Writing in The Claremont Review of Books
, Gerard Alexander has the goods
on the intellectual laziness of some of neo-conservatism's critics. According to Alexander, the tendency of some neo-con critics to misunderstand or mischaracterize the intellectual history of neo-conservatism and to homogenize the ideas of its adherents often results in shallow or cliched critiques of neo-conservative thought. Moreover, according to Alexander, because critics of neo-conservatism often insist on treating it as an hermetically sealed ideology -- as a doctrine not unlike Marxism -- they fail to account for it as a foreign policy position, which would otherwise be done by measuring neo-conservative principles/strategies against the principles/strategies of other foreign policy positions such as realism and liberal institutionalism.
Alexander is no neo-con apologist, so those readers hoping to dismiss his essay as a tendentious crypto-Straussian paean to Paul Wolfowitz will be greatly disappointed. Those readers, on the other hand, who can appreciate a call for greater clarity and precision in discussions of an important strand of foreign policy thought are strongly advised to read the essay.