Over the past several months, a certain intolerance has crept into the rhetoric of leading neoconservative publications and writers. This intolerance has become particularly noticeable since February's neoconservative-supported overthrow of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and US President Barack Obama's neoconservative-supported decision to commit US forces to battle against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in March.
The basic concept being propounded by leading neoconservative writers and publications is that anyone who disagrees with neoconservative policies is an isolationist. A notable recent example of this tendency was a blog post published on Wednesday by Commentary Magazine's Executive Editor Jonathan Tobin regarding the emerging contours of Texas Governor Rick Perry's foreign policy views.
After listing various former Bush administration officials who are advising Perry on foreign affairs, Tobin concluded, "Perry might have more in common with the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party than the isolationists."
While this is may be true, it is certainly true that the neoconservatives and the isolationists are not the only foreign policy wings in the Republican Party. Indeed, most Republicans are neither isolationists nor neoconservatives.
Isolationism broadly speaking is the notion that the US is better off withdrawing to fortress America and leaving the rest of the world's nations to fight it out among themselves. The isolationist impulse in the US is what caused the US to enter both world wars years after they began. It is what has propelled much of the anti-war sentiment on the far Left and the far Right alike since Sept.11. The far Left argues the US should withdraw from world leadership because the US is evil. And the far Right argues that the US should withdraw from world leadership because the world is evil.
Neoconservatism broadly speaking involves the adoption of a muscular US foreign policy in order to advance the cause of democracy and freedom worldwide. Wilsonian in its view of the universal nature of the human impulse to freedom, neoconservatives in recent years have wholeheartedly embraced the notion that if given a chance to make their sentiments known, most people will choose liberal democracy over any other form of government.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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