The Other Path of Neoconservatism - A Review of Francis Fukuyama's America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy (2006)
25 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2007
Whether neoconservatism has died a loud and rancorous death remains to be seen. The final judgment will not be evident for many years, after the dust settles in the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere. What is already clear is that neoconservatism is under attack from the right and the left, and many of the key architects of the movement have left the Bush Administration. One of the most well-renowned academic neoconservatives, Francis Fukuyama, has published his Yale Castle Lectures, where he decries how the concept has mutated in the past decade. Specifically, Fukuyama's America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy (2006) criticizes the theory and practice of the Bush Administration and its neoconservative supporters that - in Fukuyama's opinion - spurred the U.S.'s misguided invasion of Iraq in March of 2003.
This book review uses Fukuyama's recent work as an insight into the current debate surrounding neoconservatism and the prospects for the concept's future. For many, the ostensible defection by one of the primary academic exponents of the concept marks the end of neoconservatism's theoretic viability. In this context, America at the Crossroads functions as a possible death knell to neoconservatism. I view any possible future for the concept in what I label as "soft neoconservatism." Soft neoconservatism shares numerous similarities with Fukuyama's suggestion for a foreign policy based on what he calls Realistic Wilsonianism. Realistic Wilsonianism, however, does not incorporate those aspects of neoconservatism that could still instruct the United States in conducting its foreign policy. This book review will contextualize Fukuyama's argument within the larger history of neoconservatism that stretches back long before September 11, 2001, and assess the elements of neoconservatism that could still survive and even thrive.
Keywords: neoconservative, Fukuyama, neoconservatism
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation