The Times piece about Hillary and the neocons, which was mentioned in the previous post here, contains a link to a long1 piece of thumbsuckery2 by the cherubic sage shown above, one Robert Kagan. Kagan of course is a second-generation neocon of impeccable pedigree, but he’s been lodged at the Brookings Institution for the last four years or so, a fact which in itself exhibits the convergence between traditional US Democratic Party liberalism and ‘neo-conservatism’. Perhaps we should start calling it neo-colliberalism.
In this piece Kagan is concerned to make the case that neoconservatism represents the continuation (assisted, perhaps, by judicious use of performance-enhancing drugs), not just of Cold War liberalism, but of Rooseveltian and even Wilsonian internationalism. It’s an easy case to make, and little Podge succeeds in making it — could have done, probably, in a quarter the length.
What is mildly interesting, and novel, in Kagan’s essay is the insistent way he links the concept of ‘realism’3 in foreign policy with the concept of isolationism. Of course isolationism is supposed to be a thoroughly discredited outlook, so ‘realism’ gets tarred with the same brush.
Now the recent dust-up over whether or not to attack Syria was seen by some (including myself) as a showdown between foreign-policy realists and neocons, in which (for once) the realists came out on top. Then too the Teabagger strain in the the Republican party apparently carries a whiff of isolationism which seems rather ominous to neocons and all their interventionist fellow-travelers. (That was pretty much the burden of the Times piece aforementioned.)
Is it possible that the arch-aggressors are feeling — politically — a bit on the defensive? How I would like to think so.
Kagan’s New Republic piece was headed by this wonderful graphic:
Looks pretty good to me, but I don’t think that’s the intended message.
(1) 13,000 words and change.
(2) In The New Republic, where else?
(3) He uses the word, or its adjectival form, twelve times.