Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Be Very Afraid

Rob Farley takes a first look at Norman Podhoretz's...err, Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy manifesto in Foreign Affairs.
[The] piece offers a pretty faithful recitation of what I'll call the Neoconservative Romance. According to this narrative, the United States began the Cold War with a vigorous challenge to the Soviet Union that was made all the more pure by virtue of American beliefs in the evangelical power of "liberty." (The key elements to the romance would include, for example, the Truman Doctrine or the Berlin Airlift.) Over time, however, true believers watched as the nation's leaders fell into apostasy, drawing the nation farther from its Original Purpose; rather than challenging the Soviets directly, the US reigned itself to an unacceptable status quo that stifled the aspirations of half the planet. At the darkest hour, Ronald Reagan ascended to the presidency and retrieved history from the drainpipe.

It goes without saying that, in the neocon fairy tale of Good King Ronnie, the rescue of History Itself was not the culmination of decades of diplomacy, engagement, containment, negotiation, and occasional confrontation. (And don't even think of suggesting that it had anything to do with the inherent weaknesses of the Soviet system. What are you, some kind of historian?) Reagan's single-handed victory over the Evil Empire represented the repudiation of anything other than confrontation, and thus justifies the confrontation of all subsequent Evil Empires.

It's obvious why Rudy is embracing the very kinds of policies which have proven so disastrous in the last years: "Toughness" is all he has to run on, especially in the primary. It speaks volumes about the Big Strong Daddy issues of the evangelical Republican base that a thrice-married, occasionally cross-dressing, pro-choice New Yorker even has a chance, let alone is one of the top contenders.


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