Sunday, June 15, 2008

What went wrong?

Matthew Yglesias (June 15, 2008) - Am I The Establishment? (Foreign Policy):
[traditional liberal internationalist foreign policy] ideas . . . could and should have been the key ideas of center-left think tanks in the post-9/11 world. But that's not what actually happened. Instead, a set of ideas that originally existed as a fringe right-wing position wound up being espoused not only by nearly the entire Republican Party but by a huge swathe of the broader establishment. The kind of institutions that you would expect to try to put the country back on an even keel -- The New York Times's foreign affairs columnist, The Washington Post's editorial page, the top foreign policy officials from the second Clinton administration, the Brookings Institution, etc. -- instead hopped aboard George W. Bush's madcap adventure.

[liberal internationalist foreign policy ideas have] traditionally been espoused by the establishment. And America traditionally hasn't engaged in Iraq-scale blunders. But in the wake of 9/11 we saw a massive, system-wide failure of our elites that the country is only beginning to recover from, and that seems -- despite its incredibly disastrous consequences -- to have permanently pushed certain key institutions into loony land where the height of "seriousness" is to think politicians should muse aloud about launching an unprovoked attack on Iran.

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