In his new 464 page book “Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century‘, the ubiquitous and prolific Tony Judt says:” Both liberal and neocon thinking has suffered from an ingrained provincialism that, when combined with grandiose schemes for rebuilding the world on the American model, helped to precipitate the foreign policy disasters of the Bush era”.Â Â Thinking of the Cold War in narrow Americanocentric terms, neocons along with most liberals, never paused to examine the origins of that conflict, which go back to the beginnings of the Soviet regime. The upshot has been the destruction of Iraq and an accelerating decline in American power.
Judt is hard on the liberal hawks, who “display precisely the same mix of dogmatic faith and cultural provincialism, not to mention enthusiasm for violent political transformation at other people’s expense“. He is talking about such people as Michael Ignatieff and Paul Berman, “useful idiots” who connive in the war on terror. Neocons generate brutish policies and liberal hawks provide the fig leaves. He is hard on the New York Times and the Washington Post, who legitimized the war, and ascribes the calamities as arising from “ nostalgia for the comforting verities of a simpler time and a desire for a sense of purpose“.
Others might say that these Americans desperately need an enemy , any enemy, or they would otherwise have to concentrate on the boring deficiencies in their own domestic policy that so few want to seriously debate or address. Relief! They have discovered Islamofascism. Just in time!