A sheep in Wolfowitz clothing?
The Washington Post has an extended portrait of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. The bottom line is that he's one misunderstood man.
Sez in one passage:
But to Wolfowitz, there is no contradiction between calculated policies and idealistic goals. Rather, he contends, they can reinforce each other. Indeed, Wolfowitz is most confrontational when he is most idealistic.
Nowhere is that more evident than in his advocacy of transforming the politics of the Middle East, a policy that frequently is attacked as unrealistically idealistic. As he put it to the Jerusalem Post earlier this year, "The idea that we could live with another 20 years of stagnation in the Middle East that breeds this radicalism and breeds terrorism is, I think, just unacceptable."
But some think Wolfowitz is out of his league:
Some see Wolfowitz's views on the Middle East as dangerously naive. "Wolfowitz doesn't know much about the business he's in," says retired Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar, a former chief of the Central Command, the U.S. military headquarters for the region. "He knows very little about war fighting. And he knows very little about the Middle East, aside from maybe Israel."
Wolfowitz responds, "I think I know a lot about Islam, as a whole, and I know a lot about the Middle East. I've been following it for a very long time." He also notes that the experts frequently have been wrong about whether one Arab state would attack another, as Iraq did to Kuwait in 1990, or what the reaction of the "Arab street" would be to the U.S. invasion of Iraq this year.
But to Wolfowitz, trying to change the Middle East is far from unrealistic. Rather, it is using universal ideals to achieve the practical end of curtailing terrorism. Just as much of East Asia democratized in the 1980s and 1990s, so too is there a chance that the Middle East could change radically. "It could," he says. "And it's certainly worth a try."
If that sounds a trifle Wilsonian, try Tim Cavanaugh's take on Wolfowitz for the Daily Star, which he reprinted on the Reason website.
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