Neoconservatism is Dead
Neoconservatism is Dead
Monday, August 20,2007 19:29
By Shadi Hamid

Well, not really, but more dead than alive. Anyway, I was prompted to say something in response to Glenn Greenwald"s rather bizarre claim that

Unlike "lefty bloggers" and anyone who thinks like they do, neoconservatives are not only full-fledged members in Good Standing of the Foreign Policy Community, but are situated at its core [emphasis mine].

Maybe a handful of neocons are still around and kicking, in places like AEI perhaps. But PNAC, the former standard-bearer of the movement, appears to have fallen off the face of the earth, while analysts like Steve Clemons has documented extensively how the neocons are an embattled and dwindling minority in the Bush administration. In short, as a movement, they are significantly weaker and less respected now than they were, say, 4 years ago, which makes me wonder if Greenwald is using a different definition than I am.

Let"s also keep in mind that one of the important distinctive features of neo-conservatism (in contrast to its cousin "muscular nationalism") was a belief that America should use its influence and power - and even military force - to spread democratic ideals abroad. Even the so-called "neo-cons" who are still around aren"t talking much about this anymore. If anything, they seem to be have become increasingly comfortable (if not out outright cheerleaderish) with the fact that we"re supporting and arming brutal sunni dictatorships ("the moderates") against shia powers like Iran and Hezbollah. In raising Iran as the new evil, and in failing to speak out in any real way against our indulgent support of Arab dictators, a movement once defined by what seemed a genuine desire to help oppressed peoples rise against their rulers, has lost any internal consistency or ideological distinctiveness it might have once had. 

On the other hand, if all Greenwald means by "neo-conservative" is someone who believes we should use our military as a first resort against anyone we don"t like, then he is wrong on this count as well. If you look at the major institutions in the mainstream foreign policy community, there are few people who would seem to fit this categorization.