The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Uncomfortable facts

May 30, 2007

I spent about ten minutes on WHRU (Hofstra University Radio) this morning discussing Iran, the Middle East, American Empire.

One of the first things the hosts asked me was to explain the broader significance of the first direct talks between the US and Iran in 29 years. I responded, more or less, that they suggest “that Iraq has turned into such a colossal disaster that the Bush administration will even talk to a member of the ‘Axis of Evil’ if there’s any chance that will help.”

One of the hosts, when moving on to the next question, remarked “ideology aside….”

Which puzzles me. There’s nothing “ideological,” in my view, about characterizing Iraq as a “colossal disaster.” We’ve realized none of the promised benefits of the invasion, life is now worse for many Iraqis then it was under Hussein, the country is a jihadist training camp, and there’s no question that the US will fail, for the foreseeable future, to commit the kind of resources necessary to ensure even basic security in the country.

Only the most partisan hack would insist otherwise.

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Daniel H. Nexon is a Professor at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service. His academic work focuses on international-relations theory, power politics, empires and hegemony, and international order. He has also written on the relationship between popular culture and world politics.