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Over ‘neocons’


Karen Hamakers – Zondag: neocons  –  www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-ojxUBRMs0


 ‘ The neoconservatives were originally part of the broad anti Communist coalition that dominated American liberalism from the late 1940s until the late 1960s. The core of this book is the story of how they maintained their hard line anti Communism, gradually broke with what they viewed as a dangerous turn to the left during the 1970s by liberalism and the Democratic party, and regained their influence as part of President Ronald Reagan’s conservative coalition during the 1980s. In addition, I seek to illustrate the problems of intellectuals when they move beyond their customary arenas of abstract ideas and small magazines and try to operate in the real world of party politics, where principle often must give way to compromise or expediency.

In telling this tale, I will make three main points. The first is that the neoconservatives of the 1970s and 1980s were still representative of the cold war liberalism—often called the vital center—that developed after World War II. Second, I argue that the neoconservatives’ anti Communism was accompanied by a belief in the superiority of American democratic values. Their view of democracy, or what they often referred to as liberal democracy, was essentially that developed by Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in his books Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932) and The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness (1945). According to Niebuhr, because human behavior in groups tends toward tyranny, reason and rationality are poor guides to political action and ”moral and constitutional checks” are necessary restraints. Consequently, while they saw the American constitutional system as a model which other peoples could aspire to follow, the neoconservatives remained reluctant to try to impose it on other countries. Third, I will show how these strains of thought worked together in the 1980s, when many neoconservatives held office under President Reagan, to reinforce the administration’s anti Communist outlook while also moving it toward a policy of actively assisting foreign governments or groups trying to develop democratic institutions of their own.


Arch Puddington (August 1995): The Rise of Neoconservatism, by John Ehrman; Cold War Illusions, by Dana H. Allin.


Dana H. Allin (1994, Cold War Illusions: America, Europe and Soviet Power 1969-1989) geredigeerd citaat:  “This study is an intellectual history concerned with the manner in which intellectual fashion can distort a nation’s strategic and political debates. It examines, one might say, the power of a bad idea.
One consequence of writing a history of ideas is that one tends to take the ideas themselves at face value, rather than considering them as covers for more venal purposes. In researching this study, I have not looked for conspiracies to manufacture an exaggerated Soviet threat in order to support the military-industrial complex, the personal power ofa politician or even America’s position of global leadership. No doubt such considerations played a role in individual cases. But most of the conservative policymakers and analysts in this history were manifestly people of good will. They were inspired not by malice, but by conviction. Their convictions, however, in the matter of a growing Soviet threat, were wrong.”








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