Numerous pundits have declared neoconservatism dead. But is liberalism also a casualty of the Iraq war?
Tony Judt think so. In the September 21 edition of the London Review of Books, Judt, who never minces words, issues a blistering polemic, not against neoconservatives, but liberals, who he sees as timorous, feckless, and, at the same time, reckless.
Judt sees the real threat to democracy as coming from the failure of the so-called liberal hawks to distinguish themselves from neocons: “In today’s America, neo-conservatives generate brutish policies for which liberals provide the ethical fig-leaf. There really is no other difference between them.”
He indicts, among others, Paul Berman, Christopher Hitchens, Peter Beinart, Michael Walzer, and Thomas Friedman. He complains that, in the case of Berman and Beinart, “neither author had previosuly shown any familiarity with the Middle East, much less with the Wahhabi and Sufi traditions on which they pronounce with such confidence.”
At bottom, Judt believes the U.S. is going the way of Israel: “for the U.S. to imitate Israel wholesale, to import that tiny country’s self-destructive, intemperate response to any hostility or opposition and to make it the leitmotif of American foreign policy: that is simply bizarre.”
The last piece that the LRB published on this topic was John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s denunication of Israeli-American ties. Watch for this essay to generate a fresh controversy.
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