Wednesday, March 29, 2006


The Fukuyama-Krauthammer Feud

I am aware that not everyone finds neocon internecine warfare the height of entertainment. Or that they're even aware of who or what the neocons are. But I am and this is my blog, and so away we go.

Francis Fukuyama and Charles Krauthammer is a'feudin'. Fukuyama is an intellectual and sometime neocon whose major contribution to foreign policy thought was 1989's The End of History. He was among the coterie of neocons involved in The Project for a New American Century--which in the 90s advocated for Saddam Hussein's overthrow.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for the Washington Post, one of Bush's foremost apologists (err, loyalists), a fellow neocon, and one of the most active proponents and defenders of the Iraq war. He is also a neocon.

Both men were admirers once upon a time. On the cover of Fukuyama's End of Time is Krauthammer's appraisal: “scandalously brilliant." But things started to break apart after Iraq. I will not regale you with a blow by blow, but the thumbnail goes like this: Fukuyama jumped ship on the Bush doctrine and earlier this year declared neoconservatism a dead theory. It was a fairly scathing indictment of the war and it's intellectual failure.

Krauthammer, who stands as one of the indicted, slammed back with a column he called "Fukuyama's Fantasy" in the WaPo yesterday. (It must be doubly painful to have a pretty theory demolished by ugly reality, but all the more to suffer at the hands of erstwhile allies.)
Fukuyama now says that he had secretly opposed the Iraq war before it was launched. An unusual and convenient reticence, notes Irwin Stelzer, editor of "The Neocon Reader," for such an inveterate pamphleteer, letter writer and essayist. After public opinion had turned against the war, Fukuyama then courageously came out against it. He has every right to change his mind at his convenience.

There is a New Yorker review of Fukuyama's current book, which sheds light into the spat, should you wish to delve further. It's pretty fascinating.

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