The Corner

George Will

I had mixed feelings about that one, Kathryn. In the (overstated) realist-neocon debates, I’m generally on the realist side (or, depending on your definition of the word, I’m a modified realist). But in a column condemning the administration for creating straw men, I thought Will created some of his own. “Being steadfast in defense of carefully considered convictions is a virtue. Being blankly incapable of distinguishing cherished hopes from disappointing facts, or of reassessing comforting doctrines in face of contrary evidence, is a crippling political vice.” Agreed. But is it Will’s position that the experience of the last year constitutes decisive evidence that liberty or democracy cannot be brought to Iraq? Didn’t he hold this pessimistic view even before the last year? What, specifically, is the administration persisting in doing that he wants it to abandon? Does he want it to give up on moving toward elections? (The answer, based on previous columns, appears to be no.) He wants to criticize a foreign policy for relying too much on theory, but without leaving the realm of theory himself.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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