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Title: The unbridling of virtue : neoconservatism between the Cold War and the Iraq War
Author: McClelland, Mark Jonathan Lamdin
ISNI:       0000 0003 8752 6111
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2012
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During the years between the Cold War and the Iraq War, neoconservatism underwent an important shift from a position sympathetic to realist thought to a position much closer to a particularly conservative form of liberal internationalism. This change has largely been ignored in the literature, and when discussed, simply attributed to new, more radical neoconservative actors replacing a more cautious cadre. This thesis utilises a ‘history of ideas’ approach to examine the evolution of neoconservative thought from an emphasis on stability and normality to one of ambitious transformation abroad and wide-ranging democracy promotion. It argues that this modification can be attributed to several material and ideational drivers. In material terms, the end of the Cold War and the ensuing decline of bipolarity in the international system in combination with the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 were pivotal events in neoconservatism’s evolution. The former removed the primary constraint on the use of American power overseas, while the latter demonstrated, as far as neoconservatives were concerned, the cost to the US of inaction and restraint abroad. Ideationally, the advent of Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ thesis, an embrace of liberal democratic peace theory, and a religious ‘turn’ in neoconservative thought, all contributed to the development of a neoconservative foreign policy much more sympathetic to ideas of democracy promotion and humanitarian intervention.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D839 Post-war History ; 1945 on ; E151 United States (General) ; JC Political theory ; JK Political institutions (United States) ; JX International law