I honestly don’t like the term neoconservative, because it used to applied to liberals who agreed with Ronald Reagan in the ’80s and is now used by liberals to described compassionate-conservative, super-hawks.
But whatever, let’s say the term is correctly used right now (which I will NOT conced). By your own omission, you have actually shifted from being a neoconservative to conservative. Let me explain:
Neoconservatives are, by definition, super-hawks. They like to point out that the executive branch should have unilateral power of war. Ace Of Spades goes on to blast super-hawks like McCain:
I gotta tell ya, I don’t mind fighting wars in which almost all the risks fall upon the enemy’s soldiers. But McCain has this medieval concept that only face-to-face battles are sufficient to safeguard our national “honor.” (Rather like how the crossbow was reviled as a coward’s weapon because it killed knights so easily and didn’t put the archer himself at great risk.)
I am certain that the way forward is not continuing to talk the way McCain talks, in that Kennedyesque “We will bear any burden” way. When Kennedy said that, it was a lie. It was just a bit of noble-sounding rhetoric. He didn’t really intend to “bear any burden.” It was a quote for the press.
But McCain actually seems to believe it — which is why the public will praise Kennedy’s grandiose lie (it makes us feel good about ourselves without actually committing ourselves to anything) while being a bit alarmed by a similar-sounding McCain pronouncement.
I think it’s time to stop talking about having “no limits” as to what we may do with our military and start talking about the limits which certainly exist. These are real, living, flesh-and-blood men and women. They’re not lead figures in a war game. When we talk about “bearing any burden,” we are not “bearing any burden.” They are.
As Governor Perry remarked, relating, I think, the feelings of a Marine: “They say America’s at war, but America’s not at war. America’s military is at war. America’s at a shopping mall.”
Now that’s the job they signed up for, of course, but let’s not just send them everywhere to die over this medieval notion that “honor” is only satisfied when there’s a cost in blood. If we can accomplish objectives more cheaply, and lose less American blood, certainly, let’s do that, and the hell with McCain’s sense of “honor.”
Libertarians are, by definition, isolationists. End free trade, end all foreign aid, and so on and so forth. They even want to dismantale the US Military in favor of 50 State Militias (no, I am not joking).
I personally don’t see how ending free trade would do us any good and I don’t mind giving foreign aid to, say, Israel.
Ace also takes issue with this and concludes:
I actually don’t believe in Paulian pacifism and do believe in the need and justification for American intervention on a limited basis and in pursuit of a limited number of objectives.
If McCain also believes that — and of course he does — he would be wise to stop making the choice between the Ron Paul doctrinal peacenikism and the McCain Interventions Incorporated model.
Because McCain will lose, and so will the concept of interventionism itself.
Gingrich had it right on this– he said “I’m a hawk, but I’m a cheap hawk.” McCain is an extravagant hawk, and he’s the worst spokesman for hawkishness there is. And if he keeps pushing his No Limits doctrine, he’s going to find the country is now embracing All Limits.
Let’s be smart about this, let’s remember that the United States is made up of actual human beings who do in fact have limits, and start thinking about Some Limits. Smart Limits. Realistic Limits. Workable Limits.
I agreee with him, and I think you would agree too. Like Ace, I was a super-hawk (but I never liked the term neoconservative) but have since shifted to being to just a hawk. We can take issue with some of libertarian’s isolationist rhetoric, but bury the neoconservative’s unilateral power of war to the president rhetoric. We can be “pro-due process” and “pro-spray al-Qaeda guts all over the sand” at the same time. We can be ok with the spirit of the War Powers Act Of 1973 and want only Congress to authorize war/conflicts, but we can have an honest debate if any act of declaring war should not be fetishized just to Congress.
The problem with President Obama, is that his foreign policy is all over the place: Rushed to get involved in Libya, taking sweet time to get involved with Syria. Spoke out for protesters in Egypt, stayed slient on the Iran protests. Wants to pull out troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but has no issue with troops in Germany and Japan. Hates capturing terrortists, but has no problems just killing them with drones. Dispises Free Trade, but signed a couple of them into law. One moment he’s a libertarian isolationist, but then he becomes a neoconservative who loves his unilateral power of war. It’s like he has a Wheel Of Foreign Policy or something. It doesn’t make much sense. I wish he would just pick a unifying policy and stick with it. At least with Paul and McCain, you know where they will land when something happens in the world!
But I digress.
We need to become conservatives again. We can be a Ronald Reagan hawk with an attitude, never take the military option off the table, all without becoming Interventions Incorporated.
PS: This started as a simple comment on your blog that blossomed. I realized I had enough for a full post and thus came here. Hope you don’t mind.