David Olive, writing in the Toronto Star, drives many nails into a coffin being prepared for the grand design which caused the worst US foreign policy nightmare since the Vietnam era. It's name is neo-conservatism. Its proponents are legion and this writer picks them off like shooting fish in a barrel. ...the neo-conservative vision that has guided American foreign policy since 2001 has run its course. The neo-cons' grand design lies in ruins, having accomplished nothing other than to shrink America's stature in the world. .
The great unwinding of the American "benign global hegemony" first heralded by neo-cons William Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1996 will commence after the election, when America's political leadership will abandon Iraq and the neo-cons.
The neo-cons' starting point, of course, was the Americanization of Iraq — the "easy win" that would trigger rogue states from the Middle East to the Korean peninsula to fall in line with American values of capitalism, democracy and pro-Israel policies.
But the Iraq conflict has proved unwinnable. And as handmaidens to a $300-billion (U.S.) catastrophe in Iraq that has cost the lives of at least 400,000 Iraqis and almost 3,000 American soldiers, and which ranks as the worst American foreign-policy disaster since Vietnam, the neo-cons have irretrievably lost their credibility.
By Christmas or soon thereafter, a White House that has run out of options on Iraq will begin to cut and run, pronouncing favourably on an exit plan that is now in the final stages of completion by a team led by James Baker, former U.S. secretary of state and a close friend of the Bush family, and Lee Hamilton, a respected former congressman and Democrat who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission.
Let it not be said the neo-cons are without a legacy, despite the brief zenith of their influence. Long after the days of "The smoking gun might come in the form of a mushroom cloud," "Shock and awe," "Mission accomplished" and "Bring 'em on" are mercifully past, historians will chronicle an early 21st-century America so distracted from its real enemy that Osama bin Laden and even the perpetrators of the 2001 anthrax attacks against Congressional leaders are still at large.
An America, too, whose diplomatic influence has cratered, due not only to the unilateral belligerence with which America went to war in Iraq, but also the incompetence subsequently exposed in almost every particular of its Iraq occupation: intelligence breakdowns; acrimonious relations between the civilian and military U.S. occupation leadership; rampant theft by contractors; and the failure to provide Iraqis with security, power, fresh water and other essentials even now, 43 months after the invasion. The resulting diplomatic void has been filled by China and Russia, now resisting U.S. calls for their imposition of sanctions against North Korea and Iran, respectively.
There also is the blighting of America's self-image as a champion of human rights, with U.S.-sanctioned torture of terrorist suspects Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Canadian citizen Maher Arar, and countless other detainees at Guantanamo Bay, at the network of covert CIA detention centres across Europe and the Middle East, and at Saddam Hussein's notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, reopened by U.S. forces to warehouse thousands of Iraqi citizens rousted from their homes in random sweeps. Bush's repeated lie that "America does not do torture" merely compounds the current distrust of the United States.
And there is the discredited state of American conservatism, which has allowed neo-cons to trade away its electoral trump cards of perceived superiority over Democrats in foreign policy, national security and balancing the books. Infighting between the secular neo-cons and the GOP base of fiscal hawks and evangelical Christians will intensify after the expected Republican losses on Tuesday. And that will likely thwart Bush counsellor Karl Rove's ambition to make the GOP the permanent U.S. governing party.
Finally, there are the consequences of America's certain failure in Iraq.
Apart from the crisis of the boat-people evacuees, the fall of Saigon was not cataclysmic. Having achieved its goal of being left alone, Vietnam now peddles its wares at Wal-Mart and extends a warm greeting to American corporate investors.
...the neo-conservative vision that has guided American foreign policy since 2001 has run its course. The neo-cons' grand design lies in ruins, having accomplished nothing other than to shrink America's stature in the world.
I got tired of reading.
I hope he's correct, but I don't count chickens til they're in the pan. (Sorry. Bad food service joke.)