Saturday, November 04, 2006

Can the Neocons Get Their Groove Back?

Joshua Muravchik's got a blueprint for a neoconservative revival in the November/December issue of Foreign Policy.

Muravchik's plan has five elements: First, neocons must learn from their mistakes, taking back the proudest elements of their legacy, and making adjustments where policies have failed. Two, the movement needs to focus less on military power, highlighting more the role of nongovernmental organizations in democracy promotion worldwide. Three, public diplomacy needs to be retooled to better counteract global anti-Americanism. Four, the neoconservatives need to start making the case for the bombing of Iran:

Make no mistake, President Bush will need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before leaving office. It is all but inconceivable that Iran will accept any peaceful inducements to abandon its drive for the bomb. Its rulers are religio-ideological fanatics who will not trade what they believe is their birthright to great power status for a mess of pottage. Even if things in Iraq get better, a nuclear-armed Iran will negate any progress there. Nothing will embolden terrorists and jihadists more than a nuclear-armed Iran.

The global thunder against Bush when he pulls the trigger will be deafening, and it will have many echoes at home. It will be an injection of steroids for organizations such as We need to pave the way intellectually now and be prepared to defend the action when it comes. In particular, we need to help people envision what the world would look like with a nuclear-armed Iran. Apart from the dangers of a direct attack on Israel or a suitcase bomb in Washington, it would mean the end of the global nonproliferation regime and the beginning of Iranian dominance in the Middle East.

This defense should be global in scope. There is a crying need in today’s ideological wars for something akin to the Congress for Cultural Freedom of the Cold War, a global circle of intellectuals and public figures who share a devotion to democracy. The leaders of this movement might include Tony Blair, Vaclav Havel, and Anwar Ibrahim.
The last element of Muravchik's plan is to recruit Joe Lieberman for the GOP presidential ticket in 2008, as John McCain or Rudy Giuliani's running-mate. I've long thought that Lieberman needs to switch parties, though if I were him, I'd change parties after reelection to the Senate in November, and then start laying the groundwork for a run at the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. The Republicans may need Lieberman's moral credibility if they hope to make a push for an attack on Iran. There's not likely to be much public stomach for military options in the near future, although should Tehran become even more belicose toward its neighbors,
a preventive strike may be necessary.

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