Today's neo-conservatives unite around three common themes:
1. A belief deriving from religious conviction that the human condition is defined as a choice between good and evil and that the true measure of political character is to be found in the willingness by the former (themselves) to confront the latter.
2. An assertion that the fundamental determinant of the relationship between states rests on military power and the willingness to use it.
3. A primary focus on the Middle East and global Islam as the principal theater for American overseas interests. In putting these themes into practice, neo-conservatives:
1. Analyze international issues in black-and-white, absolute moral categories. They are fortified by a conviction that they alone hold the moral high ground and argue that disagreement is tantamount to defeatism.
2. Focus on the "unipolar" power of the United States, seeing the use of military force as the first, not the last, option of foreign policy. They repudiate the "lessons of Vietnam," which they interpret as undermining American will toward the use of force, and embrace the "lessons of Munich," interpreted as establishing the virtues of preemptive military action.
3. Disdain conventional diplomatic agencies such as the State Department and conventional country-specific, realist, and pragmatic, analysis. They are hostile toward nonmilitary multilateral institutions and instinctively antagonistic toward international treaties and agreements. "Global unilateralism" is their watchword. They are fortified by international criticism, believing that it confirms American virtue.