The Next New Neoconservative Think Tank Will Totally Redeem Every Neoconservative Idea

Created: March 26, 2009 13:23 | Last updated: July 31, 2020 00:00

In my piece a few weeks ago about the rudderlessness of GOP foreign policy, I mentioned a National Journal item reporting that several of the neoconservative heavies — Bill Kristol, Bob Kagan, former occupation-of-Iraq spokesman Dan Senor — were thinking of opening a “new conservative foreign-policy think tank-cum-messaging institution.” You know, like the Project for a New American Century or the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq? Well, the far-more-innocuously named Foreign Policy Initiative has its big rollout next week, with an Afghanistan panel that I think will be counterprogrammed against the Obama administration’s Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy rollout. Here’s how the FPI describes its mission:

  • continued U.S. engagement–diplomatic, economic, and military—in the world and rejection of policies that would lead us down the path to isolationism;
  • robust support for America’s democratic allies and opposition to rogue regimes that threaten American interests;
  • the human rights of those oppressed by their governments, and U.S. leadership in working to spread political and economic freedom;
  • a strong military with the defense budget needed to ensure that America is ready to confront the threats of the 21st century;
  • international economic engagement as a key element of U.S. foreign policy in this time of great economic dislocation.

Matt Duss giggles:

On March 31, FPI holds its first public event, Afghanistan: Planning For Success, though, given the heavy representation of Iraq war advocates, I think a far better title would be Afghanistan: Dealing With The Huge Problems Created By Many Of The People On This Very Stage. The broad consensus among national security analysts and aid officials is that the diversion of troops and resources toward Iraq beginning in 2002 was one of the main reasons the Taliban and Al Qaeda were able to to re-establish themselves in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas, facilitating the collapse of the country back into insurgent warfare. Having failed to complete the mission in Afghanistan, Bush and the Iraq hawks handed the Obama administration a war that promises to be as difficult and costly as Iraq has been -– if not more. It’s deeply absurd that some of the people most responsible for the crisis in Afghanistan would now presume to tell us how to deal with it.

What the FPI crew might want to ask itself is why the counterinsurgents went to work for the (Democratic-aligned-but-they-don’t-like-when-I-write-that) Center for a New American Security instead of the American Enterprise Institute and other hotbeds of neoconservatism after the neocons went all-out promoting the surge. I won’t hold my breath waiting for weighty introspection about what went wrong during the Bush years from these guys — if I want that, I read Shadow Government.