To: William McKinley
another distinguishing characteristic is that neoconservatives put greater stock in the political and ideological aspects of conflict
This tells us nothing. Any intelligent strategist, as a result of our lessons in Vietnam, puts great stock in understanding the political and ideological aspects of a conflict. So did McArthur. So have all great strategists. This is hardly a definition of neo-conservatism, unless neo-conservatism means not being stupid.
"Puts great stock in" and "puts greater stock in" are not the same.
Let me give you a football analogy. Any intelligent football coach puts great stock in special teams and in running the ball. Bill Parcells puts greater stock in those things than most coaches.
"Any intelligent strategist, as a result of our lessons in Vietnam, puts great stock in understanding the political and ideological aspects of a conflict. So did McArthur. So have all great strategists."
The label 'neocon' is a disparaging label given to smart strategists who have developed the proper understanding of how we should respond to 9/11 and fight the War on Terror.
A pro-freedom-for-the-world Conservative like Reagan or G W Bush would be labelled 'neo-con' under this nomenclature, simply because these Presidents acted on the essential strategic doctrine of treating these conflicts as about ideas (eg Bush: "they hate us for our freedom" recognizing the ideological divide is fundamental); recognized the best defense is a good offense; and implemented interventionist pro-freedom foreign policies that had a goal of defeating the enemy (not accomodating it).
Such doctrine is a result of understanding the essential ideological basis of both the Cold War and our current War on Terror.
The author is correct and you are correct.
" This is hardly a definition of neo-conservatism, unless neo-conservatism means not being stupid."
It certainly seems to be the case that neo-conservatism means not being stupid. Indeed, all of conservatism means not being stupid, if you consider what we are up against in the Democrats!
In foreign policy, this is avoiding the stupidity of carter's polyanna-ish vision that foolishly puts moral equivalence between us and tyrants on the one hand and self-defeating isolationism on the other hand.
The neo-con and interventionist conservatives' enemies today are neo-isolationists, the Left Wing of the Democrat party, and the BBC and other trite media. All desperately trying to find the worst possible reasons to do the wrong things in the War on Terror. All ignoring the great lessons we learned in the Cold War.
So yeah, you *could* say "A neo-con foreign policy is about not being stupid when you fight a great evil." And as I said, "neo-con" is just a disparaging placeholder these days for "robust pro-freedom activism".
posted on 09/28/2003 8:29:15 PM PDT
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