Washington Monthly | Neocons Paved the Way for Trump. Finally, One Admits It.

Source: https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/november-december-2018/neocons-paved-the-way-for-trump-at-least-max-boot-admits-it/

The misuse of “neocon” here really bothers me.

This is a well-written piece, BUT I have two major objections. (1) I think the link between neocons and Trump is tenuous, and the paragraph I quote below, which is where the connection is made, seems pretty darn flimsy to me. (2) The use of “neocon” in the headline is the editor’s throwing around of an epithet that has a hazy definition in most people’s minds, and is generally taken to mean “Republican I don’t like, like Newt Gingrich or George W. Bush.” It has a very precise meaning (in my understanding).* Furthermore, the editor KNOWS it has that hazy meaning and is intentionally counting on that misinterpretation. (Or the editor’s an idiot, but I’ll give him or her the benefit of the doubt.)

«Perhaps the most notable part of Boot’s book is his willingness to face up to the fiasco that was the Iraq War. He notes that for years he felt defensive about his support for it and was too stubborn to cede any ground to his critics. “It is not nearly as easy to remake a foreign land by force as I had naively imagined in 2003,” he writes. And he recognizes that the catastrophic policies he espoused helped create the terrain for Trump to rumble to victory [emphasis mine — John L.]. In listening to Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, Boot says that he recognizes “my callow, earlier self. Bolton, a conservative firebrand since his days as a student at Yale University in the early 1970s, is whom I used to be.”»

*(The precise definition of “neocon”, as I understand it: a person who believes that the world is thirsting for democracy and that sometimes “interventionist” methods should be used to bring it to various parts of the world, where “intervention” can run a wide range of options, including, for example, embargoes. I leave out the “free-market” part that others usually include because I don’t think, for example, that the original neocons really cared much about Britain’s VAT system or Sweden’s tax rate.)

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