kagan and sen

Dear Mr. Kagan,

My curiosity about your present assessment of the Iraq intervention is indeed well-satisfied now—many thanks for explaining your position with such clarity and patience. Since I was opposed to that intervention (and have not changed my mind on this), there are parts of your argument on which we can have engaging discussion, but I see clearly now that a possible difference that could have surfaced, has not (or at least not surfaced sharply enough).

Since you and I agree on the ultimately universal importance of democracy (this has, in fact, been an overarching theme in my efforts at political writing for several decades now), and since I also think, like you (unlike many of my other friends), that people from one country can certainly help another nation in this pursuit (indeed, I wish other countries did more right now for miserable Burma, Zimbabwe, and Sudan, as many did for South Africa earlier), I thought one difference could be around my conviction that despite the nature of the Saddam Hussein regime, the intervention was a wrong way to try to promote democracy in Iraq or the Middle East. But I see now that promoting democracy in Iraq was not your principal reason for supporting the Iraq intervention, and any future dialogue on Iraq that we may have should mainly concentrate on the other important issues you discuss. However, having satisfied my curiosity, I want to return to the extremely interesting questions you raised, presented along with your generous assessment, in discussing my new book, Identity and Violence. Indeed, this is also what you have suggested we should do.

more from Slate.com here.