US Neo-cons Losing Ground

Neo-conservatives, who laid out the intellectual underpinnings for US President George W. Bush's foreign policy, are beginning to back away from the neocon label following the Republicans' midterm election defeat.

US Neo-cons Losing Ground

"I have concluded," said Francis Fukuyama, the well-known supporter of neo-conservatives, "that neo-conservatism as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something that I can no longer support," Agence France-Presse (AFP) Friday, November 10.

"Neo-conservatism has now become irreversibly identified with the policies of the administration of George W. Bush in his first term and any effort to reclaim the label at this point is likely to be futile," writes Fukuyama in his recently published book "America at the Crossroads, Democracy, Power and the Neoconservative Legacy."

Already battling with each other over continuing US military setbacks in Iraq, "neo-cons" are now more divided than ever following Tuesday's election nightmare which saw Republicans lose control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 12 years.

Many voters have said they cast ballots for Democrats in protest over how the Bush administration has managed the war in Iraq.

Neo-conservatives essentially believe in America's ability to shape the world in its own image, and see the United States as a "benevolent hegemony" with the power to compel other nations to adopt liberal democracy.

That ideology was extended to Iraq which was supposed to become ultimately a bastion of democracy in the Middle East.

But following the Republicans' steep November 7 election losses as bloodshed and chaos in Iraq continue, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- who executed the administration's Iraq policy -- was ousted from power.

"Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this -- they were not made by neo-conservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad," said noted neo-con Richard Perle in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine.


"The administration has often been described as 'neoconservative,'" said Frum.

Joshua Muravchik, a leading conservative scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, said that the neo-con role has been overstated.

"In reality, of course, we don't wield any of the power that contemporary legend attributes to us. Most of us don't rise at the crack of dawn to report to powerful jobs in government," he said in an article in Foreign Policy magazine.

"But it is true that our ideas have influenced the policies of President George W. Bush, as they did those of President Ronald Reagan. That does feel good. Our intellectual contributions helped to defeat Communism in the last century and, God willing, they will help to defeat jihadism in this one."

David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter who achieved fame for having coined the term "Axis of Evil" to describe North Korea, Iran and Iraq in an address delivered by the president before the war, also sought to downplay the significance of neo-cons.

"The administration has often been described as 'neoconservative.' In fact, people with neocon CVs were prominent in second- and third-tier positions -- defense, state and so on -- but the top jobs went to people with a more personal relationship with Mr Bush," he told reporters Thursday, November 9.

Democrats completed their sweep to power in the US Congress on Thursday, winning the last Senate seat and moving quickly from bitter campaign rhetoric.

The Democrats sealed control of both houses of Congress by taking a 51-49 majority in the Senate with former Navy Secretary Jim Webb's defeat of Republican Sen. George Allen in Virginia -- a race so close it almost required a recount.

Democrats easily seized control of the House, gaining about 30 seats. But wresting the Senate from Republicans hung on the outcome of the Webb-Allen possible recount.

Courting Democrats

"We're going to work together to address those challenges in a constructive way," said Bush.  (Reuters)

President is due to meet with Senate's future majority leader Harry Reid Friday after the Republican rout in Congress was confirmed with the Democrats' final gain of a senate seat in Virginia.

The meeting comes a day after Bush hosted the incoming House leader, Nancy Pelosi, at the White House and vowed to work with triumphant Democrats in a show of post-election bipartisanship, although signs of fraying have already emerged.

In a sign of the huge shift in US politics, Bush lunched at the White House Thursday with Pelosi, the 66-year-old Democrat and current minority leader set to become the first woman speaker of the House of Representatives.

"The elections are now behind us, and the congresswoman's party won, but the challenges still remain," said Bush, who also hosted Democratic minority whip Steny Hoyer.

"We're going to work together to address those challenges in a constructive way, we won't agree on every issue. But we do agree that we love America equally, that we're concerned about the future of this country."

Bush's conciliatory tone contrasted with his attacks during the campaign. On October 30, he said: "the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."

A day after making the first move in his new political gambit by dispensing with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Bush said he was ready to engage Democrats on Iraq.

"I'm open to any idea or suggestion that will help us achieve our goals of defeating the terrorists and ensuring that Iraq's democratic government succeeds," Bush said.

Eyes in Washington were also turning to a bipartisan commission probing new approaches to the occupation of Iraq, after Bush admitted voters were fed up with the situation in a country where 2,800 US troops and tens of thousands of civilians have died.The group co-led by former secretary of state James Baker, due to report within months, is seen by many observers as a chance for both parties to coalesce around a common strategy.




Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16