Last night, President Obama did something amazing. He delivered — dare I say it? — a rather neoconservative speech, in the sense that neoconservatism has argued for aggressive American involvement in the world both for the world’s sake and for the sake of extending American freedoms in order to enhance and preserve American security.
Perhaps Obama did not even realize it, but when he said that “as the leader of the free world, America will do more than just defeat on the battlefield those who offer hatred and destruction — we will also lead among those who are willing to work together to expand freedom and opportunity for all people,” he was echoing ideas developed in neoconservative journals over decades of argument about how the United States can best project its power for its own sake and for the sake of the betterment of the world.
When he said that “we must use all elements of our power — including our diplomacy, our economic strength and the power of America’s example — to secure our interests and stand by our allies,” he was speaking in the voice of those neocons who argue that American geopolitical power is enhanced when we use it to bind our friends closer to us.