A Neocon’s Views Of American Power In 2012

How does a nation in economic disarray and extricating itself from two military misadventures find itself being goaded by senior officials, presidential candidates and media to start two new wars in Syria and Iran? A key remains the Neocon AgitProp engine and their internal views on American relative and objective power in today’s world. Contrary to popular belief, they didn’t go away.

Popular sentiment attributed to social media and existing strains of humanitarian interventionism ideology propel Obama’s policy as well, notably in Libya and now Syria.

But the Neocons – however diminished – agitate for two new major wars on Middle Eastern littoral. As before, Neocons today are as comfortable as Newt in dismissing the military’s considered opinion when it suits their purpose.

So what do they actually say? And how does it impact current events? Our friend at Global Paradigms examines Robert Kagan’s “The World American Made”. As you’ll see, Neocon infatuation with abstract symbology remains, as does the profound contempt for meaningful empirical analysis:

‘You are not sick,’ is the kind of reassuring message that Robert Kagan is sending to the nation’s foreign policy hypochondriacs aka ‘declinists’ in his new non-fiction book The World America Made, contending that America is in tip-top military and economic health and ready to take care of the rest of the world. He recalls that the same kind of hypochondriacs had complained that America was really, really in decline in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

Kagan, as Global Paradigms notes, is a senior advisor to the Romney campaign. But the important take away is that Kagan and many Neocon’s simply don’t believe that the American strategic position has fundamentally changed since 2003. It can get frustrating, as this graph shows:

Indeed, there is an element of the theatre of the absurd in the spectacle of Kagan, the geo-strategist who was the leading intellectual cheer-leader for the decisions to invade Iraq and launch the Freedom Agenda in the Middle East that were so central to the erosion of US global position. He is now lashing out at others for their lack of faith in American power that he had so helped to diminish so much.

The Three Amigos in the Senate, Lieberman, McCain and Graham are pushing for language that some see as trying to force Obama into war with Iran. How much easier to pursue if one believes the U.S. remains a healthy and wealthy unipolar military. Perhaps the Neocons’ greatest success is to convince people they’re not around anymore.


  1. Dr Leo Strauss says

    St. McCain openly calling for international airstrikes and overthrow of Assad. Interesting use of Libya as both precedent and cudgel for U.S. ‘leading from behind.’


    And McConnell demands military force against Iran.


    Putting aside excuse of domestic politics and handling Israel (both also factors in 2002-03 run up), the meme machine is cranking out war. And America talks about contraceptives.

  2. says

    That oedipal aspect seems to permeate the ranks of the first tier doesn’t it? Kagan, Kristol, Podhoretz, etc. The lesser tiers not so much or unnoticed.

  3. Comment says

    To use neocon terminology, Kagan is “objectively” a declinist since he pushed for declinist policies – Now he’s in some sort of oedipal struggle against his patrimony.

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