News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Cobban on Fukuyama

Friday, May 26, 2006

Cobban on Fukuyama

Mideast expert and reporter, Helena Cobban, provides personal impressions of a speech given at the University of Virginia by noted foreign policy expert and former neo-conservative, Francis Fukuyama. Cobban's very good at transcribing Fukuyama's words. Her own comments on his views come from her vast experience as a peace activist who knows the personalities and movements involved in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. ...

Cobban concludes:

In his book, Fukuyama anticipates that some Americans will ask why the sole superpower, why Gulliver, should risk binding itself into new organizations with so many nattering Lilliputians to tie it down. His answer, in part, cited America’s own domestic reliance upon “checks and balances” against concentrated power. So why then should the rest of the world be expected to trust a country that at least traditionally, doesn’t trust itself? International institutions, with all their faults, may yet be the best venue for crafting cooperative action and for providing the critically needed “international legitimacy” to see it through.

Fukuyama has surely added to our understanding of neoconservatism, its roots and its evolution. In the end, he remains comfortable with generic neoconservative goals, “but it's the methods that have failed.” Yet he is no longer interested in rescuing neoconservatism, lamenting that it has become inextricably equated with catastrophic Bush Administration failures. Fukuyama aims then to bury neoconservatism as a foreign policy doctrine and his book may well stand as a first draft of its obituary.

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