This news either falls under the category of "politics makes strange bedfellows,""the Obama coalition is a mighty, broad coalition that will destroy McCain in November," or "I must have dosed my cornflakes this morning with angeldust and what I just read MUST be the product of my hallucinating mind."
Likely the real answer is a combination of the above statements. Francis Fukuyama, the author of The End of History and one of the architects of post-Cold War neoconservatism that brought us the Project for the New American Century and the saber-rattling that produced the Iraq War, has come out and voiced support for Barack Obama to become President.
Australian journalist Eleanor Hall interviewed Fukuyama about the American presidential campaign when the Johns Hopkins professor visited Sydney.
ELEANOR HALL: So which president do you think would be the best placed to handle these challenges? Would it be president McCain, president Obama or a president Clinton?
FRANCIS FUKUYAMA: Well, it is a little bit difficult. In my own thinking since I have to vote in this next election, I personally actually don't want to see a Republican re-elected because I have a general view of the way democratic processes should work and if your party is responsible for a big policy failure, you shouldn't be rewarded by being re-elected.
I think of all the Republicans, McCain in many ways is the most attractive but he is still is too, you know, he comes from the school that places too much reliance on hard military power as a means of spreading American influence.
To be fair to Fukuyama, he has -- over the past couple of years as public opposition to the war has grown to an overwhelming consensus -- become a critic of how the Iraq War was waged. Fukuyama's opposition to a reliance solely on "hard military power" goes hand in hand with his call to oppose torture and close Guantanamo Bay (which he repeats elsewhere in this interview). In that context, criticizing McCain for continuing what Fukuyama calls a failed policy is not a surprise. Now, though, one of the architects of neoconservative philosophy has publicly refused to support the candidate whose foreign policy relies upon a neoconservative perspective. With McCain disqualified, Fukuyama turns to the two candidates who have not yet conceded in the Democratic nomination battle.
I think in many ways, Hillary Clinton represents both the good and the bad things of the 1990s and there is something in the style of the Clintons that never really appealed to me and so I think of all the three, Obama probably has the greatest promise of delivering a different kind of politics.
ELEANOR HALL: That is a big shift for you, isn't it? To go from a registered Republican voter to an Obama supporter.
FRANCIS FUKUYAMA: Yeah, but I think a number of people are doing that this year because I think the world is different at this juncture and we need a different foreign policy and there is this larger question about in American politics, I do think that we are at the end of a long generational cycle that began with Reagan's election back in 1980 and I think unless you have a degree of competition and alternation in power, certain ideas and habits are going to get too entrenched.
Fukuyama goes on to give his view of what American foreign policy under Obama might look like, and is somewhat optimistic about it. This is truly remarkable. After all, Obama owes his success in large part to being a firm opponent since 2002 of what he called "dumb wars" and specifically the war in Iraq. Then again, Fukuyama may appreciate that Obama has loudly denounced the use of torture, and that Obama -- more than either Clinton or McCain -- supports making diplomatic talks a priority over sabre-rattling. Placed in the perspective of Fukuyama's comments over the past couple of years, his support for Obama makes more sense.
But this endorsement shows how much has shifted in American politics over the past four years. One of the fathers of neoconservative foreign policy now backs the candidate who fiercely denounces what neoconservativism has wrought, and whose foreign policy team is dominated by those who opposed the Iraq War at the start. Yet that is where we stand just five months before the American people decide who will succeed George W. Bush as the person who shapes American foreign policy.
If John McCain has lost Francis Fukuyama, who's next? Richard Perle? Richard Cheney?
Change is coming. And not a moment too soon.