Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Observational Note

Blair’s reputation is in the toilet, and many in Britain feel his shame. “Little brother” is only the kindest description of Blair’s relationship with Bush—and, by extension, Britain’s relationship with America.

Blair has a largely standard answer, which he has stuck to since 2004, about whether he regrets or wishes to apologize for his role in starting the war against Iraq. He says: Yes, he apologizes for having received and relied upon faulty intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s possession of W.M.D. (weapons of mass destruction, as I needn’t tell you). He says that he wasn’t aware that any of this intelligence was faulty (an assertion that one previous inquiry in Britain has treated with skepticism). Sometimes he adds that he also regrets that it didn’t occur to him that, after decades of dictatorship, postwar Iraq might not possess certain baubles of civil society such as, say, a functioning police force. But he insists that in removing Saddam from power—“regime change” is the euphemism—he had nothing to be ashamed of. Bush makes virtually the same argument.

If “regime change” in Iraq had been such a good idea, why weren’t Bush and Blair using it at the time as the justification for invading? They didn’t—they used the threat of W.M.D.

He’s not sorry about removing Saddam Hussein, even though that’s the reason for everything he is sorry for. With each passing year, Blair’s argument becomes more baroque. No wonder Chilcot had to keep on going.

Democrats can’t see it, but Trump represents a massive victory for the left in so far as he’s the first major Republican figure to successfully reject libertarianism, even rhetorically. If Trump is successful, liberty-oriented conservatism will be replaced by so-called common sense statism

Most neocons in the 1980s and 1990s were social liberals or centrists, not social conservatives. The social conservatives have lost every battle since then. Roe v. Wade has not been overturned. The Supreme Court has made gay marriage the law of the land. What have the second-wave neoconservatives gained, by joining the unpopular losing side on these issues?

Netanyahu bet the future of US-Israel relations on the GOP, Now he has a Trump problem.