I love Fred Kaplan’s devastating takedown of Rudy Giuliani’s Foreign Affairs manifesto, but I think it’s misleading to frame the problems with Rudy’s worldview as a kind of ignorance or childishness. The piece reflects the views of a substantial and influential group of people. I’d be inclined to dismiss the Norman Podhoretzes and Charles Krauthammers of the world as merely ignorant, since their ideas don’t make any sense, but they’ve been at this long enough that they know what they’re doing.
A merely ignorant Giuliani would be worrying, but what we actually see here is a man deeply invested in a deeply wrongheaded worldview which, I think, is much more dangerous. To observers looking on from the outside, the Bush administration has been a case study in neoconservative folly. To neoconservatives themselves, however, the Bush administration has been a study in betrayal. They’re brilliant ideas have been compromised at every turn by the president’s wavering attention, by liberals in congress, by Arabists in the State Department, etc., etc., etc. Giuliani represents precisely that point of view — the kind of people who think Bush’s big mistake was not listening to Perle and Frum in An End to Evil.
Would Giuliani actually govern this way? It’s impossible to say for sure, but one has to take seriously the possibility that he’s not only signaling a desire to implement policies more militaristic, more hostile to professionals at State and the CIA, more dismissive of the UN, less friendly to Palestinians, etc. than has George W. Bush. There are people — lots and lots of people — who think Bush abandonned the True Path sometime in 2004 and that what the country needs is to get back on track. Giuliani’s roster of advisers and now his essay indicate that he wants to be the candidate for those people. That should scare you.