Robert Kagan is a neoconservative. He signed all the Project for a New Century letters telling George W. Bush that Israel’s war was America’s war and we should invade Iraq and replace Saddam and bring democracy to the Middle East. I can’t find those letters on-line any more. It appears that the PNAC site has been suspended. Some regretful neocon has evidently been scrubbing those letters from history. (Ala Lady Macbeth, “Out damn spot.”)
And Kagan is pivoting. He has a good piece up at the Washington Post saying that the U.S. should not be supporting the military government in Egypt.
Those in the Obama administration and Congress who favor continued U.S. military aid to the dictatorship in Cairo insist that although such aid may run counter to American ideals, it does serve American interests. I would argue the contrary, that American interests are being harmed every day that support continues.
Far from aiding the United States in the struggle against terrorism, as the Egyptian military dictatorship and its supporters claim, the military’s brutal crackdown on Egypt’s Islamists is creating a new generation of terrorists.
Kagan even distances the U.S. from Israel, saying that Israel has supported authoritarian regimes across the Arab world, and that’s its problem.
Kagan is getting off the neoconservative bus because it’s doing a bus plunge off a mountain road. Iraq is catching up with the war planners at last. People in D.C. don’t want to hear from neoconservatives.
Who will be the last neocon? Maybe David Brooks of the New York Times. He still believes. On Friday he was on NPR saying that the US needs to continue to run the world, and keep up the global stream of goods and services, or everyone’s prosperity will suffer:
We’ve got a death by a thousand cuts problem, where no individual problem around the world, whether it’s Ukraine or Iran or even the Chinese throwing their weight around in the oceans over there is worth a massive overall response. Nonetheless, you take all these things together and they really degrade the world order, the order that we’ve counted on for the free movement of peoples and goods. And you just sense this degradation of this whole system that we really do rely upon. And I’m not quite sure how we build that system back up. But there’s no question the world order is fraying, and along with it the prosperity and the security of lots of small nations as they get threatened by larger regional nations.
The problem with his theory is that “a massive overall response” means a meaningful threat of military action. And very few American politicians now want to invade another country halfway around the world– certainly not Syria or the Ukraine.
As Brooks concedes, even the Republican Party are abandoning his philosophy of the threat of force. Explaining why the Republicans are all still harping about Benghazi, he said:
And my analysis would be they want to attack the Obama foreign policy but they don’t themselves believe in any affirmative foreign policy, and any use of American power abroad. And so, this is a sort of a way to do that and please Rand Paul followers.
Those Rand Paul followers are broadly representative of an opposition to the use of force. Neocons believe in the use of force. Or they used to. Happily they’re getting lonelier by the minute.