Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Donald Trump's Surprising Service to Humanity - Destroying Neoconservatism

In this deeply depressing Presidential Election, it is important to highlight the few bright spots. And as odd as it sounds to say, Donald Trump has provided one of the most important ones.

Of course, I don't mean his candidacy as such. To the extent that Trump has expressed consistent positions on specific issues, they are mostly bad--trade, immigration, free speech, torture, etc. But even so, Trump has made a powerful contribution to American politics by breaking the hold of neoconservatism over the Republican Party--and possibly destroying the party altogether.

The neoconservative movement is a group that has dominated American foreign policy circles since at least the reign of George W. Bush. It has been the leading proponent of all of our recent wars, and basically sees no problem that can't be solved by American military power. Amongst other horrible ideas, the neoconservatives have been highly influential in supporting the following:

So while that list isn't quite everything that's wrong in the world, it's a good start.

In any case. what's unique about Donald Trump is that he is a leading presidential candidate, and he is not owned by them. As best as anyone can tell, he doesn't appear to hold that many of their core views. In recent debates, for example, he made explicit statements that don't usually appear in a Republican Presidential debate:
  • Supporting an even-handed approach to the Israel-Palestine question
  • Accusing the second Bush Administration of knowingly going to war with Iraq on a false pretense
  • Saying the world would be better if the US had not overthrown Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Qaddafi in Libya
Whether Trump actually takes these views to heart or not is irrelevant. The point is that he made these arguments and still managed to dominate the competition on Super Tuesday. And so the spell of neoconservatism appears to have been broken. Whatever you think of Trump in general, this is a service to humanity.

With that, we'll let Justin Raimondo elaborate on this theme at I don't share all of Raimondo's optimism for what a Trump Presidency would look like in practice, but his survey of Trump's impact on the neoconservative movement is delightful. Here's the piece:


  1. "Trump has made a powerful contribution to American politics by breaking the hold of neoconservatism over the Republican Party--and possibly destroying the party altogether"

    Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

  2. I agree. There is an unfortunate tendency in many otherwise intelligent and thoughtful bloggers to get carried away in predicting the demise of two entities:
    1. The complete dominance of US and Western foreign policy by neoconservatives, especially since the Regan Administration.
    2. The hidden strength of the Israeli lobby (not just AIPAC, which is the face of it but the entire politic-economic system behind it).
    Time and again naïve and totally unwarranted celebrations are indulged in the blogosphere only to be proven utterly premature and misplaced.
    Wishful thinking is perhaps psychologically satisfying but otherwise seldom helpful in terms of the harsh reality out there….

    1. I wouldn't totally disagree with either of your assessments. I Trump has proven that while the neocon movement may have a firm grip on elite opinion, they are sufficiently removed from the general population that refuting them may not actually be political suicide anymore.

      Admittedly, destruction may be too strong of a word as of yet, but the mere fact that he's broken their monopoly on electoral success in the GOP seems to be a very significant accomplishment.