Whatever happened to neoconservatism? – Telegraph Blogs

Whatever happened to neoconservatism? – Telegraph Blogs.

Ed West

Ed West is a journalist and social commentator who specialises in politics, religion and low culture. He is @edwestonline on Twitter.

Whatever happened to neoconservatism?

By Last updated: January 2nd, 2012

In yesterday’s Observer Nick Cohen made an admirably un-crowd-pleasing call for intervention in Syria, citing my colleague Michael Weiss’s proposal for helping opposition forces in that country. He wrote:

Intervention to stop a regional war carries vast risks. But we should be honest about the consequences of acquiescing to Assad. A failed state and nest for terrorism will sit on the edge of the Mediterranean. Foreign mercenaries and Alawite paramilitaries will continue to massacre a largely defenceless population and the conflict may spread into Iraq, Israel, Turkey and Jordan. As the news that escapes the control of the Syrian censors reminds us every day, those who say we should do nothing also have blood on their hands.

I can just imagine the reaction of many readers choking over their [insert unmanly, organic foodstuff popular in N16 here]: “Neoconservatism!”

It’s rather funny that in the popular imagination, and in the adolescent protest movement, neoconservatives are characterised as these evil, warmongering, American imperialists, who sit around in smoky rooms with a map of the Middle East with little oil field figurines, and a hotline to Jerusalem.


The opposite is in fact true. As the very title suggests, neoconservatives are not conservatives as such but liberals who have fallen out with other liberals because they think non-Europeans should be held up to the same standards as everyone else; alongside Christopher Hitchens, the impeccably liberal Cohen was the finest British writer to advocate the removal of Saddam Hussein on the very decent grounds that he was an evil, sadistic mass-murderer who continued to cause misery for millions. Neocons take the Holocaust mantra “never again” seriously, whereas most on the Left mean “never again by whites”. They are the good guys, and just want the Arab world to be more like them; wealthy, free and slightly less weird about the opposite sex.


Read the full article here: The Telegraph

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