Commentators of many political stripes agree that the U. S.-NATO expedition, in Afghanistan since 2001, long ago foundered and continues to founder, especially in the embattled south. “America and its allies are losing in Afghanistan," writes The Economist. “A survey in 120 districts racked by insurgency, a third of Afghanistan’s total, found little popular support for Mr Karzai.
WASHINGTON--When there is no good solution to a problem, a president has three options. One is to avoid the problem. The second is to pick the least bad of the available options. The third is to mix and match among the proposed solutions and minimize the long-term damage any decision will cause. Afghanistan has presented President Obama with exactly this situation, and he is soon likely to settle on something closest to the third approach. This will make no one very happy.
I avoided blogging for a long time. And the one time I briefly tried it prior to my current stint at TNR, I hated it. Why? Because something about the form (most likely its instantaneousness) encourages glibness. And the issues I like to write about -- religion, culture, philosophy, political theory -- cannot be addressed thoughtfully or fairly when they are treated glibly. (I'll leave it as an open question whether anything can be addressed thoughtfully or fairly when it is treated glibly.) So I avoided the medium. Until now.
I'm delighted that Patrick Deneen has taken the time to craft a vigorous response to my post about Andrew Bacevich's thoughts on the end of conservatism - delighted because Deneen has a powerful mind and is perhaps the most formidable blogospheric defender of the paleocon outlook I set out to criticize. Deneen attacks me on two ground. First, I absurdly and ham-handedly link Bacevich's defense of individual self-restraint to the authoritarianism of the Legionaries of Christ, a scandal-ridden Catholic religious order.
On his blog, Damon Linker responds to Andrew Bacevich's critique of conservatism. Money quote: Andrew J. Bacevich's response to Sam Tanenhaus's essay on the end of conservatism is welcome because it so clearly and succinctly expresses a paleoconservative sentiment that has growing numbers of champions online and may gather force over the coming years. Unlike the neocons, who marry conservative instincts in social policy to strong support for two of the least conservative practices known to man -- free-market capitalism and a militaristic foreign policy -- Bacevich is consistent.