What is a neocon? Matthew and Josh both ask. Here's my take - the basic neocon premise was that Israel, acting as a Cold-War type proxy state/client nation, is our route to regional hegemony in teh Middle East (notably the Suez Canal and the oil fields). Therefore, the neocon guiding principles are all attuned towards Israel's security. What's good for Israel is good for America, essentially.

The advantage of this definition of neocons is that it also explains the "likudnik" fracas in simple political terms without getting messy with dubious allegations of mixed national loyalties.

It also explains the neocon's total lack of interest in any country outside rthe middleeast that meets the criteria - articulated as necessary AND sufficient - for invasion/pre-emptive action/regime change.

Finally, it also explains the basic difference between neocons and neowilsonians - the latter of whom see the spreading of democracy as the highest goal of foreign policy. But eth former don't want democracy per se, but rather "cooperative" (to America's interests) democracies. Hence the depiction of Turkey as "perfidious" by many NRO commentators (including my hero, John Derbyshire).

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