JANUARY 30, 2011 7:45PM

Response to Elliot Abrams’ “Bush was right” in WaPo

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Elliot Abrams, in an extraordinarily self-serving attempt to rehabilitate the neoconservative notion of  “planting democracies around the globe,” and thereby his own and other neconservatives’ political credibility, states in a Washington Post Op-Ed that the events unfolding in Egypt are proof that “Bush was right” about bringing democracy to the Middle East.  My response, originally posted in two comments attached the article on the Post's site, is as follows:

First, Mr. Abrams, let us wait and see what the long-term, ultimate outcome in Egypt is before engaging in self-serving attempts to rewrite the dismal history of the neo-conservatives’ stated belief in “planting democracies around the globe,” a stated ideology which is, in itself, a fraud perpetrated to serve the profit motives of the defense contracting industry whose profits depend upon a constant state of war. Let's see where Egypt is in five or ten years, and then, perhaps, we can begin to draw conclusions. In the meantime, spare us the reputation rehab.

Am I suggesting that the Egyptian people are wrong in rising against their dictator? Certainly not. But let us not delude ourselves as to the likelihood of long-term success.

It is quite possible that events will pattern themselves after those in Iran following the fall of the Shah: i.e., that what begins as an authentic revolution of the people is soon hijacked by an extreme faction (or possibly even elected, as was the case in Iran) which will impose a different, yet every bit as authoritarian and oppressive, as the regime it replaces.

The notion that democracy will take root over the long-term in a culture that is not grounded in the philosophical / intellectual tradition that has underpinned all successful democratic revolutions in modern times (i.e., 18th C. rationalism and humanism, a/k/a the Enlightenment), is a dubious one that has yet to be demonstrated in world events.

To judge whether the neo-conservatives were right during W’s administration, we need look no further than our terrible twins of U.S. interventionism: Iraq and Afghanistan. How has that worked out for us so far, Mr. Abrams?

 I would add that if George W. Bush had really been serious about spreading “freedom” in the middle east, he would have started with one of its most brutally repressive regimes: Saudi Arabia (from which, I might President George W. Bush with a playmate add, hailed 19 of the 21 hijackers from 9/11). But the neo-cons have nary a harsh word for the Saudi royal family, thereby exposing the fraud that is at the heart of neo-conservatives’ professed concern for the freedom of peoples in the Middle East.

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yes, this does not lend itself to simple, fundamentalist theories
Thanks for the comment, Kathy. I hadn't thought about it in terms of "fundamentalism," but then, as I think about it, neoconservatism certainly seems to a fundamentalism of sorts. I think what really got under my skin regarding Abrams' piece was the self-serving, opportunistic nature of it.