The Intoxication of the "Neo-Con" Intellectuals
Le Nouvel Observateur
Tuesday 27 May 2003
SO? Light in the Middle East? Sharon accepts the famous "road-map" that the UN, the United States, Russia, and the EU put together before the Iraq war to restart a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians? We are so tired of it all, and even of hope, that, at this point, we find it hard to believe. Isn't Sharon trying to delay long enough to save Bush's face? Aren't the extremists hoping that once again suicide attacks and repression will overturn everything? It would be too good if it were true. And not only, by the way, for those immediately concerned on the two sides. It would be too good for George W. Bush himself and also, to be sure, for Tony Blair.
Because finally those two have lied about everything, even as they said truth was their religion. They assaulted us with their conviction that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and armies capable of aggression. They claimed that in attacking Iraq, Bush, audaciously taking over from a failing UN, defended nothing less than all of humanity. They held it obvious that there was a close link between Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden, the Syrio-Iraqi Baath and Al-Qaeda, Baghdad's despotism and international terrorism. Now, here it is that suddenly not even they are saying anything like this any more. They outdo themselves in cynicism and make fun of our innocence.
Last week Vincent Jauvert, in these pages, outlined certain doctrines that had been put together before September 11, 2001. What's striking after reading these ideas and particularly those developed in Lawrence F. Kaplan and William Kristol's book, is that, for now, we have nothing solid to counter them with. It's not that I resign myself in any way to the ambitions and caprices of Pax Americana , quite the contrary. I just want to emphasize the fact that, once we get beyond the indispensable moral condemnation, the necessary regrouping of rebel countries, and the legitimate resistance to American unilateralism, another geo-political and geo-strategic vision that that of the American "neo-cons" must emerge from some part of the world. Washington or chaos ? That's what these intellectuals proclaim, who, for the first time in history, are drunk on the idea of being able to change the world another way than through books. Should the miracle of a peaceful solution in the Middle East occur-which one is obliged to hope for unreservedly- then the American superpower will endow itself with every alibi to persist in its course and Europe, impotent and divided, would be reduced to having its independence depend on American failures.
Jean Daniel is co-founder and Director of the Nouvel Observateur
Translation: TruthOut French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher.