In interviews and on the stump, Sen.
Every time we topple a dictator, Cruz argues, we end up helping terrorists or extremists.
He has a point. But what interests me is his use of the word "neocon." What does he really mean?
Some see dark intentions. "He knows that the term in the usual far-left and far-right parlance means warmonger, if not warmongering Jewish advisers, so it is not something he should've done," former
I think that's all a bit overblown. Cruz is just trying to criticize his opponent
But Abrams is right -- and Cruz surely knows -- that for many people "neocon" has become code for suspiciously Hebraic super-hawk. It's an absurd distortion.
At first, neocons weren't particularly associated with foreign policy. They were intellectuals disillusioned by the folly of the Great Society. As
Kristol later argued that neoconservatism was not an ideology but a "persuasion."
The neocon belief in democracy promotion grew out of disgust with
During the Cold War, neocons weren't any more hawkish than anyone else on the right. They were advocating containment of the
Even through the late 1990s, neocons were far from outliers in their belief that
After 9/11, some neoconservative intellectuals had off-the-shelf foreign policy ready for
The association between neoconservatism and Jews stems partly from the fact that the first neocons were mostly Jewish, partly from the reality that they are all to this day -- gentiles included -- pro-
Today the neocon sociological persuasion is simply part of the conservative mainstream. The idea that self-identified neocons are uniformly more "pro-war" than other conservatives is ludicrous.
Granted, neoconservatives contribute to the confusion. They like to claim that the alternative to their approach amounts to "isolationism" -- another horribly misused word. Rubio recently leveled that charge at Cruz.
Cruz, for his part, says he wants to "carpet-bomb ISIS" until the "sand glows." There are many criticisms one can level at the position, but isolationist isn't one of them.
Neoconservatism is a product of the Cold War. It's understandable that neoconservative intellectuals who helped win the Cold War might want to hold onto the label, but it's time to give it a comfortable retirement in the history books.
Meanwhile, the right is having a long overdue, and valuable, argument about how to conduct foreign policy. Keep it going, just leave neoconservatism out of it.