Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Nancy Mitford’s Neocon

Was the neoconservative ideology of global-democratic crusades first depicted in the 1951 novel The Blessing, by the English-born but French-resident Nancy Mitford?

Since 9/11, and particularly since the obvious inability of American arms to make Iraq as peace-loving as Iowa—or Libya as laid-back as Louisiana—the question “Who was the first neocon?” has acquired a renewed significance. John Gray, emeritus of the London School of Economics, argues that premonitions of the neocon psyche had already occurred in the Middle Ages.

More recently, Woodrow Wilson and Leo Strauss adumbrated much of the neocon project. Yet however great a game President Wilson talked about the “right to self-determination,” he also insisted—to the anger of young Ho Chi Minh—that for this right the Third World need not apply

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