Friday, October 21, 2011

Memo to Leslie Gelb: The Neocons Never Left

There are a few points to be made here. The first is that the neocons never went into a political grave. Instead, they took over the Republican foreign-policy establishment. Think of the list of foreign-policy advisers released recently by the Romney campaign. Now try to envision a different candidate Romney who wanted to have his campaign dominated by realists instead of neocons. What names would appear? It’s a remarkably hard question to answer.

The irony here is that it was with the help of people like Leslie Gelb that the neocons took over the GOP establishment. When he was at the helm of the Council on Foreign Relations, Gelb brought in a real neocon’s neocon, Max Boot, to be a senior fellow, giving perhaps the most fervid neocon around the CFR stamp of approval—the imprimatur of the foreign-policy establishment. (It should also be acknowledged that Gelb himself supported the neocons’ Iraq project, shrugging afterward in the passive voice that his “initial support for the war was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility.”)

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