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Let's define "neoconservative." [View All]

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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-28-04 10:28 PM
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Let's define "neoconservative."
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I see this term bandied about here quite a bit, seems to have degraded to anyone who is conservative, pro Republican or a supporter of the shrub.

I understand the actual definition of "neoconservative" to have a much more narrow and specific meaning. Neoconservatism refers specifically to a foreign policy stance designed to create and preserve American hegemony in the post Coldwar environment, specifically through a strong military and a demonstrated willingness or even eagerness to use it. It justifies the use of "preemptive war" to achieve these goals. According to this philosophy, whatever means including military can and should be used to not only address actual/potential threats to the U.S. but even to prevent the possible emergence of rivals to U.S. power.

The tenets of neoconservative foreign policy are probably best documented in the various letters and position papers of the Project for a New American Century, the organization which contained some of neoconservative's most influential proponents such as Wolfowitz and Perle:

http://newamericancentury.org /

It has since become manifest in the National Security Strategy of the United States under Bush, published in 2002, with the new emphasis on preemptive or "preventive war":

http://www.cdi.org/national-security-strategy/washingto...

The origins of the movement are attributed to Professor Leon Strauss at the University of Chicago. Administration neocons include Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz (DOD), Shulsky/Feith (Defense Intelligence), Perle (Defense Policy Board), Elliot Abrams (NSA). Neocon policies, and the fact that many of the prominent neocons are Jewish, have led to accusations by some critics of excessive fealty to Israel by the neocons (e.g. Pat Buchanan), and to accusations of its critics as anti-Semites by some (e.g. David Brooks in the NYT).

I believe the term "neoconservative" refers to the fact that many of the practitioners had leftist or socialist politics in an earlier life, and that these ideological backgrounds underpin the activist nature of neocon foreign policy.

This is my understanding of this very dangerous movement. I understand neoconservatism to involve specifically foreign policy and is not to my knowledge related to domestic policies like tax cuts for the rich or Bible thumping conservative social agendas. I think we should strive to be very accurate in describing who or what we are opposing. Any further enlightenment or correction of this definition is welcome on this thread.

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