Neoconservatism and its alternatives
Occasionally, we need to step back from the far Left's perpetual mudslinging and ask, "What are the alternatives to a neoconservative national security policy?" Charles Krauthammer takes an inventory of those tried and failed options in an excellent column titled The Neoconservative Convergence:
The post-cold-war era has seen a remarkable ideological experiment: over the last fifteen years, each of the three major American schools of foreign policy—realism, liberal internationalism, and neoconservatism—has taken its turn at running things. (A fourth school, isolationism, has a long pedigree, but has yet to recover from Pearl Harbor and probably never will; it remains a minor source of dissidence with no chance of becoming a governing ideology.) There is much to be learned from this unusual and unplanned experiment.As with most of Krauthammer's work, it's worth reading the whole thing.
The era began with the senior George Bush and a classically realist approach. This was Kissingerism without Kissinger—although Brent Scowcroft, James Baker, and Lawrence Eagleburger filled in admirably. The very phrase the administration coined to describe its vision—the New World Order—captured the core idea: an orderly world with orderly rulers living in stable equilibrium.
The elder Bush had two enormous achievements to his credit: the peaceful reunification of Germany, still historically undervalued, and the expulsion of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, which maintained the status quo in the Persian Gulf. Nonetheless, his administration suffered from the classic shortcoming of realism: a failure of imagination. Bush brilliantly managed the reconstitution of Germany and the restoration of the independence of the East European states, but he could not see far enough to the liberation of the Soviet peoples themselves. His notorious “chicken Kiev” speech of 1991, warning Ukrainians against “suicidal nationalism,” seemed to prefer Soviet stability to the risk of fifteen free and independent states.