Are the neocons going home?
By “neocons,” I refer to followers of the hawkish foreign policy school that began to coalesce in the 1970s around New York writers and academics who had rejected their Communist or Socialist lodestar to become vocal anti-Communists. By “going home,” I mean returning to the Democratic Party.
The question took shape while I was reading a profile in The New York Times about neocon light Robert Kagan – brother of Iraq “surge” architect Frederick Kagan, son of Yale professor Donald Kagan, and husband of State Department diplomat Victoria Nuland. The Times describes Robert Kagan as “the congenial and well-respected scion of one of America’s first families of interventionism.”
After 9/11, the more I learned about Islam, the less I supported the Bush-Obama nation-building counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan – high-water marks of neoconservative influence on the direction of U.S. policy and war strategy. We haven’t recovered yet.
At its root, the conceptual strategy behind these wars was driven by the universalist and globalist impulse that denies differences among peoples, religions, tribes, nations, societies of all kinds, as an ideological fundamental to justify the measures required to impose order – the “new world order” President George H.W. Bush talked about, and the “liberal world order” Kagan now discusses. It helps explain why President George W. Bush could plant empty ballot boxes in Islamic Iraq and expect the Bill of Rights and other fruits of Graeco-Roman-Judeo-Christian millennia to grow. I refer, of course, to the calamitous “democracy project” neoconservatives became particularly infamous for driving, which, since 9/11, has only made the world safe for sharia.
Do I hear an SOS from the New York Times? “Shipwrecked neocons seeking vessel to pour interventionist hopes into. Will deploy troops anywhere.”
The Times: “Mr. Kagan pointed out that he had recently attended a dinner of foreign policy experts at which Mrs. Clinton was the guest of honor, and that he had served on her bipartisan group of foreign policy heavy hitters at the State Department, where his wife worked as her spokeswoman. ‘I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,’ Mr. Kagan said, adding that the next step after Mr. Obama’s more realist approach ‘could theoretically be whatever Hillary brings to the table’ if elected president.”
Lost Whitewater files maybe? A Muslim Brotherhood Rolodex? The truth about Benghazi? Nah.
“ ‘If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue,’ he added, ‘it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that. They are going to call it something else.”
How about calling it “liberal interventionism”? I can see it now: A new ship of state under Hillary Clinton sailing home, carrying a crew of neocons-turned-liberal-interventionists.
And The New York Times will find it all Cocoa-Puffs charming.
• Diana West blogs at dianawest.net, and can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.