Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

June 2007

Journal/Publication Title

a Revista de Libros (Madrid)


This review essay from the Revista de Libros (Madrid) is a Spanish translation and adaptation of a review that originally appeared in the Times Literary Supplement (London) in September 2006, of Francis Fukuyama, After the Neocons (Profile/Yale UP 2006). (Traducido del ingles por Luis Gago, Revista de Libros.)El ensayo considera los argumentos sobre el neoconservadurismo ofrecidos por Francis Fukuyama - tanto la historia intelectual del neoconservadurismo como un analisis de sus exitos y fracasos.(The review praises Fukuyama's sober and careful intellectual history of neoconservatism, and breaks the idea down into seven interrelated propositions. It considers Fukuyama's argument that neoconservatives violated their own tenets in undertaking the Iraq war, particularly the neoconservative skepticism about grand social engineering projects and the neoconservative belief that these typically lead to unanticipated bad consequences. Fukuyama also argues that the Iraq war and the project of Middle East democratization miss the fundamental point about Islamist extremism, which is that it is primarily a phenomenon of Muslims adrift in modernity in the West, particularly Western Europe, rather than the Middle East. The review accepts much of this critique but uses it to offer a critique of Western multiculturalism, arguing instead for a re-embrace of traditional liberalism - a substantive liberalism that embraces free expression, the rights of women, and values that multiculturalism suppresses.While accepting that the book is persuasive on a neoconservative naivete concerning Iraq and what force can do, it argues that there is a much more sophisticated neoconservatism in the form of realists who came to realize that the acceptance of corrupt, brutal, and repressive authoritarian regimes in the name of stability, accommodation, and containment had paved the way for much of the current Islamist extremism, and that the old realism could no longer serve. This not-naive realism-into-idealism is not really addressed by Fukuyama's critique. In any case, Fukuyama's positive program - a vague multilateralism, what he calls realistic Wilsonianism appears to be simply the traditional liberal internationalism with somewhat less emphasis on the UN; it does not appear to be capable of anything other than ineffectuality.)

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