Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Critique of Two "Neo-Conservative" Presidents: Obama and Bush

Chorus onstage sings, “Springtime for Hitler…."
Woman in audience: "This is shocking!"
Man in audience: "Outrageous!"
Bialystock at back of theatre smiling: "Ahhhhh, it's going better than I expected!"
--"The Producers"

By Barry Rubin
A reader has accused me, in pretty nasty terms, of having been a big advocate for the Iraq war and thus presumably some satanic force in misleading the United States (Footnote). That is not true. In fact I was not a supporter of starting the war at all, as friends know from hearing me argue against it. [There are two possibilities here: either the person is deliberately lying or is confusing me with Michael Rubin, no relation. If the latter is so, the reader is welcome to apologize and withdraw his remarks.]

Meanwhile, a hitherto unknown Huffington Post writer with no known expertise on the Middle East, has accused me of being not only an alarmist about revolutionary Islamism but also as a "neo-con," which has become shorthand for "Jew." These people are so intellectually bankrupt that they don't even realize that they are arguing the precise opposite of their own claims. After all, if I were a "neo-con" I would have been very enthusiastic about the revolution, right?

As I have repeatedly pointed out--and shown in more than 20 books--my approach is to international affairs is that of a foreign policy Realist who focuses on national (or regime) interests as motivating Middle East governments and as the force that should be shaping U.S. policy. In 1979, I pointed out how President Jimmy Carter's democracy agenda helped bring down the shah's regime in Iran and also misread the incoming regime as "moderate," being among the first to warn where Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was going and what the consequences would be.

That didn't turn out to be alarmist, but it certainly made me cynical--though sorrowfully so--about those who think they are going to bring quick democracy to the Middle East.

Since then I have accurately predicted: Hizballah's takeover of Lebanon, Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections, the Turkish regime's increasingly radical course of the , the Muslim Brotherhood's rise  to be the leading force in Tunisia and Egypt (and, indeed, the 2011 Egyptian revolution itself three months before it happened), thePalestinian Authority's  rejectionism and total failure of the "peace process" to make any progress since 2000, and some other stuff.

So in this era of the greatest "neo-conservative" of all, President Barack Obama--who doesn't care what replaces existing governments as long as there's a vote on it-- I thought it might be interesting to review my writings on the subject.

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