Oftentimes, there's something inspiring about a person so rigidly dedicated to a particular ideology that not even the existence of contrary facts can sway them. In that vein, there's a movie line that's always stuck in my mind: "Uncompromising men are easy to admire." Nothing could be more apropos of that sentiment than today's sycophantic paean to the Bush Doctrine from the inimitable David Brooks. While the tone of the column is odd–President-Elect Obama as torchbearer of the Bush Doctrine–here's the bit that caught our eye:
Actual progress was slow, but the ideas developed during the second Bush term have taken hold.
Some theoreticians may still talk about Platonic concepts like realism and neoconservatism, but the actual foreign policy doctrine of the future will be hammered out in a bottom-up process as the U.S. and its allies use their varied tools to build government capacity in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, the Philippines and beyond. Grand strategists may imagine a new global architecture built at high-level summits, but the real global architecture of the future will emerge organically from these day-to-day nation-building operations.
Obviously, someone's been reading his Allan Bloom, but I digress. Brooks' misunderstanding of Plato, coupled with a severe misreading of the President-Elect's decision to retain the services of SECDEF Robert Gates is one thing; defeating the imaginary political theorists in one's mind while acting as if some point has been proven is quite another. Brooks' dogged devotion to neoconservative ideals has taken him so far afield that he has outpaced any real opponents, so he just creates opposition out of whole cloth; but this ability to outmaneuver notional opponents cannot demonstrate what it purports to show.