The neoconservatives who rebuffed the Republican establishment’s warnings about the perils of war in Iraq have now opened another front —against President Barack Obama.
The neocons, unlike the muscular Democrats who led the U.S. into the Vietnam War—including Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk— are not reflecting about what went wrong in Iraq. Nor are they dodging the public spotlight.
They have instead signed on as foreign policy advisers for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. He is now strongly denouncing Obama as an abject failure, intent on appeasing the world’s dictators. Romney, who has scant foreign policy experience, is now championing a new “American Century,” featuring a pre-emptive foreign policy agenda, a $2-trillion increase in the Defense budget and, most likely, hostilities with Iran — not to mention skirmishes with China and Russia.
Ever since these once hawkish centrist Democrats denounced President Jimmy Carter and signed on with Ronald Reagan in 1980, they have sought a president who would carry out their grandiose dreams: giving Israel carte blanche and exporting democracy, by force if necessary, around the globe. In George W. Bush they found him—a credulous president who denounced an axis of evil.
But with the Iraq war, their doctrines became discredited until the very word “neocon” morphed into a term of abuse. Now, however, these unrepentant ideologues are seeking another chance to promote their militant doctrines – and have discovered a fresh champion in Romney.