Monday, February 27, 2006

Fukuyama Denounces War In Iraq

First it was the elder statesman of the Neo-Cons, William F. Buckley saying that the War in Iraq was a mistake. Now the theoritician and neo-Hegalian of the right Francis Fukayama denounces the war. There just is no break like a levee break, when things go wrong the American right knows that even if it retreats it will be drowned in the rush to the lifeboats. The rush has begun. Suddenly the neo-cons are becoming liberals. Never Libertarians of course, which is why Murray Rothbard opposed them in the Sixties and called for a Libertarian Left, a merger between the free marketers like himself, Karl Hess, Samuel Edward Konkin III and the New Left.

As Fukuyama admits the source of much of his and the new neo-cons ideology came out of Trotskyism.

"The roots of neoconservatism lie in a remarkable group of largely Jewish intellectuals who attended City College of New York (C.C.N.Y.) in the mid- to late 1930's and early 1940's, a group that included Irving Kristol, Daniel Bell, Irving Howe, Nathan Glazer and, a bit later, Daniel Patrick Moynihan." It is not an accident that many in the C.C.N.Y. group started out as Trotskyites. Leon Trotsky was, of course, himself a Communist, but his supporters came to understand better than most people the utter cynicism and brutality of the Stalinist regime. The anti-Communist left, in contrast to the traditional American right, sympathized with the social and economic aims of Communism, but in the course of the 1930's and 1940's came to realize that "real existing socialism" had become a monstrosity of unintended consequences that completely undermined the idealistic goals it espoused. While not all of the C.C.N.Y. thinkers became neoconservatives, the danger of good intentions carried to extremes was a theme that would underlie the life work of many members of this group." Fukuyama

Yes Trotskyism, in particular the split in the American section of the Fourth International over whether the Soviet Union was socialist or state capitalist. Those who saw in Stalinism not socialism, but beaurcratic collectivism, eventually betrayed their Marxist origins and became State Department Liberals like Max Schactman and James Burnham. They supported that other war the Americans lost, Vietnam.

Burnham became the founder of the neo conservative movement in the 1950's with the creation of the National Review which he edited and which Buckley and Co. now run.

James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution - Essay by George Orwell

Review of James Burnham - Right Now! - Stalking the Wild Taboo

Kelly writes, “It is tempting to write off Burnham’s Trotskyist phase as wasted time, a six-year detour into the sterile world of left-wing sects. But this judgment would be wrong” because “the involvement prepared him for what would be his real career” (pp. 87–88). In 1940, Burnham’s first major work appeared and sold well. Called The Managerial Revolution, it showed the influence of Machajski, Rizzi, Berle, Means, Veblen, Thurman Arnold, and Lawrence Dennis, as well as of Trotskyism (pp. 95–96). Burnham argued that bureaucratic management was the wave of the future, even if it took such forms as fascism, communism, and the New Deal, depending on circumstances. Only a cold, empirical, social-scientific approach could tell us where we were headed.James Burnham and the Struggle for the World: A Life:

Burnham Marxist Writings

What Burnham brought to the new conservative movement was his Marxism, the classic Marxist distaste for all that is liberal. Selections from James Burnham at

And like him Fukuyama today declares that his Hegelianism is Marxism. The Marxism of the Burnham school, that is a hatred for all that is liberal, not left, but that unique phenomena of American politics the neither right nor left statist.
In this the Bush regime is the latest phenomena of that statism

And like Schactman and Burnham the liberals in the neo-con movement have lost their stomach for this war. The end is near for the Amercian Occupation in Iraq. The Americans as Bush and Co. planned over two years ago will begin withdrawl by the end of the year. Whether the Iraqis want them to or not. Iraq like Vietnam will be a loss disguised as a Victory, a retreat in haste back to the Empires home.

The Tactical Retreat of an Apostate

Yet Mr. Fukuyama now believes that the Iraq war was a mistake, and that his neoconservative comrades have permanently discredited that label. "Unlike many other neoconservatives," he declares at the outset of his new book, "I was never persuaded of the rationale for the Iraq war." And now that events have borne out his fears,Mr. Fukuyama has "concluded that neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support." The titular crossroads at which America stands, he goes on to argue, is the choice between continuing the failures of actually existing neoconservatism - its overestimation of America's power and credibility, its naivete about the difficulties of spreading democracy - and Mr. Fukuyama's more hardheaded alternative, which he names "realistic Wilsonianism."

Francis Fukuyama, Liberal

On the Francis Fukuyama New York Times Magazine piece about the crack-up of neoconservatism: if you haven't read it, do. It's significant equally as an analysis of the structural flaws in modern neoconservatism (which must be distinguished, as Fukuyama argues, from original neoconservatism) and as a political event in its own right -- a more-than-public (indeed, it reads more as a cry for help) manifestation of Fukuyama's own pronouncement that the "neoconservative moment seems to have passed."

I talked with Fukuyama at a wedding a year and a half ago, and was struck then by his anguish at the Administration's failure adequately to understand and plan for the insurgency. What I want to talk about here is whether Fukuyama has erred in devising an overly complex conceptual apparatus (as political theorists sometimes do) that diagnoses as an ideological mistake what is actually an intellectual problem. Fukuyama makes these mistakes because, in trying to move away from neoconservatism, he cannot release himself from its most basic premise -- that history stems from ideas, and that the perfect idea will solve all problems.

All of this is ironic because Fukuyama seems to have embraced the basic liberal notion of America's careful, thoughtful governance of a liberalizing world community. If he could release from the neocon framework, he just might emerge (probably to his own dismay) as a progressive.

Jane Smiley: Marxism Through the Looking Glass

These days, the news is full of conservative recanters-William Buckley, Fukuyama, Bruce Bartlett. They are alleging feelings of surprise and disquiet at the failure of the war machine to subdue Iraq. But in fact, of course, as progressives have known all along, the debacle of the Bush administration, from beginning (stealing the 2000 election) to end (importing a company from Dubai to run the ports), with all the stations along the way (tax breaks for the rich, crony corruption, stupid and criminal war in Iraq, badly conceived education policies, bungled medicare drug bill, deaf, dumb, and blind policies on global warming and other environmental issues, voting machine fraud, media payola, gutting of the federal agencies) is the natural outcome of corporate conservative capitalism, and especially the ideas of

Ronald Reagan and his own cronies. What we have now is what you get when businessmen run the government like a corporation-short term thinking, public relations as policy, repeated attempts to do things on the cheap, careless attitudes toward things like torture and spying, contempt for everyone outside the inner circle, aggressiveness and secretiveness, lack of accountability, and just plain selfish arrogant ignorance. Who knows whether their intentions are good or not? It could be that, after a generation of free-market orthodoxy, they just don't know any better.

Conservatives who are waking up these days need to say a few mea culpas and try to remember something that is second nature to most people: government is different from making and selling stuff. A citizen is different from a consumer. Not every human need and every human desire has to do with getting and spending. Government ought to act as a break on capitalism, and capitalism ought to, sometimes (as in China), act as a break on government, and everyone is better off when government, religion, money, and personal growth and happiness are in separate spheres.

Neo-cons lose the ascendancy as toughest battles loom at home

THEY were the Vulcans, the intellectual zealots of the Bush administration. More pointy-heads than pointy-eared, they took their collective nickname from the statue of Vulcan that overlooks Birmingham, Alabama, the steel-making town where Condoleezza Rice was born. Others affixed a less affectionate label: neo-cons.

Most were not so new, their outlook shaped by the Cold War and the sudden collapse of Soviet power. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had been around for decades, working for presidents Nixon and Ford, while Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle had shuttled between campuses, government and Capitol Hill. What was new was their conviction that America should maintain an unchallengeable military strength, preempting new threats and working openly to spread its own brand of free-market democracy. This view was put into practice in the war on Iraq, a high-water mark of neo-con influence.

Three years on, Iraq is mired in blood and the neo-cons are in disarray. Wolfowitz moved from the Pentagon to run the World Bank, where he has already been criticised for giving jobs to Republicans. John Bolton, after a prolonged Senate tussle, left the State Department to be ambassador at the United Nations. 'Scooter' Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, is facing criminal charges of lying about the leak of a CIA agent's name. Even the vice-president got into trouble with his recent quail-shooting trip. Only Rice has come through unscathed, sloughing off the scandals of Abu Ghraib, CIA 'rendition' and Guantanamo Bay.

This is more than the second-term blues of a shop-soiled presidency, says Francis Fukuyama, the American professor who famously called time on history. "The neoconservative moment appears to have passed," he announced last week, arguing that "social engineering" in foreign policy - including the promotion of democracy - has made Iraq a magnet for terrorists. Neo-con faith in American power, according to Fukuyama, has alienated the rest of the world and created the risk of an isolationist backlash at home.

For many, this will read like a late admission of the blindingly obvious. But Fukuyama's forthcoming book, After the Neo-cons, matters for two reasons. First, this man has a nose for the zeitgeist. Having declared the triumph of liberal democracy at the fall of the Berlin Wall, he moved on to write books about genetic engineering, social trust and nation building. If Fukuyama thinks the Vulcans are finished, his view is worth more than the wishful thinking of a thousand bloggers.

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