The Times, they are a-Kagan


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.

13 thoughts on “The Times, they are a-Kagan

  1. What the neocons really fear is that isolationism isn’t a slur anymore. As you note, the teabaggers seems just fine with it, as does some of what we like to call The Left. Related, what the neocons fear even more deeply is waning enthusiasm for the Jewish State, not least among young American Jews who seems to have little affinity for — not to mention stomach for — a right-wing, violent, settler outpost.

    The NYT’s (wishful?) thinking notwithstanding, it doesn’t strike me that we’re living in a Neocon Moment. Yes, the institutions are still mostly neocon. But the public isn’t.

  2. you can blame militant blacks:
    Once a liberal Democrat, Professor Kagan changed his views in 1969. According to Jim Lobe, cited by Craig Unger, Kagan’s turn away from liberalism occurred in 1969 when Cornell University was pressured into starting a Black Studies program by gun-wielding militants seizing the Willard Straight Hall: “Watching administrators demonstrate all the courage of Neville Chamberlain had a great impact on me, and I became much more conservative.”[2] He was one of the original signers of the 1997 Statement of Principles by the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century.[3] On the eve of the 2000 presidential elections, Kagan and his son, Frederick Kagan, published While America Sleeps, a call to increase defense spending.
    Yale Pound Sterling Professor of Classics, National Humanities Merit Baby Award Winner, certified Neville Chamberlain basher, et, helas! vivait en se multipliant. i hope some militant blacks in New Haven drive by his house regularly in the middle of night honking their horns, blasting their rap music, and throwing empty 40’s of Steel Reserve on his lawn.

    • That’s Kagan pere, Donald, one of the first generation of neocons, like Saul Bellow, another old fart deeply frightened by black people. My Kagan — Robert — is Donald’s son.

      Donald wrote a stupefyingly tedious four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War. I don’t know how anybody could make the Peloponnesian War boring, but Donald managed it. Of course, setting yourself up as a competitor of Thucydides is asking for trouble.

      • i should have made clear donnie is the original of his two clones, robbie & freddy. the origins of war is clearly not enough defense spending.

    • Are they really scared? Or protecting themselves? The blacks are known to be temperamental, irrational, violent and rapey. I always cross the street when I see one. Then I call the police to let them know there’s one on the loose.

  3. I’ve always thought neocons are basically Upper West Side once-liberal nebbishes who got their lunch money taken by black kids one time too many. And now they overcompensate with fantasies of Iron Domes and Operations Lead.

  4. This must be aimed at Walt and Mearsheimer. They’re the only realists of note that I can think of.

    I’m surprised that you didn’t note that Robbie’s wife was/is a major player for Clinton and Obama at State. She was given the honor of picking the next leader of Ukraine.

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