A Neocon, Then and Now


It seems there’s been a recent attempt to claim Irving Kristol was not a neoconservative, at least on foreign policy.  It’s in an article in The New Republic, which is hardly surprising.

Personally, it strikes me as very wrong-headed, for the reasons I’ve discussed before, and which Matt Yglesias expresses more briefly in his reaction to the article.

That is: Irving was a militarist and an American exceptionalist, just like his son and the rest of the current crop of neocons.  He looked at world problems and saw the American military as the solution.  Anything that constrained the American military’s free play was bad.  That included things like diplomacy, negotiation, compromise, international law, etc.  The solution to any foreign policy problem was Americans killing people and destroying property that didn’t belong to them.  Rules were for other nations.  Which is to say he wanted an American hegemony.

In all of that, he is indistinguishable from today’s neocons, who are his direct heirs.


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