Kara’s post on Prof. Bacevich’s article makes sense to me, and I am inclined to agree that an end to the war in Iraq under Obama, if Iraq deteriorated after withdrawal, could reinvigorate neoconservatism more than almost anything else. Such is the perversity of aggressive war that its advocates could conceivably gain political advantage from both continuing and ending the war. I would add that there is something else that creates a different problem for the pro-Obama case. James Barnes at National Journal describes Obama’s main advisors, and the section on national security is sobering for anyone hoping for much in the way of a shift in foreign policy paradigms. Indeed, the list of advisors in Barnes’ article might be enough to satisfy Joe Lieberman, whose most recent denunciation of supposed Democratic “weakness” (i.e., supporting policies that Lieberman opposes) during his endorsement of McCain has been generating a lot of discussion. While many mainstream conservatives are getting themselves into a lather talking about Obama’s “hard left” views on this and that, several of the advisors populating Obama’s campaign are perfect representatives of failed “centrism.” With five advisors from the Brookings Institution, including Ivo Daalder, Obama’s administration could easily see a return to hawkish meddling in the name of liberal internationalism. Remember that Daalder co-authored this pro-intervention op-ed with Robert Kagan, who, as Brendan O’Neill’s article on Obama’s foreign policy reminds us, expressed great enthusiasm about Obama’s interventionism. If marginalizing neoconservatism entails empowering hawkish neoliberalism 2.0, the only things that will change are the targets.
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