IVO DAALDER. Jon Chait links to this op-ed by Robert Kagan and Ivo Daalder proposing a "Concert of Democracies" to lend legitimacy to American interventions. Matt raises some compelling objections to the notion, but the broader merits of the concept aside, this from Chait caught my attention: "[The op-ed is] interesting not so much for what it says but for who says it. The co-authors are neoconservative Robert Kagan and liberal (Iraq war opponent and former Howard Dean supporter) Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution." [italics added]

Daalder was, like many many many center-left foreign policy establishment types, pretty cautious in his public commentary in the run-up to the Iraq war. But he did sign this March 19, 2003 Project for a New American Century letter, the first sentence of which reads: "Although some of us have disagreed with the administration's handling of Iraq policy and others of us have agreed with it, we all join in supporting the military intervention in Iraq." This seems like ... I dunno, tepid opposition. It is true that he was an advisor to the Dean campaign, only to jump off the bus in early 2004 and commence talking smack about the candidate along with other Brookings colleagues. But since one longstanding theme of Daalder's commentary in the last several years has been to argue that neoconservatism shouldn't be blamed for the Iraq war, it's somewhat less surprising to see him co-authoring pieces with a neoconservative. I don't raise these points to engage in the kind of ad hominem attacks for which Chait faulted liberals regarding their critiques of last week's O'Hanlon-Pollack op-ed -- just to quibble with Chait's notion that this op-ed is "interesting not so much for what it says but for who says it."

--Sam Rosenfeld