Debating Neoconservatism

In The American Prospect, Anatol Lieven and Bernard-Henri Lévy debate the American neoconservatives.

[Anatol Lieven] The collapse of Communism appeared to leave free-market liberal capitalism as the only global model for progress; and most dangerously, the collapse of the Soviet superpower appeared to make the United States practically omnipotent on the planet, free to do anything if only it possessed the “will” to do so.

The problem confronting the neoconservatives was to create that will among the American people… September 11 gave the neoconservatives and their allies in the Bush administration the chance — rather briefly, as it turns out — to mobilize that will. They have tried to power a program of American liberal imperialism with the fuel of a wounded and vengeful American nationalism.

[Bernard-Henri Lévy][A]s for the neoconservatives themselves, can I be any clearer than in the pages where I blame them for their unconditional rallying with Bush’s crusade for moral values, their adhesion to the creationist creed and the death penalty, their ambiguities on abortion rights, their repugnant campaigns about Clinton’s private life, their taste for moral order, etc. etc.?…

But at the same time, there are things in what you write that I cannot let slide, either. No matter how much one doesn’t like this poor Chalabi, for instance, and the ridiculous attempt to put him in the saddle in Baghdad, I do not believe that one can present him as a “U.S.-backed dictator” whom they tried hard to impose in office by gunfire.