Friday, April 03, 2009

# Posted 11:25 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

WHAT'S A NICE GIRL LIKE YOU DOING IN A NEOCON PLACE LIKE THIS? The Foreign Policy Initiative held its first public event on Tuesday, a conference entitled Afghanistan: Planning for Success. The FPI board of directors consists of Bob Kagan, Bill Kristol and Dan Senor, leading many to the natural conclusion that FPI is a neocon initiative. That's not unreasonable, but where the neocon-watchers go wrong is their immediate attribution of belligerent nastiness to such an effort. For example, George Packer writes of Kristol, Kagan & Co.,
If you didn’t know the history of its founders, you could almost imagine that the Foreign Policy Initiative represents a constructive and nonpartisan effort to keep America engaged around the world.
The funny thing is, FPI's inaugural conference was remarkably non-partisan and constructive. I didn't see Packer in the audience, but no one at the event could've missed the strong statements of support for Obama's new Afghanistan policy from Bob Kagan, Fred Kagan, Bill Kristol and others. Those same individuals also spent a considerable amount of their time behind the microphone warning that Republicans in opposition have an unfortunate habit of stumbling into an isolationist mindset. Thus, one of the explicit purposes of FPI is to shore up GOP support for Obama's efforts in Afghanistan, so that the President can count on conservative support even if his liberal base thinks victory is unachievable.

For another report from the conference, I highly recommend Chris Brose's post on the subject, which includes a description of Bob Kagan,
bare-chested (as usual), in full war paint, banging the Mayflower china with a combat boot, shouting that America needed to put 10 million men under arms.
Finally, a word about Rep. Jane Harman, until recently the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee. She was at the conference and when she got on stage, she tackled the elephant in the room. She said she didn't care if some people thought FPI was some sort of neocon organization. These people are her friends and she'll stick by them.

An admirable sentiment.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly
(1) opinions -- Add your opinion

The problem is that "neo-con" is a meaningless buzz word with strong anti-semitic overtones that is thrown around by liberals as an all-purpose smear. It's actual definition is at best ambiguous ($100 says Packer can't come up with a coherent definition).

My favorite version is "a liberal who thinks liberals are a greater threat to liberal values than are conservatives." By that standard, I am a neo-con. But I have no idea how many people other than me think that when they hear the word.
Post a Comment