammer fails to explain why realism is necessarily inferior to neo-conservatism.

4. Krauthammer describes Bush II's second inaugural as the "urtext" of "democratic globalism" (which is, apparently, a species of neo-conservatism). But if the second inaugural address set forth the principles of Bushian neo-conservatism, then how can we explain Bush's foreign policy before January 2005? If Bush only got around to determining the nature of his foreign policy at that time, what was it when he decided to invade Iraq in 2002? Half-baked neo-conservatism? Krauthammer has no answer to this.

5. Ultimately, Krauthammer cannot explain how the "more restrictive" form of neo-conservatism -- "democratic realism" -- differs, in any significant fashion, from Clintonian internationalism. If "spreading democracy" is in the interests of US security, then establishing democratic regimes around the world constitutes the US's raison d'etat. In this respect, the only difference between Bush II's foreign policy and Clinton's foreign policy is that Clinton tended to "group" (i.e. form restrictive alliances) before acting whereas Bush II tends to favor unilateralism. Krauthammer would need to explain why unilateralism is a function of neo-conservatism, rather than merely an attribute of Bush's own foreign policy.
0 Replies
 
rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 11:32 am
Joe.....I read your critique of Krauthammer and thought it was brilliant....BEFORE.....I read the article. I am now in the process of reading the article and must now take the wife shopping before I can fully digest the article and reply to your critique but please allow me to make a couple of quick comments.

1. Krauthammer does't ignore isolationism......he examines it and considers it largely irrelevant in todays global environment.

2. As far as I've gotten in the article I have only one real criticism in his praise for Bush 1 and that is his omission of the Crime committed by Skowcroft and Bush.......the abandonment of the Shiites after Gulf War 1 which has (IMO) led to many of the problems with the Shiites during the current situation. This I know is controversial but IMO again, Bush 1's advisors who convinced him to abandon the Shiites when they were being butchered by Saddam, (after Bush promised them he would support them if only they would kick Saddam out), committed a horrendous crime for which no one was ever held acountable

Must run but looking forward to further discussion on the article and your critique.

Great article McG
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 02:43 pm
rayban1 wrote:
1. Krauthammer does't ignore isolationism......he examines it and considers it largely irrelevant in todays global environment.

I didn't say Krauthammer ignored isolationism, I said he ignored it for the most part. He mentioned and dismissed isolationism all in one sentence -- that's ignoring it for the most part.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 03:06 pm
sorry got as far as "Charles Krauthammer"
then couldn't continue for laughing
0 Replies
 
rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 07:22 pm
Re: The Neoconservative Convergence
joefromchicago wrote:
McGentrix wrote:
If at all possible, can we keep the half-baked comments to a minimum?

I will leave it to others to judge how thoroughly baked my comments are.


After initially thinking your comments had considerable merit, closer examination revealed mostly glib rhetoric but not much content.......so maybe 1/4 baked!



McGentrix wrote:
I would like some understanding and interpretations of this peice by Charles Krauthammer from various members.

For a Krauthammer piece, it is surprisingly insightful. A few criticisms:

Joe wrote:
1. Krauthammer falls into a rather simplistic error in equating "liberal internationalism" with "liberalism," just because both share an identical term. A recent Atlantic article by David Kennedy correctly, I think, pointed out that neo-conservatism owes a great deal to Wilsonian internationalism. Indeed, neo-conservatism, as a dog's breakfast of idealistic internationalism and cynical Realpolitik, resembles the foreign policy of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt more than anything else.


You are very brave....OR....perhaps foolhardy in referring to anything written by a man of Krauthammer's intellectual stature, as simplistic. You start with such an allegation and then follow with disconnected terms as evidence of your brilliance. You add as evidence, an article that no one can read unless you are a subscriber and then pile on some historical rhetoric about McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt which may or may not be true. All in all a very unpersuasive jumble of words.

Joe wrote:
2. Krauthammer criticizes "liberal internationalism" for failing to achieve anything during Clinton's administration (a dubious proposition at best) without bothering to look at the successes achieved by the "liberal internationalism" of FDR or Eisenhower. Apparently, anything touched by Clinton becomes, in the eyes of Krauthammer, a thing to be despised.


Here you truthfully admit that anything favorably accomplished under Clinton's "liberal internationalism" could be considered dubious at best. I fail to see why he should go all the way back to FDR or Eisenhower in order to criticize Clinton's failures when he had already narrowed the parameters of his article to the past 15 years. You are correct about one thing though, Krauthammer despises anything touched by Clinton

Joe wrote:
3. Likewise, although Krauthammer divides foreign policy into three parts (neoconservatism, liberal internationalism, and realism -- ignoring, for the most part, isolationism), he doesn't really explain why "realism" isn't a viable option to neoconservatism. If Bush I was a realist (another dubious proposition), then certainly Reagan was an ├╝berrealist. Although Bush I's foreign policy may have suffered from a "failure of imagination," Krauthammer fails to explain why realism is necessarily inferior to neo-conservatism.


The only reason I mentioned "isolationism" earlier was because you gave me impression that you still considered it a valid form of Foreign policy. I think the author explains why realism is a failure with this quote from his article:

Krauthammer wrote:


Joe wrote:
4. Krauthammer describes Bush II's second inaugural as the "urtext" of "democratic globalism" (which is, apparently, a species of neo-conservatism). But if the second inaugural address set forth the principles of Bushian neo-conservatism, then how can we explain Bush's foreign policy before January 2005? If Bush only got around to determining the nature of his foreign policy at that time, what was it when he decided to invade Iraq in 2002? Half-baked neo-conservatism? Krauthammer has no answer to this.


This is a valid question but only because the administration, as far as I know, DID NOT proclaim it's foreign policy as "neo-conservatism". As I remember it was the opposition that actually defined neo-conservatism mainly from the intent to use peremptive strikes as an act of foreign policy. Remember the title of the article is neoconservative convergence which in itself admits that neoconservatism is still evolving.



5. Ultimately, Krauthammer cannot explain how the "more restrictive" form of neo-conservatism -- "democratic realism" -- differs, in any significant fashion, from Clintonian internationalism. If "spreading democracy" is in the interests of US security, then establishing democratic regimes around the world constitutes the US's raison d'etat. In this respect, the only difference between Bush II's foreign policy and Clinton's foreign policy is that Clinton tended to "group" (i.e. form restrictive alliances) before acting whereas Bush II tends to favor unilateralism. Krauthammer would need to explain why unilateralism is a function of neo-conservatism, rather than merely an attribute of Bush's own foreign policy.[/quote]

Perhaps Krauthammer does not explain it very well but here again it should not require explanation because it is self evident that Clinton's answer to everything was to form meaningless alliances(expressed very nicely when Krauthammer described the embarrassment of Clinton's Secretary of State..Albright..when she went clattering after Arafat to get him to sign another meaningless piece of paper) in order to maintain the status quo instead of aggressive measures to send a message to all rogue regimes that we will act quickly and unilaterally if necessary, to ensure success. The only departure from this weak form of foreign policy was the unilateral action in Kosovo. This was totally out of character for Clinton but it was IMO, a success.

I can fully understand your desire to bash another conservative intellectual but in this case I think you failed. I think you failed because it was such a quick effort, poorly thought out and poorly organized and certainly not up to your ususal high standard

All in all I thought Krauthammer did a sterling job of analysing and supporting the Bush neoconservative doctrine.......but since it is impossible to be all things to all people I'm certain liberals here will find much to fault.
I'm also certain I will find out if my comments are uncooked, 1/4 baked, or half baked :wink:
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 08:11 pm
bm
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 09:08 am
Re: The Neoconservative Convergence
rayban1 wrote:
You are very brave....OR....perhaps foolhardy in referring to anything written by a man of Krauthammer's intellectual stature, as simplistic.

And yet it was.

rayban1 wrote:
You start with such an allegation and then follow with disconnected terms as evidence of your brilliance. You add as evidence, an article that no one can read unless you are a subscriber and then pile on some historical rhetoric about McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt which may or may not be true. All in all a very unpersuasive jumble of words.

My apologies for linking to a subscription-only page. I subscribe to the Atlantic, so it appears just fine on my computer; nothing on the page indicated that it was for subscribers only. In any event, it's still a good article: go to your local library and pick up the March issue and see for yourself.

As for the "unpersuasive jumble of words," what exactly are you offering in the way of evidence?

rayban1 wrote:
Here you truthfully admit that anything favorably accomplished under Clinton's "liberal internationalism" could be considered dubious at best.

I urge you to re-read my previous comments so that you'll have another opportunity to misconstrue them in an equally absurd fashion.

rayban1 wrote:
I fail to see why he should go all the way back to FDR or Eisenhower in order to criticize Clinton's failures when he had already narrowed the parameters of his article to the past 15 years. You are correct about one thing though, Krauthammer despises anything touched by Clinton

There's no reason to limit the parameters to the last 15 years; that's Krauthammer's problem. If something happened in the last 15 years that has changed the international system, then Krauthammer needs to explain it. Otherwise, other historical examples that precede that era are fair game.

rayban1 wrote:
The only reason I mentioned "isolationism" earlier was because you gave me impression that you still considered it a valid form of Foreign policy.

Another comical misconstrual.

rayban1 wrote:
I think the author explains why realism is a failure with this quote from his article:

Krauthammer wrote:

Krauthammer seems to assume that the end of the Cold War "changed the rules." That, however, is an assumption that lacks justification. Any realist or neorealist would assert that the fall of the Soviet Union merely changed the players, not the playing field. If Krauthammer understood more about international relations theory, perhaps he wouldn't have made such an obvious mistake.

rayban1 wrote:
This is a valid question but only because the administration, as far as I know, DID NOT proclaim it's foreign policy as "neo-conservatism". As I remember it was the opposition that actually defined neo-conservatism mainly from the intent to use peremptive strikes as an act of foreign policy. Remember the title of the article is neoconservative convergence which in itself admits that neoconservatism is still evolving.

Nixon didn't proclaim himself a "realist" either. It makes no difference to Krauthammer's argument that Bush is not a self-described "neo-conservative."

rayban1 wrote:
The only departure from this weak form of foreign policy was the unilateral action in Kosovo. This was totally out of character for Clinton but it was IMO, a success.

Kosovo was not unilateral. You make the same mistake as Krauthammer: equating UN support for internationalism. That's unwarranted and, frankly, rather disingenuous.

rayban1 wrote:
I can fully understand your desire to bash another conservative intellectual but in this case I think you failed. I think you failed because it was such a quick effort, poorly thought out and poorly organized and certainly not up to your ususal high standard

But at least my spelling is consistently good, right?

rayban1 wrote:
All in all I thought Krauthammer did a sterling job of analysing and supporting the Bush neoconservative doctrine.......but since it is impossible to be all things to all people I'm certain liberals here will find much to fault.

I don't find fault with it because it supports Bush's foreign policy; I expected that. I fault it because Krauthammer is writing on international relations theory when he clearly doesn't understand it.

rayban1 wrote:
I'm also certain I will find out if my comments are uncooked, 1/4 baked, or half baked :wink:

Slightly warmed-over, nothing more.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 10:03 am
Re: The Neoconservative Convergence
Just a quickie:

rayban1 wrote:
You add as evidence, an article that no one can read unless you are a subscriber and then pile on some historical rhetoric about McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt which may or may not be true. All in all a very unpersuasive jumble of words.

Just b/c you don't know enough about McKinley and Teddy's foreign policy to judge the merits of Joe's argument (and aren't subscribed to the AM) doesn't make Joe's argument unpersuasive.

"You posit something and by ways of evidence bring up something I don't know about - that's hardly persuasive!" <- non-sequitur.
0 Replies
 
rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 10:46 am
Re: The Neoconservative Convergence
nimh wrote:
Just a quickie:

rayban1 wrote:
You add as evidence, an article that no one can read unless you are a subscriber and then pile on some historical rhetoric about McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt which may or may not be true. All in all a very unpersuasive jumble of words.

Just b/c you don't know enough about McKinley and Teddy's foreign policy to judge the merits of Joe's argument (and aren't subscribed to the AM) doesn't make Joe's argument unpersuasive.

"You posit something and by ways of evidence bring up something I don't know about - that's hardly persuasive!" <- non-sequitur.


Your criticism is justified but let's take another look at the Paragraph that I was critiquing:


Joe wrote:
1. Krauthammer falls into a rather simplistic error in equating "liberal internationalism" with "liberalism," just because both share an identical term. A recent Atlantic article by David Kennedy correctly, I think, pointed out that neo-conservatism owes a great deal to Wilsonian internationalism. Indeed, neo-conservatism, as a dog's breakfast of idealistic internationalism and cynical Realpolitik, resembles the foreign policy of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt more than anything else.


Let's skip past the first part and land on this:

Joe wrote:
Indeed, neo-conservatism, as a dog's breakfast of idealistic internationalism and cynical Realpolitik, resembles the foreign policy of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt more than anything else.


Joe is ranting with a personal opinion when he calls neo conservatism a "dogs breakfast" of idealistic internationalism and cynical Realpolitic. Joe should know that no one here responds favorably to an unsupported rant and equating it to the "gunboat diplomacy" advocated by Mckinley and TR merely makes Krauthammers support for his arguments appear even more persuasive by comparison. Joe makes several proclamations that Krauthammer would need to do this or that but Joe falls victim to his own criticism in his first paragraph by not supporting his rant with anything substantive.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 11:24 am
In fact, McKinley never advocated a "gunboat" diplomacy. He was opposed to war with Spain, and resisted it for as long as possible. When his personal physician, Dr. Leonard Wood, would visit him at the White House, McKinely habitually asked him: "Well, Leonard, have you and Theodore declared war on Spain yet?" Wood's usually reply was to the effect: "No, Mr. President, but we're hoping you will soon." Sending the battleship Maine to Havana was as far as the "forward policy" Republicans and Democrats could get McKinely to go. In particular, Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge were proponents of the "forward policy" ("gunboat diplomacy" is a completely inappropriate term to use with reference to McKinely--it first appears as a description of the kind of bullying Palmerston did with the Royal Navy while he held the foreign portfolio in the 1830's and -40's.). When the forward magazine of Maine blew up (very likely due to the poor quality of the electrical wiring which had been retro-fitted on the vessel), it was the American "yellow" press, with Joseph Pulitzer in the lead, who finally pushed McKinley into war.

If you're going to make such statements, i advise you to follow your own advice: ". . . no one here responds favorably to an unsupported rant . . . "
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 11:36 am
Allow me to put my money where my mouth is:

T.R.: The Last Romantic, Brands, H. W., Basic Books, New York, 1997.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Morris, Edmund, Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, New York, 1979.

Theodore Rex, Morris, Edmund, Random House, New York, 2001.

I highly recommend the second book, which won a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize. I have a life of Palmerston around here somewhere, but couldn't find it right away--i don't know that this thread warrants digging it out.
0 Replies
 
rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 11:43 am
Setanta wrote:
("gunboat diplomacy" is a completely inappropriate term to use with reference to McKinely--it first appears as a description of the kind of bullying Palmerston did with the Royal Navy while he held the foreign portfolio in the 1830's and -40's.). When the forward magazine of Maine blew up (very likely due to the poor quality of the electrical wiring which had been retro-fitted on the vessel), it was the American "yellow" press, with Joseph Pulitzer in the lead, who finally pushed McKinley into war.


Perhaps you should address this complaint to Joe because he is the one who equated both McKinley's and TR's foreign policy to neo-conservatism. If he knew what you say you know, why would he use it?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 11:48 am
The very careful writer Joe wrote:
Indeed, neo-conservatism, as a dog's breakfast of idealistic internationalism and cynical Realpolitik, resembles the foreign policy of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt more than anything else.



However, this was warped when . . .

Rayban1 wrote:
Joe should know that no one here responds favorably to an unsupported rant and equating it to the "gunboat diplomacy" advocated by Mckinley and TR merely makes Krauthammers support for his arguments appear even more persuasive by comparison.


Joe did not describe the foreign policy of McKinely as "gunboat diplomacy." In his remarks, the term "idealistic internationalism" would apply best to Mr. McKinely, and "cynical realpolitik" to Mr. Roosevelt.

EDIT: My previous post was not a complaint. It was an observation of the inaccuracy of your statement, and the hypocricy involved in making a remark about an "unsupported rant" when that is precisely what you had done.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 06:34 pm
Re: The Neoconservative Convergence
rayban1 wrote:
Joe is ranting with a personal opinion when he calls neo conservatism a "dogs breakfast" of idealistic internationalism and cynical Realpolitic.

I wouldn't call it "ranting," but of course I'm offering my personal opinion. Whose opinion did you think I would be offering? If you think I'm wrong, then offer your own opinion.

rayban1 wrote:
Joe should know that no one here responds favorably to an unsupported rant and equating it to the "gunboat diplomacy" advocated by Mckinley and TR merely makes Krauthammers support for his arguments appear even more persuasive by comparison.

Setanta is correct: I never called it "gunboat diplomacy," for a very simple reason: it wasn't.

McKinley may have been a reluctant imperialist, but the Spanish-American War made him an imperialist nonetheless. He refused to annex Cuba, but he overcame whatever qualms he may have had to annexing Puerto Rico and the Philippines. On the other hand, McKinley consistently resisted all calls to establish an American outpost in China, at a time when Britain, Germany, and Russia were doing just that, and fought against the great powers to maintain the "open door" policy toward China.

As for TR, he more consistently practiced a version of realism but still maintained a form of internationalism that did not fit well with true Realpolitik (his successful effort to negotiate a peace treaty between the Russians and Japanese can be viewed as a combination of both). In short, the foreign policies of McKinley and Roosevelt were a strange and not altogether congruent mixture of realism and idealism -- just like neo-conservatism today.

rayban1 wrote:
Joe makes several proclamations that Krauthammer would need to do this or that but Joe falls victim to his own criticism in his first paragraph by not supporting his rant with anything substantive.

The only one participating in this thread who has even come close to "ranting" is you, Rayban. Take a bow.
0 Replies
 
rayban1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 07:26 pm
Joe wrote:
The only one participating in this thread who has even come close to "ranting" is you, Rayban. Take a bow.


That's OK Joe.........I think you meant it in good fun......anyway that's the way I will take it. I hope we can "discuss" events of interest again soon. Unlike many on this forum, you always maintain a strict sense of civility and I thank you for the entertainment.
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