I agree with a lot of Frum’s criticism of the paleocons. But the paleos got one big thing right: the catastrophic foolishness of the Iraq War. It would be have been nice in the ensuing fallout to have observed some humility among the conservative elites, a sense that they may actually have no idea at all what’s going on, or what to do about it. It would be nice to see a realization that they (one more time: we, because I too favored the Iraq War) have lost a lot of credibility with ordinary people, whose intense resentment and unappeasable bitterness grows to no small degree from the soil fertilized by the bullsh*t of us conservative elites.
From a long, uncharacteristically rambling piece by Rod Dreher. The Paleocons did get that one right. The Invasion of Iraq was, in retrospect, the moment the Reagan Revolution and Neoconservatism both officially died of old age. It was proof that the forward-deployed interventionism used against the Soviet Union during the Cold War was outdated, just as Clinton’s ventures into Somalia and the Balkans allowed us to discern the downsides of playing GloboCop.
As a multi-polar world rises around us to replace the de facto American hegemony, there is a temptation to look back to a time before World War II, a time before even Wilson, to a day when Americans concerned themselves little with matters beyond their own borders, leaving the rest of the contentious world to deal with each other. In moments of quiet exasperation, I have advocated such an approach.
This is both undesirable and impractical. It is undesirable because isolationism enables a downward spiral of provincialism, disengagement, and global irrelevance, and leaves us without the wherewithal to control our own destiny. It is impractical