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Neoconservatism is a somewhat controversial term referring to the political goals and ideology of the "new conservatives" in the United States.
- Our "neoconservatives" are neither new nor conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell.
- Edward Abbey, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness: Vox Clamantis in Deserto: Notes from a Secret Journal. Rosetta Books. 2015. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-7953-4554-8.
- The irony of the neocons, who couldn’t hold onto Iraq or Afghanistan over the course of two decades, babbling about how Russia has failed after a single week of military operations on a grand scale, should not escape you.
- At the same time, Kissinger, Carter and détente were condemned as weakening the West by a group of conservative Democrats led by Henry (Scoop) Jackson, a critic of SALT, as well as by key Republicans who were influential in the Ford administration (1974–7), notably his Chief of Staff, Richard (Dick) Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. They drew on advice from commentators such as Richard Perle, Richard Pipes and Paul Wolfowitz who warned about Soviet intentions. The continuity of this group, through 1990s’ opposition to Clintonian liberal internationalism, to the neo-conservative activism of the early 2000s, especially against Iraq, is notable.
- Jeremy Black, The Cold War: A Military History (2015)
- [N]eoconservatism at its root is basically just saying what’s good is good for everybody. Not everybody all the time, and not everybody at the exact right level to absorb these ideas but freedom is not something that's limited.
- Black's 1,300-page biography has had stellar reviews. Historians from Alan Brinkley to Daniel Yergin have hailed it as the best single volume on the many perplexing aspects of FDR's political life. A belligerent neo-con before it was fashionable, Black has paradoxically contrived to write an admiring appraisal of Roosevelt's pre-Pearl Harbor reluctance to fight the Nazis and the economic interventionism of the New Deal for which neo-cons of the '30s bitterly reviled FDR as "that man".
- Tina Brown, Company Hates Misery.
- What the heck is a neocon anyway in 2003? A friend of mine suggests it means the kind of right-winger a liberal wouldn't be embarrassed to have over for cocktails. That's as good a definition as any, since the term has clearly come unmoored from its original meaning. ... In social policy, it stands for a broad sympathy with a traditionalist agenda and a rejection of extreme libertarianism. Neocons have led the charge to combat some of the wilder excesses of academia and the arts. But there is hardly an orthodoxy laid down by Neocon Central. I, for one, am not eager to ban either abortion or cloning, two hot-button issues on the religious right. On economic matters, neocons--like pretty much all other Republicans, except for Mr. Buchanan and his five followers--embrace a laissez-faire line, though they are not as troubled by the size of the welfare state as libertarians are.
- There's no "neo" in my conservatism.
- Inside the administration are Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Their agenda is known as "neoconservatism," though a more accurate term might be "hard Wilsonianism." Advocates of this view embrace Woodrow Wilson's championing of American ideals but reject his reliance on international organizations and treaties to accomplish our objectives.
- A Democrat who has infiltrated the Republican Party.
- If anything, Washington’s neoconservatives have an unerring instinct for survival. Having brought about multiple disasters in the two decades since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, from the Iraq war to the twin debacles in Libya and Syria, the neocons seem to have perfected the art of failing up.
- James Carden, Neocons bent on starting another disaster in Ukraine, Asia Times, 15 December 2021
- The Americans occupying Iraq couldn’t even admit to themselves they were colonialists. Instead, the State Department dressed up the whole operation like it was a kind of armed sensitivity training seminar, designed to liberate Iraqi women from their traditional gender roles: “Now that we’ve overthrown Saddam, we march ahead to overthrow the patriarchy!” The result was failure, accompanied by chaos on every level. Watching it, I realized that there was nothing conservative about neoconservatism. The neocons were just liberals with guns, the most destructive kind. The upside of the trip was that I made a lifelong friend. To this day I’m close to Kelly McCann, the retired Marine officer who guided me in Iraq. He’s still one of the most impressive people I know.
- Tucker Carlson, The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism (2021)
- You know, I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over. I don't believe he went in there for oil. We didn't go in there for imperialist or financial reasons. We went in there because he bought the Wolfowitz-Cheney analysis that the Iraqis would be better off, we could shake up the authoritarian Arab regimes in the Middle East, and our leverage to make peace between the Palestinians and Israelis would be increased.
- Bill Clinton, Interview with Time, June 2004
- If you are against war, you must act today. If the US reimposes the draft, you may be called to serve and to kill. And if the thought of killing to satisfy neocon blood thirst, government control of oil and oil pipelines, or US global hegemony offends your conscious, you must begin preparations to defend your soul.
- Jim Fedako, Why Kill for Biden?, Mises Institute, 21 March 2022
- That war in the early 1990s changed a lot for me. I never thought I would see, in Europe, a full-dress reprise of internment camps, the mass murder of civilians, the reinstitution of torture and rape as acts of policy. And I didn't expect so many of my comrades to be indifferent – or even take the side of the fascists. It was a time when many people on the left were saying 'Don't intervene, we'll only make things worse' or, 'Don't intervene, it might destabilise the region. And I thought – destabilisation of fascist regimes is a good thing. Why should the left care about the stability of undemocratic regimes? Wasn't it a good thing to destabilise the regime of General Franco? It was a time when the left was mostly taking the conservative, status quo position – leave the Balkans alone, leave Milosevic alone, do nothing. And that kind of conservatism can easily mutate into actual support for the aggressors. Weimar-style conservatism can easily mutate into National Socialism. So you had people like Noam Chomsky's co-author Ed Herman go from saying 'Do nothing in the Balkans', to actually supporting Milosevic, the most reactionary force in the region. That's when I began to first find myself on the same side as the neocons. I was signing petitions in favour of action in Bosnia, and I would look down the list of names and I kept finding, there's Richard Perle. There's Paul Wolfowitz. That seemed interesting to me. These people were saying that we had to act. Before, I had avoided them like the plague, especially because of what they said about General Sharon and about Nicaragua. But nobody could say they were interested in oil in the Balkans, or in strategic needs, and the people who tried to say that – like Chomsky – looked ridiculous. So now I was interested.
- Christopher Hitchens, "In enemy territory? An interview with Christopher Hitchens.", Interview with Johann Hari (2004-09-23): On the Bosnian War
- Let me repeat that the absurd thing about the anti-Islam neo-conservatives is that they are invariably supporters of unrestricted migration, the means by which Islam has quite peacefully established itself as a permanent, growing major social, religious and political force in our country. If Sharia law comes to Britain, as Mr Jacubs fears, it will not be because of violent actions such as the Woolwich outrage, which I think we can safely assume were condemned and disowned by most British Muslims. It will be as the result of the entirely peaceful establishment of a sizeable Muslim population in this country.
- Peter Hitchens, "Another attempt at reasoning with Mr Jacubs and the neo-cons", The Daily Mail, 28 December 2013
- The neocons who dominate the State Department and CIA see the war as a means of asserting American dominance over the world economy, starting with its own NATO partners. The problem with this view is that although America’s military-industrial, oil and agricultural monopolies are benefitting, the rest of the U.S. economy is being squeezed by the inflationary pressures resulting from boycotting Russian gas, grain and other raw-materials exports, and the enormous rise in the military budget will be used as an excuse to cut back social spending programs.
- When progressives remain silent and don’t talk about why the war in Syria is illegal, then into the void step in neocons like Lindsey Graham. Any wonder that our nation remains mired in endless war. Let’s have the guts to stand for responsible withdrawal.
- ...one can say that the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.
- [I]n America today, responsible liberals—who are usually called neoconservatives—see that liberalism depends on human beings who are somewhat child-centered, patriotic, and religious. These responsible liberals praise these non-individualistic human propensities in an effort to shore up liberalism. One of their slogans is 'conservative sociology with liberal politics.' The neoconservatives recognize that the politics of free and rational individuals depends upon a pre-political social world that is far from free and rational as a whole.
- Peter Lawler, ""Liberal Conservatism, Not Conservative Liberalism" (2003), The Intercollegiate Review
- Analogies from history must, of course, be treated with care. Using the wrong one not only can present an oversimplified picture of a complex situation in the present but can lead to wrong decisions. After September 11, 2001, it became fashionable, especially among neo- Conservatives, to talk about how the West finds itself engaged in World War IV. Norman Podhoretz, a leading neo-con thinker, argued that the Cold War was really World War III and that now, after a too-brief period of peace in the 1990s, we are engaged in an equally massive and deadly struggle against Islamic fundamentalism. Like the other world wars, the United States and its allies are the innocent party; others have thrust war upon them. The West is only defending itself, even in wars like the Iraq one where it launched the attack. In such a view, the war is a moral one, of good against bad. A convenient shorthand, the authorship of which is proudly claimed by the Canadian David Frum, is the “Axis of Evil.” No matter that the Axis in World War II was a working set of alliances between Germany, Italy, and Japan and that this one is said to include Iraq and Iran, countries that waged a long war against each other in the 1980s, and North Korea, whose leaders probably have trouble finding their two reputed partners on the map. No matter, too, that the Cold War was not like the great military struggles of the two world wars and did not end with an armistice on the battlefields but with the collapse of one of the protagonists. Those who criticize the open-ended and ill-defined nature of the “war on terror” or the occupation of Iraq are dismissed as isolationists, cowards, or worse. Reviewing Podhoretz’s recent work, World War IV: The Long Struggle against Islamofascism, Ian Buruma wrote: “The book expresses a weird longing for the state of war, for the clarity it brings, and for the chance to divide one’s fellow citizens, or indeed the whole world, neatly into friends and foes, comrades and traitors, warriors and appeasers, those who are with us and those who are against.”
- Margaret MacMillan, The Uses and Abuses of History (2008), pp. 175-177
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's rush to judgement that Iran was behind the apparent attacks on two tanker ships last week has not galvanized world opinion against Iran, as the neocons hoped. Instead, it was met with high skepticism even among Washington's closest allies. Has the neocon practice of massively exaggerating and endlessly issuing threats finally destroyed US credibility on the world stage?
- Lies are nothing new to politics. It's arguable that neoconservatives have lied to us on a regular basis on a variety of issues, ranging from foreign policy to the supposed destruction of the nuclear family, which they claim would result from allowing homosexuals the same rights held by heterosexuals. But in each of these cases, the lie's impact is diminished by a healthy level of scepticism. The most successful lie propagated by neoconservatives would have to be the conclusion that they are fiscal conservatives.
- [N]eo-conservatism is a quintessentially Jewish project: a re-sanctification in everyday life of the core values of western civilisation, and the achievement of human potential through virtuous practice.
- George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the neoconservatives should all hold a special place in the hall of shame for mass killers for what they did to Iraq.
- Neoconservatism has actually been based on the following ideological premises. First is the assumption that political democracy is the best of all possible institutions... Second is the assumption that a market economy, with almost unregulated capitalism, is the best possible economic system... While the praise of political democracy and the free market has been an essential part of American political tradition, this was not the case with imperial expansion, the major shibboleth of neoconservative faith. This latter has made neoconservatism absolutely different from all previous brands of American conservatism.
- Before the Iraq war I was quite disturbed by some of the neoconservatives, who were saying things like, "What is the point of being a superpower if you can't do such-and-such, take on these responsibilities?" The point of being a superpower is that people will leave you alone.
- Mr. Breivik, his writings suggest, would have been reluctant to describe himself as a fascist — a common feature of European far-right discourse. He wrote: "I equate multiculturalism with the other hate-ideologies: Nazism (anti-Jewish), communism (anti-individualism) and Islam (anti-Kaffir)." These ideas, it is important to note, were echoes of ideas in mainstream European neo-conservatism. In 1978, the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, famously referred to popular fears that Britain "might be swamped by people of a different culture." In 1989, Ms Thatcher asserted that "human rights did not begin with the French Revolution." Instead, they "really stem from a mixture of Judaism and Christianity"— in other words, faith, not reason.
- Why is it the Mongols of this world always tell us they're defending us against the Mongols?
- Edward Whittemore, Nile Shadows (1983).