Skip to comments.Neocons and Small-Government Conservatives, Consciously Uncouple
Posted on 03/30/2014 9:01:53 PM PDT by WilliamIII
Once the Cold War ended it didn't make much sense for neoconservatives and small-government conservatives to remain in a coalition. But breakups take time, and post-9/11 politics briefly created the illusion that Bill Kristol and George Will belong in the same political party. I am here to tell you that they do not, even if many people who identify as small-government conservatives still don't realize it.
There are kind, intellectually honest neoconservatives who genuinely believe that their hawkish, imperial approach to foreign policy would bring about a better world. Their notion of the good is still incompatible with small-government conservatism and libertarianism. And the darkest strains in neoconservatismthe zealous defenses of torturing prisoners, for exampleare incompatible with the professed beliefs of a lot of social and religious conservatives, too. How could the GOP possibly serve the agendas of all these factions?
If neoconservatives got their way, as they did during George W. Bush's first term, the United States would spend more on its military and wage war in more countries. Neoconservatives still believe the Iraq War was a good idea. They'd have preferred to keep our troops in Afghanistan longer. They urged greater American involvement in Egypt and Libya. They wanted President Obama to intervene in Syria.
As they urge actions that would require spending tens of billions of additional dollars in the Middle East and North Africa, they also insist that NATO grant security guarantees to countries like Georgia, as if the sanctity of its borders is worth risking nuclear war. And .. they criticize the Obama Administration for not doing enough to "pivot toward Asia" in the Pacific.
Many small-government conservatives may be morally comfortable with interventionism. What they must realize is that neoconservatism's particular agenda would require dramatic tax increases, or significant borrowing
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
I am not a neocon yet I believe the Iraq War was not just a good idea, it was a justified war.
I am a neocon and small gov conservative.
I am a neocon and small gov conservative.
Can’t be a big-government man when it comes to foreign policy - i.e., always more war, such as neocon McCain wants — and be a small-government man at the same time. There’s no such thing as a free welfare program - something liberals need to learn. And there’s no such thing as a free war - something neocons need to learn.
BTW, wasn't Ronald Reagan both a defense hawk (or "neocon," as this author would say) and a small government conservative at the same time? Or at least both of those general tendencies were within his fundamental principles.
“BTW, wasn’t Ronald Reagan both a defense hawk (or “neocon,” as this author would say) and a small government conservative at the same time?”
Yes he was. You just need to pick your battles carefully, unless of course, the battle comes to you with no choice in the matter. However, I’m not an American First type like Pat Buchanan, nor am I a Rand Paul type, the Libertarian view of no military action as the default. Some wars need to be fought.
This current president is libertarian on foreign affairs and national defense.
I would prefer a conservative, like Reagan in charge.
Reagan was just a conservative, a full conservative, not all these splinter off pieces and elements of conservatism.
Reagan was the full three legs of the stool.
George Will is a big government AmnestyCon.
“Speak softly and carry a big stick” sure works a lot better than “bend over and carry a red crayon.
The Republican Party is, within itself, too far apart to stand. You can state all day that Reagan straddled both wings, but you still have to choose whether to run up trillions of debt TODAY (paid back by our children) to defend questionable allies who don’t add a bit to our security.
We spend more on “defense” (offense) than the next 13 nations combined. See http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/2014/03/30/debunking-the-gutting-of-military-storyline/
By far, the two greatest threats to America are debt, and WMD at our borders and airspace. How does defending Europe or SE Asia or Israel help with that?
Reagan was an ultra-rare person who understood that there are no liberties in a gulag, and that it’s better to fight on someone else’s land than your own.
The author of this article seems to have no idea what real Conservatives support. ....He even goes into the liberal lingo about “torturing prisoners”, when there has been no evidence of such torture. ...Just another liberal hack!
If the Iraq war was not prosecuted, Saddam Hussein would have continued working on a nuclear project. The world learned such from the CIA handler who spent a year with him while he was in prison. What would the cost have been if a nuclear device was detonated on Wall Street? How about a second one in Chicago? How about a third smuggled in by one one our illegal friends from the south of our border? Other than the military, I want our government to cut every penny it can where it is pratical. To me, Big Military does not mean Big Government. It means national survival.
Reagan didn’t “straddled both wings”, he was a full blown national defense hawk, the greatest in American history.
He helped save a world. He knew that weakness brought aggression and war, he came into office determined to rollback Soviet gains under Carter’s libertarian policies. On Reagan’s list to involve America in was, and was not limited to, Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iran, Laos, Libya, Nicaragua, and Vietnam.
He was proven right, and the USSR was defeated without nuclear war.
The Constitution left such matters as civilian healthcare & education, wholly to the States & people. There is no legitimate Federal role. (Nor can one be imagined, which respects even common sense.)
On the other hand, adequate defense was one of the principal motives for even considering a Federation of the 13 new Nations, linked by the Articles of Confederation.
But an adequate defense is not the same thing, and does not equate with crack-pot projects to redefine other nations concepts of Freedom, morality & social order. Neocons tend to embrace those crack-pot projects, American Conservatives, show better sense.
For an enunciation of the differences between traditional American foreign policy, and what we have been seeing from the last three Presidents: An American Foreign Policy.
For a specific look at George W. Bush's Second Inaugural Address, from the perspective of the ageless wisdom of George Washington: George Washington Answers George W. Bush.
For a look at Obama's abuse of the Law Of Nations in Libya: Obama & Libya.
For a look at what Bill Clinton did against Serbia in Kosovo: American Foreign Policy At The Crossroads.
Reagan's actions were all aimed at dealing with a very real threat to America's continued existence, from a determined World Communist movement. He offers no precedent for the crack-pots who seek to challenge the very concept of independent nations. Dealing with a specific enemy does not equate to dealing with peoples with whom you simply do not share common values.
Would you like the see Constitutional formal declarations of war by the Congress [not Executive workarounds like UN resolutions, Tonkin resolutions, everything on the table, authorized to use force]? I would.
I really like your insight - you can’t be a small government conservative if you are a war conservative.
Incidentally, here from 1929, is a speech by the Senator, who first rose against Wilson's League of Nations, which correctly states the true American Conservative position on adequate Defense. (Naval Appropriations Bill.)
The difference, of course, goes to the purpose of strong defense--Making the world safe for America. That is our business. The internal institutions of other peoples are not.
In Reagans first term the NeoCons peaked out. They led Reagan into Beirut where he got his nose bloodied. He shifted back to the Realists and George Schultz and Colin Powell were most influential.
But they still share power and a GOP prez's foreign policy team will have both NeoCons and Realists. Usually, Sec of State and NSA are Realists while the SecDef job goes to a NeoCon. OTOH, a dem prez will usually have Realists at SecDef and NSA and a Liberal Interventionist as Sec State.
This author and many others like to point the finger at the NeoCons, but the real problem is when the NeoCon republicans team up with the Liberal Interventionist democrats. Both of them are Idealists big on humanitarianism and nation building.
Under Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and GHW Bush, the Realists had the upper hand. Under Clinton the Liberal Interventionists rose to power and under GW Bush the NeoCons rose to power.