Roger L. Simon

Fukuyama opts out

Francis Fukuyama gives an excellent overview – at least for me – of the history of the neoconservative movement, its various strains, in his article in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, After Neoconservatism. The larger intent of the essay, however, is not professorial, but to announce the political economist’s withdrawal from the N-crowd. Those dreaded neos are, after all, responsible for the war in Iraq and that war, we all know, is a disaster. Well, maybe. Fukuyama not much more than a decade ago announced “the end of history.” In this article he says he was misread on that score and he really meant liberal democracy would lead to the end of history. Again: Well, maybe. Fukuyama seems to be a man in a hurry. The Iraq War here he declares to be a failure after only three years. Nostradamus? [Don’t say “Well, maybe” again-ed. Okay, I won’t.] In my own way, I sympathize with Fukuyama. The opinion game is ruthless. You have no time to wait for history and must make pronouncements based on thin and fleeting evidence. Still, it seems very early to close the book on Iraq. I suspect there are many twists and turns yet to come. Even Germany and Japan took a while to settle down after WWII – and that wasn’t the Middle East. Sometimes I think people like Fukuyama (I’m being mean here) write these things to get their New York Times cards back, to be welcomed home into the fold and not to have to spend the rest of their lives writing for the Weekly Standard. Or worse yet, blogging.