Wednesday, August 6, 2003

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It would be prudent to know more

Want to know the background to my latest TNR online essay?

In many ways, this article is a follow-up to my March TNR online article about the likelihood of building a democratic regime in Iraq. The embryonic version of this article came from this post.

Dennis Hastert provides a lovely example of pro-war supporters quoting Burke to advance their cause. UPDATE: Oliver Kamm informs me that this Burke quotation is an urban legend, i.e., Burke never uttered these words. This January 2002 essay by Martin Porter supports this assertion. [I wish you had found this out when writing the article -- it would have been a perfect opening--ed. No argument here.]

Postwar, click here for an antiwar critic quoting Burke to critique the postwar administration of Iraq, and here for an example of Islamic activists using Burke in a similar way.

Although I largely disagree with Fareed Zakaria's The Future of Freedom, it's still worth reading. I critiqued parts of Zakaria's argument here and here. Robert Kagan critiqued it with far more relish in his New Republic review (TNR subscribers only).

Larry Diamond's arguments about the viability of democracy in the developing world can be read at your leisure in this Policy Review article. For those who want to see more of the raw data upon which Diamond bases his argument, click to this longer version of the paper.

Here's the main RAND page for America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq -- the quote in the TNR article comes from this press release. While Paul Bremer keeps this book at his bedside table, Fred Kaplan argues in Slate that senior Bush administration officials were foolhardy to ignore the advice from its primary author, James Dobbins.

On commentary calling for the U.S. to admit it overreached and therefore pull out of Iraq, see this Hubert Locke essay from the Seattle Times from last month, and this Edward Luttwak op-ed from yesterday's Los Angeles Times.

Finally, for further reading on what Edmund Burke -- and other political theorists -- can teach us about the postwar administration of Iraq, go check out Stanley Kurtz's nuanced discussion of the topic in this Policy Review article, as well as a more embryonic version of the argument in City Journal. The greatest compliment I can pay to Kurtz's use of Burke is that it there was no way I could summarize it accurately in my TNR essay without going past my word limit.

Final caveat: although I have no doubt that my critics will heartily agree with this assessment, let me still get it on the record -- I have not nor will I ever claim to be an expert on Edmund Burke.

posted by Dan on 08.06.03 at 12:39 PM


Handsome new layout. You are now even more indispensible.

posted by: Roger L. Simon on 08.06.03 at 12:39 PM [permalink]

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