Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Third Third Way meets the Third World

I have finally read Sam Rosenfeld and Matthew Yglesias's article about how liberal hawks refuse to learn any more than they have to from Iraq. A key quote

administrative bungling is simply not the root source of America’s failure in Iraq. The alternative scenarios liberal hawks retrospectively envision for a successful administration of the war reflect blithe assumptions -- about the capabilities of the U.S. military and the prospects for nation building in polities wracked by civil conflict -- that would be shattered by a few minutes of Googling.


The subtitle of the article "The liberal hawks now say the idea of the war wasn’t bad, just its execution. This saves face -- and serves a more dangerous function." made me think of Pietro Ingrao, hence the third way. I can't resist the temptation to conflate the liberal hawks with the DLC third way (the third third way by my count, one was social democracy (which historically came before Leninism, one was Ingrao's third way between social democracy and communism and the third is, as far as I can tell, a brief interlude between liberalism and neo-conservativism). The third way was an allegedly new approach to domestic policy including enthusiastic support for welfare reform and hard to distinguish from hard headed conservative opposition to welfare. Still there is a link with the liberal hawks, largely based on wealth of Martin Peretz' wife.

Ingrao responded to each new horror of communism during his, so far, 60 year career in public life by saying that communism had been betrayed and that the idea of communism was not damaged by the crimes of Stalin etc etc etc etc. Thus he invented a new rhetorical form the dialectical monologue of historical idealism.

The similarity with the liberal hawks will be obvious, but I would like to stress that Ingrao is an absolutely honest polician which is rare and that he opposed the invasion of Iraq.

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