Monday, February 09, 2009
"Many of the current batch of liberal advocates of empire have a history on the Left, often abandoned at some point after the collapse of the Soviet Union. For all but recalcitrant Stalinists, the human prospect following the collapse of the Russian superpower in 1989 was supposed to be a promising one. Fukuyama's sighting of an 'end' to history was, notwithstanding his own dyspepsia, touted as a prospectus for universal accord. The one true model for society had been revealed by no less an authority than History, and that model enjoined free-market capitalism and liberal democracy. As Gregory Elliott observes, 'the locomotive of history had terminated not at the Finland Station, but at a hypermarket. All roads lead to Disneyland?' There were some outstanding problems, of course: in place of Stalinist dictatorships emerged new particularisms of a religious or national sort that, while hardly systemic threats, clearly posed problems for the 'New World Order' that Bush the Elder had vaunted. It was in the course of engagement with these problems that former left-wingers decided at various points to pitch in their lot with what the French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine had referred to as the American 'hyperpower'. The occasion for apostasy varied, but key moments were Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, and the attacks on the World Trade Center. In the absence of states purportedly bearing the historical mission of the proletariat, many former Marxists, including anti-Stalinists, either made peace with centrist liberalism or morphed into their neoconservative opposites. American military power was now an ally of progress rather than its enemy."