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For those who thought the end of the Bush Administration spelled doomsday for the neoconservative movement, think again.
According to a May report (pdf) from the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC think tank, neoconservatives associated with prominent figures like former Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol and pundit Richard Perle are still broadly active, despite policy failures associated with the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Brookings Institution senior fellow Justin Vaisse, author of Neoconservatism: A Biography of a Movement, argues that because neocons never had the degree of influence that opponents credited them with, and also because of a general unawareness of their history, observers don’t fully understand the trajectory of the neoconservative movement that began long before the Iraq invasion and one continues today.
“Neoconservatism remains, to this day, a distinct and very significant voice of the Washington establishment,” Vaisse insists. In May, he published the report, Why Neoconservativism Still Matters.
Stephen Walt, professor of international affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School and co-author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, says that the most obvious place the neocons are still influential is in U.S. policy toward Iran, where the Obama administration is “continuing the Bush administration’s basic approach, albeit with a ‘kinder, gentler’ face.”