There is much that is misunderstood about Neo-conservatism. With its origins in the liberal left of the 1960s, it has sometimes been referred to as “hard Wilsonianism” and is often associated with the administration of George W. Bush. Neoconservatism is seemingly full of contradictions: the movement champions intervention and democratization abroad, yet simultaneously passionately defends sovereignty at home. Part of this has to do with the beliefs that the United States is an exceptional nation, which has a duty to be an example to the rest of the world. Yet after the disastrous occupation of Iraq from 2003-2011, where does neo-conservatism stand today in terms of both the American and international discourse on international affairs?

Seminar Questions


*Max Boot, “What the Heck is a Neo-Con?” Wall Street Journal 30 December 2002. Available online:

*Michael C. Williams, “What is the National Interest? The Neoconservative Challenge in IR Theory”, European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2005. pp 307-337.

J. F. Drolet, “Containing the Kantian revolutions: a theoretical analysis of the neo-conservative critique of global liberal governance” Review of International Studies, Vol. 36, No. 03, July 2010, pp 533-560.

Francis Fukuyama, “The Neoconservative Moment”, The National Interest, Summer 2004.

Francis Fukuyama, After the Neocons: Where the right went wrong, London: Profile Books Ltd, 2006.

M. Ignatieff (ed), American Exceptionalism and Human Rights, Princeton University Press, 2005.

W. R. Mead, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World, Routledge, 2001.

Suggested Movie:  Red Dawn (1984 – for the love of the Earth, do not see the new one!)  - It is the dawn of World War III. In mid-western America, a group of teenagers bands together to defend their town, and their country, from invading Soviet forces.