Keep Trying

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Fail Proof

Daniel Drezner wrote an interesting article in The New Republic about Iraq:

A growing chorus of thinkers across the political landscape are arguing the former--that the neoconservative vision of exporting liberal values into a society that has known nothing but tyranny for the past generation smacked of foolish idealism.
A competing view holds that the fault lies not with the idea of democratizing Iraq but with our execution of that idea. Adherents note that the near-total absence of proper contingency planning prior to the war has led to a rash of policy screw-ups.
We can't rewind and rerun history, so it's impossible to say definitively which of these competing explanations is correct. But with that crucial caveat in mind, a strong case can be made that the bulk of the blame lies with the implementation.
The craft of foreign policy is choosing wisely from a set of imperfect options. While flawed, the neoconservative plan of democracy promotion in the Middle East remains preferable to any known alternatives. Of course, such a risky strategy places great demands on execution, and so far this administration has executed poorly. It would be a cruel irony if, in the end, the biggest proponents of ambitious reform in the Middle East are responsible for unfairly discrediting their own idea.