Cultural Revolutions

A Morbid Quest

Paul Wolfowitz’s nomination by President George W. Bush as the new president of the World Bank has caused a storm of protests from abroad, but the news is good.  At his new post, Wolfowitz will not be able to do nearly as much damage as he has done at the Pentagon.

That damage has been considerable.  Over the past four years, he has been the most influential proponent of neoconservatism both as an outlook and as a geopolitical project, within the Bush administration.  The Weltanschauung is Shtetl-paranoid, Christophobic, and Straussian.  The project is mastery of the world, a “benevolent global hegemony” that is as certain to end in ruin as it is likely to destroy the remaining vestiges of the American Republic.

Wolfowitz’s intellectual maturation, when he was a doctoral student at the University of Chicago in the late 1960’s, proceeded under the tutelage of the late RAND guru Albert Wohlstetter, famous for his view that nuclear deterrence was not enough—the United States had to plan to fight a nuclear war in order to deter it.  Richard Perle was another promising protégé of Wohlstetter.  He and Wolfowitz got to know each other through their aging mentor and became lifelong political and personal associates.

Perle was the first to go to Washington, in 1969, when Wohlstetter secured his appointment as executive director of...

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