End of (so-named) Enlightened Interventionism?
So argues Niall Stanage in the New York Observer. Here. Warning: this is an angry post.
Joe Biden called last Wednesday at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting for 2,500 troops to Darfur. An intervention. Biden again, in my mind, shows himself to be the most on-target foreign policy advocate in the US. i.e. At the same time he is calling for Darfur intervention, he is calling for soft-partitioning in Iraq. Not complete withdrawal or just "cutting and running" as it were. Nor the failed current policy of a changed tactic with no end in sight, no strategy, no political solution, that is just being put on to '08 to cover the legacy.
But sending troops to Darfur is never going to happen. We know that; Stanage knows it. Where neoconservatism failed above all was in its notion of the populace as sheep that had to be controlled through the use of a noble lie. The lie in question was dual: 1. the American military was so supreme it could solve all problems alone 2. democracy was the inherent desire of all beings and would instantly bring peace and prosperity to the oppressed masses.
Because of that lie, interventionism has become synonymous with neoconservatism and hence Iraq. Hence failure. The swing towards isolationism, neo-realism is growing stronger by the day.
Bush lied to the American people when he told them they did not have to sacrifice for this--beyond verbal "supporting the troops". It has cost those who believe, however dark and painful this will be, that some forms of intervention are necessary in this world (I include myself in that category). See how Tony Blair, the most articulate spokesman for this thinking was pulled into the Iraq debacle and he himself and his philosophy obliterated in the rubble of Baghdad. Today 127-170 people killed in car and suicide bombings in Baghdad. In surge Baghdad.
Bush's democratic fundamentalism (for that is the only appropriate term for it) was the second great lie, for it did not tell the populace that not only was sacrifice/effort required of all (though not military training for all of course) but that this would be a Long Conflict. And that the way of these post-Cold War interventions is not "victory" or "defeat" but shades of both. Clinton, for all the wrap he takes--some deserved, some not in my estimation--on al-Qaeda is still the only president to correctly handle a post-Cold War intervention. Namely the Balkans. That is the only success story.
The list of failures: Haiti, Rwanda, Somalia, Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan.
The War Czar enters this frame. As with just about everything foreign policy, the Bushies have the right (general) idea and the absolute wrong execution, understanding of what their idea means. The War Czar--which it should not be named that--should be the Head of the Dept. of Reconstruction. What Bush wants him for is a public face to make an unsalable war salable to a populace that is not buying. And certainly not from Bush.