Regarding yesterday’s prediction of a likely shift in liberventionist rhetoric, reader Daniel Larison sends the following thoughts:
- You might also consider that, conversely, the mayhem in Iraq is doing more to convince people in the Near East that “freedom” and “democracy,” however inaccurately these terms may describe the situation in Iraq, are being indelibly linked with murder, chaos and upheaval. Like the Jacobins of old, the fruits of the neo-Jacobins may do more to prop up the sorts of governments they are seeking to destroy than those governments could have ever done to maintain their own control–they have suddenly invested every Arab dictator’s rhetoric about order and stability with a new credibility that mocks the so-called logic of their puerile “swamp” metaphors.
- The chaos of Iraq has forged a link between the interventionist policy and the creation of terrorism that is far more real than the facile idea that all dictatorships breed terrorism (when, in fact, as we know, it seems that mainly only American-allied dictatorships breed terrorism on a very large scale). I was amused to see that Dan Himmelfarb apparently identifies neoconservatism with the cause of “individual liberty,” among other things, but even if we granted this ludicrous proposition then the neocons would be among the leaders of erstwhile friends of liberty doing more to ruin the chances for liberty, if there are any, in these regions about which they express such saccharine, hypocritical concern.
Incidentally, the only instance in history where one popular revolution spurred a host of other successful revolutions in the same region was Latin America between 1821-30 or so, and it doesn’t take a genius to see that this example is hardly inspiring for advocates of such a questionable “domino theory,” since almost every revolution in that instance went directly or quickly into military dictatorship, and I believe every Latin American state has passed through at least some extended phase of the same.
Of course, the beauty of democracy is that by the time this disaster reaches full bloom, George W. Bush will be playing golf while Laura tends the presidential library.