Second generation neoconservatism: on the weekly standard from its inception to the second death of neoconservatism

University essay from Lunds universitet/Socialantropologi

Abstract: Neoconservatism developed in the context of liberal anti-communism from the 1940s. The key intellectuals of this early period of neoconservatism, centred around Irving Kristol, occupied themselves with issues such as the threat of communism, anti-Americanism at home, adversary culture and the problems of social engineering. However, by the mid 1990s as the end of the Cold War removed their main focus point they declared neoconservatism dead. The Weekly Standard represents a second generation of neoconservatives. This second generation are not "liberals mugged by reality" but are rather firmly conservative albeit with different angles. Furthermore, this second generation have generated far more attention than Irving Kristol and his fellow travellers ever did, and are closely associated with the Bush Doctrine and the war on terror. This paper studies the neoconservatives through a reading of The Weekly Standard that seeks to identify the broad trends in neoconservative thought since the end of the Cold War through to and during the War on Terror. The Weekly Standard offers such a possibility as it was launched in 1995, when other neoconservative media outlets were in decline. This paper finds that many of the mainstream critiques of the movement can be supported by material from the magazine. However, a narrow focus on foreign policy related to the War on Terror is insufficient to grasp the width of neoconservative thought as well as its internal inconsistencies. As such this paper investigates a number of issues not typically discussed but which resonate a neoconservative legacy that stretches back through the decades.

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