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Myths of neoconservatism: George W. Bush's "neo-conservative" foreign policy revisited

Hurst, Steven A. (2005) Myths of neoconservatism: George W. Bush's "neo-conservative" foreign policy revisited. International politics, 42 (1). pp. 75-96. ISSN 1740-3898

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The objective of this article is to refute the popular and influential view that neoconservatism is the driving force behind US foreign policy under George W. Bush. In fact, neoconservatism — properly understood — has been a marginal influence on a foreign policy, which has been characterized primarily by a different kind of conservative ideology. In order to demonstrate this, the article firstly seeks clearly to define contemporary neoconservatism in the foreign policy context; it then goes on to examine the Bush foreign policy and its key elements. What all this reveals is that US policy has been more driven by nationalist impulses than neoconservative ones. Indeed, those like Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke who argue that neoconservatism has been the key component shaping the Bush outlook, not only exaggerate the influence of one particular ideology but underestimate the importance of other key factors determining American policy since 2001.

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