Adding to the Chorus

Well, here’s a man who can’t argue he was “misled.” Francis Fukuyama, the neoconservative theorist, has written a new book in which he criticizes the Bush administration’s war in Iraq. In America at the Crossroads, the professor outlines the evolution of his thinking about America’s foreign policy; specifically:

Mr. Fukuyama also contends that many neoconservatives — particularly those belonging to the “expansive, interventionist, democracy-promoting” school, defined by Mr. Kristol and Mr. Kagan — misinterpreted the collapse of Communism and the end of the cold war. By putting too much emphasis on the American military buildup under Ronald Reagan “as the cause of the USSR’s collapse, when political and economic factors were at least as important,” he contends, forward-leaning neocons came to the conclusion that “history could be accelerated through American agency.”

In other words, neoconservatives leaped from the premise that democracy is likely to expand universally in the long run (a view Mr. Fukuyama has promoted himself) to the notion that this historical process could be hastened by United States efforts to implement regime changes in places like Iraq. At the same time, Mr. Fukuyama says, these theorists seem to have assumed that the rapid and relatively peaceful transition to democracy and free markets made by countries like Poland could be replicated in other parts of the world — never mind the state of local institutions, traditions and infrastructure.

You can read the rest of Michiko Kakutani’s New York Times review here.