And so it seems is Neo-neocon
In an interesting post that includes the history of the rise of Saddam and his war with Iran and the part the US played in that history, Neo-neocon concludes with the following statement:
I wish the world were otherwise. But it's not, and pretending the lion has already lain down with the lamb is an absurdity, or worse. There are plenty of lions out here, about to devour huge herds of lambs, and sometimes all we can do is back the lion who seems less voracious.
The funny thing about the whole thing (and I mean funny-strange, not funny ha-ha) is that it is the neocon philosophy that represents one of the only strategies offering a possible way out of the realpolitik dilemma. And yet those who criticize our realpolitik decisions to back dictators also criticize our neonconnish decisions to overthrow them and try to institute a better and more democratic form of government. Odd, isn't it?
Make no mistake about it, however: the neocon notion that we should attempt actions designed to transform these countries into something better is not an easy one to execute, as Iraq has demonstrated (and, by the way, it does not always involve our waging war--sometimes it involves our supporting internal forces within the country itself, as suggested presently for Iran).
I'm disappointed in the missteps of the Bush administration while occupying Iraq (examples: not stopping the looters, not taking Sadr out, way back when). But I don't believe any of these to be insurmountable even now--if we had the political will in this country to understand how important it is to succeed at the task.
This is the stark choice we face: (1) realpolitik business as usual, "he's a thug but at least he's our thug;" (2) inaction, allowing totalitarian Islamism (or Communism before it) to take over most of the world; or (3) trying to transform these regions into functioning democracies that protect human rights.
The latter is the neocon agenda, and I'm all for it. I consider it the best alternative of the lot. But I don't consider myself naive about how difficult it is to do this and how much of an investment in time, energy, money, blood, and will it would cost to succeed. But the alternatives would ultimately demand a greater human sacrifice, and entail even more suffering.
I have never understood why people think the idea of modernizing the Middle East is a waste of time. We have tried everything else. What is left? Isolationism? I am not sure they would even let us build a wall and hide.