Sunday, December 21, 2008

Purging the Neocons

For those of us endlessly fascinated by the splintering and ideological schisms that occur among political parties, organizations, and movements, Jacob Heilbrunn’s new piece in the National Interest should be of interest. It highlights splits currently occurring within Neoconservative think tanks, specifically the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) which is apparently dropping some stalwart Neocons from its ranks (including Joshua Muravchik, a favorite of mine). He writes:
“The neocon world has been rocked by recent events at AEI. Numerous neocons told me that a vicious purge is being carried out at AEI, spearheaded by vice-president for foreign and defense policy studies, Danielle Pletka.

There can be no doubting that change is afoot at AEI. Recently, Michael Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht have departed AEI. Joshua Muravchik is on the way out as well. Other scholars face possible eviction. Both Muravchik and Gerecht are serious intellectuals who have published prolifically. Muravchik has never been as unbridled in his writings as some other neocons. To put it another way, he does nuance. As the Soviet Union was collapsing, for example, he wrote an article stating that perhaps Mikhail Gorbachev was a Menshevik even as other neocons such as Norman Podhoretz condemned Gorbachev. Muravchik’s main mission has been to forward the democracy crusade. His first book criticized the human-rights policy of the Carter administration. His anticommunist views put him out of fashion in the Democratic Party and he never secured a position in the Clinton administration. I myself do not agree with his current endorsement of bombing Iran, but a recent piece in World Affairs, in which he gave a guarded endorsement to President Bush’s foreign policy, underscored that he is not simply a cheerleader for the administration.

Muravchik has been at AEI for two decades. Gerecht has been there for a much briefer period, but he has written extensively and provocatively on intelligence matters. Gerecht is currently at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which, along with the Hudson Institute, where Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, “Scooter” Libby and Douglas J. Feith are fellows, seems to functioning as something of a safe haven for neocons.”


TNC said...

I would not worry too much about Muravchik. I'm sure he'll land on his feet w/ a sweet gig at some other think-tank like FDD or Hoover.

jams o donnell said...

I hope you have a happy Christmas Roland

Roland Dodds said...

I assume Joshua isn’t worried; his Rise and Fall of Socialism book alone should put him in the upper echelon of academic community, and his extensive output over the years has surely earned him allies in other think tanks.