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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 27, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 27
Francis Fukuyama Publishes Book on Democracy, Neoconservative Legacy

By Felisa Neuringer Klubes

Francis Fukuyama, the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy and director of the International Development Program at SAIS, crystallizes four years of thinking and writing about U.S. foreign policy in his latest book, America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power and the Neoconservative Legacy, just out from Yale University Press.

Fukuyama's criticism of the Iraq war puts him at odds with neoconservative friends both within and outside the Bush administration. In America at the Crossroads, he writes that in its decision to invade Iraq the Bush administration failed in its stewardship of American foreign policy. First, he says, the administration wrongly made preventive war the central tenet of its foreign policy. In addition, it badly misjudged the global reaction to its exercise of "benevolent hegemony." And finally, it failed to appreciate the difficulties involved in large-scale social engineering, grossly underestimating the difficulties involved in establishing a successful democratic government in Iraq.

Fukuyama explores the contention by the Bush administration's critics that it had a neoconservative agenda that dictated its foreign policy during the president's first term. Tracing the varied strands of neoconservative thought since the 1930s, Fukuyama argues that the movement's legacy is a complex one that can be interpreted quite differently than it was after the end of the Cold War.

Analyzing the Bush administration's miscalculations in responding to the post-Sept. 11 challenge, America at the Crossroads proposes a new approach to American foreign policy through which such mistakes might be turned around, one in which the positive aspects of the neoconservative legacy are joined with a more realistic view of the way American power can be used around the world.

Fukuyama stakes out a position that is not captured by existing schools within today's U.S. foreign policy debate but is one that he thinks would be supported by a fairly broad spectrum of Americans. Provisionally labeling it "realistic Wilsonianism," Fukuyama defines a way for the United States to promote political and economic development other than regime change through pre-emptive war, and he opens up an agenda of multiple multilateralisms appropriate to the real, existing world of globalization.


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