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The Vanishing TraditionPerspectives on American Conservatism$
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Paul Gottfried

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501749858

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501749858.001.0001

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Imagination and Its Failures

Imagination and Its Failures

The Struggle of a Conservative American Foreign Policy

Chapter:
(p.68) 5 Imagination and Its Failures
Source:
The Vanishing Tradition
Author(s):

Marjorie L. Jeffrey

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501749858.003.0006

This chapter investigates American foreign policy, looking at the persistence of a neoconservative foreign policy in the conservative movement and why it has not been discarded despite its obvious limitations. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the American Right faced an existential question: Would it support the continuation of a semi-imperial foreign policy, or would it seek to redirect political energies toward domestic policy? The 1992 Republican primary and the victory of the incumbent president, George H. W. Bush, against his challenger, Pat Buchanan, answered that question. Until the election of 2016, both major parties were in agreement on matters of foreign policy, except for working out the details. The chapter studies the philosophic claims of the interventionist, or “neoconservative,” wing of the American conservative movement, against the foreign policy prescriptions of the American Founders, as well as those of such truly conservative modern critics as George Kennan and Buchanan.

Keywords:   American foreign policy, neoconservative foreign policy, American conservative movement, American Right, domestic policy, 1992 Republican primary, George H. W. Bush, Pat Buchanan, American Founders, George Kennan

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