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Saturday, February 21, 2015
Why President Obama is a Neocon
In a Tuesday op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, the president wrote, "Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies." At a speech at the summit on Wednesday, Obama said that "the essential ingredient to real and lasting stability and progress is not less democracy. It's more democracy. It's institutions that uphold the rule of law and apply justice equally." Finally, his Thursday speech at a Summit session hosted at the State Department reiterated the points made in his Wednesday speech, covering the importance of democratic institutions in CVE.
To be fair, the idea that the US should actively promote democracy and rule of law because it's in America's national interest is not unique to neoconservatism. It's also a core premise of the Wilsonian perspective on foreign policy (a.k.a. liberal internationalism or liberal interventionism). The difference is that neocons tend to have far less faith in the ability of squishy, fuzzy international drum circles like the United Nations — née League of Nations — to do anything useful on this front.