What’s the difference between a neo-con and a neo-liberal?
This brief statement from Ibn Muqawama at the CNAS Muqawama blog compares the Bush and Obama administrations in war: (while the post is more about drones than anything else, I think this statement is more revealing of the “COINdinistas” propensity for active interventionism)
I don’t think there should be any mistaking that Obama’s campaign in Afghanistan is somehow less ambitious than Bush’s: Bush talked the talk about building a stable, democratic Afghanistan, but it’s the Obama administration that is trying to walk the walk by devoting more resources and promising a “civilian surge” to improve Afghan governance. […] Afghanistan in and of itself is probably not that important to us, certainly not in the way that Iraq is, and there’s something troublesome about spending a lot of national resources to stabilize and reconstruct a country that never had much stability or construction in the first place. (emphasis added)
I find it disheartening that a blogger at the most influential think-tank in Washington admits “Afghanistan is probably not that important” but that we should still expend significant resources to pursue an idealistic dream of re-building a country that was never really concerned with us. To me, it borders on irresponsibility with the national interest and is a high-stakes gamble financed with borrowed money.
So, now to my other point: after 9/11 and March 2003, neo-conservative interventionism sought an agenda of promoting democracy and freedom from tyranny in Iraq and Afghanistan. (At least this was the agenda after the fall of the Taliban and failure to wrap up al Qaida’s top leadership.)
Now, neo-liberal interventionists propose nation-building in these same places as a remedy to unpopular neo-conservative policies of the Bush administration.
But is there really any difference between the two?