April 1, 2009

The new neocon alliance with Obama

Is there a “neo-isolationist” tendency on both the left and right wings of the American political spectrum? As Foreign Policy’s Laura Rozen has reported, the founders of Foreign Policy Initiative, a new advocacy group, think so—and it would be naïve, as far as we presently know, to think differently. So some prominent neocons such as former Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, and national security writer Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, have vowed to counter that tendency and decided to intervene in support of President Obama’s Afghanistan policy.

And this is what Jacob Heilbrunn—the author of the newly released, They Knew They Were Right: the Rise of the Neocons, and a senior editor at the National Interest—has to say in The Huffington Post:

It's clear that that neoconservatives are staking out a new course and want to retain an influential voice in foreign policy. Their latest strategy is to move closer to Obama. Kagan has already expressed his admiration for what he sees as Obama's determination to ensure that America remains No. 1 around the globe.
The idea that the intellectual champions of the Iraq War are now trying to reach an alliance with Obama is certainly a tribute to neocon audacity. But it's also an inevitable development. The neocons have always been interventionists first, then conservatives. In fact, many traditional conservatives argue that there isn't much that's conservative about neoconservatism. In any case, the neocons aren't going away.
For now, the founding of the Foreign Policy Initiative suggests that there will be a fierce battle for the soul of the Obama administration between liberal hawks and neocons, on the one side, and between anti-interventionist progressives, on the other, over policy towards Afghanistan, Russia, China, and Iran.
Who's going to win it?

An interesting question, don’t you think?

1 comment:

  1. A lot of people don't understand who neo-conservatives are and where they came from. They were Democrats to begin with, basically in agreement, and in some cases allied with, the late Senator Scoop Jackson. Their worldview, in simplistic terms, was more liberal in domestic policy and more conservative/interventionist in foreign policy. As the Democratic Party slipped leftward and became less rational, in policy terms, they gravitated toward the Republican Party. Loyalty to a particular party or political orientation was never their attitude; they're focused on policy issues and will support whomever they feel is right. So, given that Obama's announced policy stance on Afghanistan is openly interventionist and transformative, their support should be no surprise.

    Liberal/Democrat demonization of neo-conservatives in recent years has obscured the reality of who they are. Whether one agrees or disagrees with them (and I usually disagree), at least their views on policy have been consistent.

    And by the way, it might surprise some to know that one of the original neo-conservative Democrats was the much-admired Daniel Patrick Moynihan.