I was going to respond to initial points that I saw on the most recent page, but I figured it would be best to quickly start from beginning to explain some things and be done with them just in case it could have the tendency to derail a thread.
I have not, unlike most of America it seems, been able to closely follow the events surrounding Egypt. Likewise, I have not been able to read prominent thinker's positions on the matter. I am only speaking in generalities with temperament in the past.You have a point. FOX has been leaning more and more towards supporting Mubarak in light of a possible Muslim Brotherhood takeover. This is a lack of vision and a lack of true wisdom, which is proof that people's idea of the "NeoCon" has been wrong all along.
You will find it relatively common to see supposedly neoconservative foreign policy thinkers come to differing conclusions on who they support and why. To some degree it can be a splitting of hairs, but like some scholars would mention about the Lincoln/Douglas debates, some of those differences become paramount to each person.
There is perhaps some loaded wording here. The dichotomy between "chief ally" and "pragmatic self-interested principles" are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For instance, many neoconservatives came to the conclusion that it was immensely pragmatic to support Israel in ways that others found "Dual loyalty."I think the splintering is largely occurring between those conservatives who consider Israel our primary ally in the region versus those who are more pragmatic and believe that we are best served by being true to our principles, regardless of the short term outcome.
I guess I'm in the latter camp. Israel is an ally, but Israel routinely acts in their perceived best interest without consideration for how their actions will impact us. In some ways, Israel has been extremely detrimental to our national interests.
To some extent, you are correct: neoconservatism is not opposed to government. Where your interpretation comes apart is with how it is to be used. For instance, domestic neoconservatives might take issue with others labeled neoconservative who embrace policy positions so readily without a deal of skepticism.Actually, strangely enough, it just furthers what my view of a Neo-conservative is. A form of conservatism that see's the government not as something that should be minimized, but as a tool that should be used...domestically and internationally...to institute the moral and legislative based ideas you have that you believe is best for the countries longevity and security and that said ideals are more important than growth of government, reduction of liberty, or cost in dollars. In this instance, the "threat of islamofascism" is to them a greater hinderance to their goals than the "spreading of democracy" is a boon, and as such they are shifting their view point to accomodate.
To me, a neo-conservative is one who has little care for the governmental and fiscal sides of conservatism unless it suits them, an absolute extremist and somewhat distorted conservative view when it comes to the pillar of defense, and a similarly twisted and extreme view with regards to the social side all unified by a belief that ignoring, or outright rejection, of the first two pillars I stated in advancement of the latter two is worth while.
I think in general people are in the right ballpark with how they use the word Neo-Con when its used as anything other than a mindless insult. The problem is that, one, like any political philosophy there is some wiggle room and two, most of the time people just use it as a mindless insult.
So think of these two statements first (don't embrace the statements fully, because we are human after all)....
"A liberal can easily rejoin that neoconservatives are equally disposed to accept dubious or nonexistent data about the beneficent effects of capitalism, the great value of school choice, and the crime reduction effects of punishment. My response is that when they do this they are not being good neoconservatives."-James Q. Wilson
"We were never enthusiasts."-Nathan Glazer
To some extent, one wing of the Neoconservative persuasion, if you will, changed over during the Carter years. Those of the Scoop Jackson base probably felt like CDM felt after meeting with Carter and getting stuck with a post in Micronesia...circa late 1970s-1980. Others of the foreign policy neoconservative persuasion (I feel like I am doing some injustice here, since models have holes, and calling foreign policy neoconservatism one thing is rather....simplistic) moved earlier or later. The neoconservative foreign policy "agenda" (there's a problem here) was not always about pushing Democracy. Early on it was quite fine supporting regimes we felt were less than savory. Think of it this way, to them, on the other side of the fence, you had the New Left and other radicals perfectly fine with sympathizing with awful regimes of the socialist/communist variety, but damned opposed to less than savory American-supported regimes of the authoritarian variety. They were saying "hey, these folks actually help us, why on earth would an American want a regime that works against us and supports the USSR?" They could further rationalize it, but eventually, with, perhaps Paul Wolfowitz, the winds began to change some more. Wolfowitz argued that the issue of Human Rights, unlike many in the New Left and Conservative camps were not meant for just, one side or the other, but rather we should support regimes that do good for its people and treat them right. Around that time during the late Carter and early Reagan years, Wolfowitz (not to say he was the only one) kind of changed the notion of what our foreign policy could look like.NeoCons were origainaly on the Left. They defected to the Republican base under Carter. They were against allowing Saddam Huessin his throne in 1991 (at a time when Rumsfeld and Cheney supported his containment.) When Rumsfeld and Cheny began seeing the short sighted error in the late 90s they began to lobby President Clinton to take out Hussein. In 2003, they get to be labeled "NeoCons?"
How people have evolved to use it is wrong. The NeoCon agenda has always been about pushing democracy abroad with the absolute acknowledgement that it goes to serve our long term interests and security. It's these same short sighted dimwits, who are more scared of the Muslim Brotherhood and instability, that people still label as "NeoCons."
Now, what people have to realize is, these guys are thinkers...academics, intellectuals, etc. Even though intellectuals and academics can have the tendency to shun differing opinions, for themselves, they like to think they have the ability to come up with their own framework. This means you will see some differences in opinion for what an American foreign policy should look like. Irving Kristol came to different conclusions (for at least a little bit) than what his son came to, etc.
Finally, simply speaking, it was indeed a reaction to American liberal politics from the 1950s-1980s, and today. During that time, we have to acknowledge that with time, much becomes "liberal" or "conservative". Some liberals, who hold mostly the same views from FDR/Kennedy era are labeled "conservative" by 1965-1972. Many "neoconservatives" who grew up realizing they were "more conservative" than someone, they are conservatives and always saw themselves as some form of conservative. So yes, most of the dialogue from "neoconservatives" to their audience was typically supposed to be to other liberals or New Leftists, but over time that changed to them speaking to conservatives and liberals alike, or just conservatives.