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Fri Feb 27, 2015, 08:16 AM

Countering the Neocon Comeback

The neocons are back, and they’re trying to get Hillary Clinton’s ear. Which makes this exactly the moment for Clinton to forge her own distinct path."

Something pivotal is germinating in the politics of American foreign policy. It is a shift rightward toward a tougher line, notably among powerful Democrats. It is dislodging the leftward thrust that was triggered in the mid-2000s, when George W. Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq became widely seen as disasters.

Robert Kagan, the neoconservative extraordinaire, sees this shift as an opportunity to change the political center of gravity and is trying to shape the new consensus. In his latest book, The World America Made (2012), and other writings, he is reaching across the decades-old political abyss to tempted Democrats. And there, he has found Hillary Clinton, the unannounced Democratic nominee for President, among others, carefully reaching back. This potential embrace on international matters is not beyond the means of such experienced players. Foreign-policy alignments have shallower roots than domestic policy differences, and historically, the parties have enjoyed considerable overlapping of hawks and doves, activists, and de facto isolationists. Moreover, these positions can change on a dime.

Kagan’s courtship of Clinton has been quite open. “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,” he told The New York Times in June. “t’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that.” He himself tellingly prefers the term “liberal interventionist.”

*For much of this period of neoconservative ascendance, Robert Kagan has been their intellectual tribune. This is why his courtship of Clinton is so interesting. Kagan’s open flirtation with Clinton has been coyly accepted and even reciprocated. While continuing to clutch the liberals’ new priorities like women’s rights, democracy, and climate change in her left hand, she is extending her right hand to the hawks. Few failed to notice when she selected Kagan to sit on her bipartisan State Department advisory group or when she picked his wife, Victoria Nuland, a very accomplished diplomat in her own right, as her spokeswoman."

http://www.democracyjournal.org/35/countering-the-neocon-comeback.php?page=1


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