Burning Bush

Illustration by Bob AulWith his 1992 tome The End of History, Johns Hopkins University professor Francis Fukuyama ushered in the reign of neoconservativism, the movement whose acolytes pushed for the Iraq war and dominate the Bush administration. But in an essay for the summer edition of the American foreign-policy journal The National Interest, Fukuyama blasted the Bush administration for a “poorly executed nation-building strategy in Iraq” that “will poison the well for future such exercises, undercutting domestic political support for a generous and visionary internationalism, just as Vietnam did.” While acknowledging the dangers posed by Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, Fukuyama scoffed, “If the United States cannot eliminate poverty or raise test scores in Washington, D.C., how does it expect to bring democracy to a part of the world that has stubbornly resisted it and is virulently anti-American to boot?” Later in the nearly 7,000-word piece, Fukuyama answers his question: “Lurking like an unbidden guest at a dinner party is the reality of what has happened in Iraq since the U.S. invasion: we have been our usual inept and disorganized selves in planning for and carrying out the reconstruction, something that was predictable in advance and should not have surprised anyone familiar with American history.”

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