Neoconservative

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Neoconservatives, especially members of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) are members of the dominant ideological clique in the second Bush administration. Prominent neoconservatives have included Republicans such as Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush. The term itself is often abbreviated "Neo-Con".

The ideology represents a break from the foreign policy views of pre-Vietnam Conservatives, a minority of whom were isolationist while a majority preferred to focus American foreign policy on East Asia and Latin America. There are several key components to Neoconservativism:

1. "Moral clarity" on foreign policy, that is, that there are "good" and "evil" forces in the world, where "good" is defined in strongly Right-Wing, often explicitly Christian Right terms. It is the responsibility of "good" nations to oppose "evil" (which can be Global Terrorism, Communism, Socialism, and governments with a general anti-US or anti-Western viewpoint).

2. A willingness to use intense pressure as well as force to spread Democracy and American values, as understood by Neo-Cons. Again, this is a very Right-Wing, often Christian Right vision of the meaning of these terms, entirely at odds with Liberal/Progressive views. Unilateralism is key to this program. Neoconservatives share the traditional conservative view that international institutions are untrustworthy. The war in Iraq, promoted long before the Bush Administration came into office, and even longer before 9/11, was initially considered a "stepping stone" to victories in Iran, Syria, and beyond. Neo-conservatives prefer a ramped-up defense budget.

3. Pre-emptive "defense". Neo-conservatives prefer when the United States starts wars in the name of defense. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 justified many of the claims of Neo-Conservatives.

Neo-conservatives are generally opposed to social and economic programs. They often characterize themselves as "Reagan Republicans"---conservative on social issues and in favor of big tax cuts favoring the wealthy.

A good overview of Neoconservatism can be found in this biography of Paul Wolfowitz.

“The neo-conservatism of the 1980s is a replay of the New Conservatism of the 1950s, which was itself a replay of the New Era philosophy of the 1920s” (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.)

Many of the current generation of Neo-conservatives, including Wolfowitz and Pearl, began their careers as Democrats, but abandoned the party during the Carter era due to its supposed softness on Communism and bias against Israel. Some still idealize the aggressive foreign policy of Cold War Democrats such as JFK and Henry "Scoop" Jackson (for whom Wolfowitz worked). The watershed moment may have been the defection to Reagan's Republican party of Jeanne Kirkpatrick, whose article "Dictatorship and Double Standards" remains one of the most important statements of Neo-conservative philosophy.


See also Neoconservativism

Related articles

External links

  • Origin of the Specious: Why do neoconservatives doubt Darwin? (Reason Online)
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