Monday, January 15, 2007

A "tidal wave" of liberty?

Recovering neocon Francis Fukuyama, who teaches international political economy at Johns Hopkins, was interviewed by Le Monde of Paris for its Saturday edition. Here are a few excerpts concerning Iraq and the coming escalation (with my translation from the French):

Q. Can you explain how the president and his advisors seem unable to understand the true nature of the situation?

A. Despite the last election in the U.S., and the criticisms addressed to the administration, there is an incapacity to recognize reality as it is. One of the most significant moments was at the reception given to Donald Rumsfeld when he left the Pentagon. George Bush declared that the invasion of Iraq represented a "tidal wave in the history of human liberty." One has the impression that they live in another world.

Q. How can the Democratic majority in Congress influence foreign policy?

A. In our constitutional system, foreign policy is controlled by the president. The Democrats can only take action on the military budget, but they won't because they don't want to be attacked for not supporting our troops.

After September 11th, I took part in many strategic discussion with the Democrats who are looking to formulate another foreign policy. And each time they ran into this obstacle: it was politically impossible to define the magnitude of the dangers because there's no such thing as zero risk...

Q. What has been called the "unilateral moment" for the U.S. was of short duration.

That was inevitable. The fact that one country, the U.S. as it happened, could act on others without their having any influence on that country provoked resentment. But once again the Bush administration accelerated the process.

Q. Will it be difficult to repair the damage?

I think that it's the business of a generation, at least. I don't understand why they still haven't closed the prison at Guantanamo Bay. That will be the point of departure for the process of repair.

PHOTO: Francis Fukuyama (Exmundo)

1 comment:

ellis said...

I seem to recall a time when I thought of Fukuyama as one of the crazier of conservative public figures. Defending free-market absolutism with Hegel struck me as the height of lunacy. Apparently my standards for lunacy have been forced up a bit in the past few years...