The Neocons Are Back

The new ‘Bulwark’ is the latest signpost on the road back to power for America’s most disgraced brand of politics.

By Matt Taibbi and cross-posted from Rolling Stone

Neoconservatives, the architects of the War on Terror, are the political version of Jason in Friday the 13th: You can never bank on them being completely dead. They just hide under a log until the next funder appears.

The neocon media tribune, the Weekly Standard, did indeed fold recently. In no time they had a new voice: The Bulwarkedited by former Weekly Standard and current NBC/MSNBC contributor Charlie Sykes, with Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol listed as “editor at large.”

The Bulwark features a quasi-Soviet realist title font, probably meant to be ironic. There’s also a three-masted ship for a logo, which senior editor Benjamin Parker tells me is a reference to the nautical definition of “bulwark,” i.e. the wall of a ship that extends higher than the top deck, to “keep things from going overboard.”

“Also, we thought it looked cool,” he said.

Lenin preferred the more landlocked symbolism of a political “vanguard,” but a “Bulwark of the people” was also pretty close to what he was shooting for. Depressingly, this is no coincidence.

The End of History author Francis Fukuyama once made the same comparison. He broke with the neocons three years into the Iraq War disaster, in 2006, via a New York Times article, “After Neoconservatism.”

Fukuyama explained he saw himself more like Marx, a historian who merely described a “long term process of social evolution,” only his End of History “terminates in liberal democracy rather than communism.”

But the neocons, Fukuyama explained, saw themselves more like Lenin: “They believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will.”

Neocons began as liberal intellectuals. The likes of Bill Kristol’s father, Irving (who famously said a neoconservative was a liberal who’d been “mugged by reality”), drifted from the Democratic Party in the Seventies because it had become insufficiently hawkish after the Vietnam debacle.

They abhorred realpolitik and “containment,” hated Richard Nixon for going to China and preferred using force to spread American values, even if it meant removing an existing government. Reagan’s “evil empire” gibberish and semi-legal muscle-flexing in places like Nicaragua made neocons tingly and finalized their defection to the red party

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