DNC: The Neocons Come Home Behind The Democrats’ Hawkish Platform

Some Republicans are not unhappy to see them go. As Tom Pauken, former Republican State chairman of Texas, a backer of the non-interventionist view of the GOP, put it, “Let them go back to the party from whence they came.”
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By John Gizzi | July 29, 2016

DNC

PHILADELPHIA – While the Democratic National Convention was going on, Robert Kagan—scholar and co-founder of the neo-conservative Project for the New American Century—made an announcement that was, if not startling, historic.

“I would say all Republican foreign policy professionals are anti-Trump,” Kagan declared at a foreign policy professionals for Hillary fund-raising event. “I would say that a majority of people in my circle will vote for Hillary.”

Kagan’s words, which were first reported by Rania Khalek in the on-line publication The Intercept, resonated. They come at a time when the Democratic Party’s newly-minted national platform planks call for a vigorous U.S. presence worldwide and advocate interventionism abroad in certain circumstances.

Moreover, both the platform and Kagan’s comment represent the return to the Democratic Party of a key policy group that exited a generation ago: neo-conservatives.

Neo-conservatives, generally defined as Democrats, disenchanted with their party on its increasingly dovish foreign policy since the 1960s, who began to move into the Republican Party under Ronald Reagan. UN Ambassador-to-be Jeanne Kirkpatrick and Public Interest founder Irving Kristol, widely dubbed the “godfather of neo-conservatism,” are classic cases in point.

Even after the Cold War was over, the neo-conservatives have generally remained Republican. These days, Kagan is increasingly referred to as “king of the neo-cons.” He was one of the best-known advocates of the U.S. intervention in Iraq in 2003 and today is a robust advocate of an interventionist U.S. foreign policy.

Kagan is also well-connected within official Washington: wife Victoria Nuland, who has worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations, is Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for European Affairs and was a high-profile advocate of confronting Russia over its designs on Ukraine; younger brother Fred Kagan is an American Enterprise Institute scholar, who is said to have had an influence on the Bush Administration’s “surge” in Iraq and the decision of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.

Kagan and his fellow neo-cons have much to be disappointed about with the Republican Party now in Donald Trump’s hands and taking a decided step away from interventionism in its foreign policy planks. In striking contrast, the Democratic Party platform vows that the “United States would deal firmly” with those “who seek to imperil America or our partners.”

Denouncing Vladimir Putin in no uncertain terms for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and propping up Syria’s Assad regime, the Democratic manifesto pledges America will not “hesitate to stand up to Russian aggression.”

The platform supports “deepening alliances” in the Far East, an obvious reference to South Korea and Japan and their increasing tensions with China.

The event at which Kagan made his probative comment raised more than $25,000 for Hillary Clinton’s coffers, according to the Intercept’s Khalek. Coupled with the language in the Democratic Party platform, evidence is powerful that, after more than a generation, the neocons have “come home” to the party of Hillary Clinton.

Some Republicans are not unhappy to see them go. As Tom Pauken, former Republican State chairman of Texas, a backer of the non-interventionist view of the GOP, put it, “Let them go back to the party from whence they came.”


John Gizzi is the White House correspondent and chief political columnist for Newsmax. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.