Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman had passed through a few weeks earlier, to see King Abdullah II. Their visit, I quickly learned, was simultaneously a source of bemusement and irritation for the Jordanian government. The two senators, of course, advocate an assertive foreign policy, and both are associated with neoconservative striving for robust and quick democratization of the Middle East. “They came in and said that Jordan should open up its political space for more parties, and be more aggressive about democratization within the parameters of a constitutional monarchy,” a senior Jordanian official told me. “And then they said, ‘But whatever you do, don’t allow the Muslim Brotherhood to gain more power.’ So they want us to be open and closed at the same time.” ~Jeffrey Goldberg

This illustrates very nicely the basic incoherence of the “neoconservative striving for robust and quick democratization of the Middle East” in combination with their other foreign policy priorities in the region. That doesn’t stop neoconservatives from advocating for democratization, but they want to pretend that these countries can open their political systems without undesirable results. As I have said before, “In other words, they still want to have it all, pretend that trade-offs don’t exist, and send U.S. foreign policy careening from one disaster to the next.”

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