How can people become neo-conservatives? ‘Le Néoconservatisme Américain:’ by Pierre Bourgois

My PhD focused on the main German conservative party, the CDU/CSU. However, I also aim to publish short articles or reviews about books that address conservatism outside of Germany.

I would like to draw your attention to this book about neo-conservatism.”, Le Néoconservatisme Américain: La Démocratie pour Étendard,’ published by Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 2023, ISBN 978-2-13-083309-3.

In essence, the author argues three main ideas:

  1. There is a generally unified neoconservative ideology, despite the differences within the movement.
  2. Neoconservatism is as much an ideology of domestic policy as it is of foreign policy.
  3. The neoconservative ideology can be divided into four main facets, which correspond to the four chapters of the book.

A short presentation of the book: the origins of neoconservatism trace back to the pre-World War II era on the East Coast of the United States. It was here that young intellectuals, primarily of Jewish or Irish origin, often affiliated with Trotskyism, gathered. They held a deep aversion to Stalin and Soviet communism, and their gathering place was mainly the City College of New York (CCNY). Other prestigious institutions like Columbia or Harvard were inaccessible to them due to their modest backgrounds. They frequently met in the politically charged cafeteria of the university, divided into several alcoves. Alcove one housed Trotskyist anti-Stalinists like Irving Kristol, Daniel Bell, or Nathan Glazer, fierce opponents of the Soviet Union. In contrast, alcove two gathered supporters of Stalin’s USSR. These two groups engaged in lively discussions from morning till night. It was in this intellectual environment that the early foundations of neoconservatism began to take shape.

 

In contemporary times, neoconservatism has experienced periodic resurgences in the United States. Since the late 2000s, this resurgence has manifested itself under various presidencies, whether Democrat or Republican, from Barack Obama to Joe Biden, and including Donald Trump. It appears that the specter of neoconservatism continues to influence American political life persistently.

However, in 2006, the Project for the New American Century, a symbol of neoconservatism in foreign policy, ceased all activities. While some dedicated neoconservatives argue that its closure should not be interpreted as a failure, the context, particularly the situation in Iraq, played an undeniable role. Overall, this period marked a return to a more realistic approach within the administration, and neoconservatives seemed to lose their prominence in American society from that point onwards.

The midterm elections of 2006 perfectly exemplify the discontent with the neoconservative stance, particularly concerning Middle East foreign policy. Faced with these challenges, many voices announced the end of neoconservatism in the mid-2000s.

Link to the publisher’s page: https://www.puf.com/content/Le_n%C3%A9oconservatisme_am%C3%A9ricain



Cite this blog post
Baudry Pierre (2023, October 6). How can people become neo-conservatives? ‘Le Néoconservatisme Américain:’ by Pierre Bourgois. Deciphering international politics - religion, economics and international affairs. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/tl3f

Baudry Pierre

Ph.D. CNRS/EPHE (Paris), Assistant professor.

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