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How Zalmay Khalilzad Left Off Radicalism

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Zalmay Khalilzad is now a lock for the U.N. Ambassadorship. Smooth as a crocodile. Even looks like one.

Here is a wonderful portrait of Khalilzad as a grad student in the late 70s, from Anne Norton’s book, Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire (Yale, 2004):

He is a protege of Wolfowitz, who worked with him on the war with Iraq and the occupation… When I knew him, he was an Afghani graduate student and a radical. He boasted of the demonstrations he had organized in Beirut, of the fedayin he knew and had worked with, and of his friends who regularly visited Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi. He went to pro-Palestinian meetings. His room had a poster of Nasser in tears. He and I had taken [proto-neocon Albert] Wohlstetter’s course on nuclear war together. He didn’t seem, at the time, particularly interested in the course. He was, however, enthralled by Wohlstetter’s party [for grad students]. In the elevator, in the apartment, he kept saying how much it all cost, how expensive it was, how much money Wohlstetter must have. Later, he borrowed my copy of Kojeve’s Lectures on Hegel. When he returned it, one sentence was underlined. ‘The bourgeois intellectual neither fights nor works.’ The next summer, Wohlstetter got Khalilzad a job at Rand. I don’t know what happened to the poster of Nasser.

Philip Weiss

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