Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

National Conservatives’ China Dilemma

This is rather extraordinary. The neocons are attempting to co-opt anti-imperialism by bending it toward American unilateralism, and weaponizing anti-imperialism in a rhetorical battle against China. Any tendency that embraces Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley is nowhere near being “anti-imperialist.” This is the neocon playbook being worked from another angle. A movement whose intellectual leaders are literally an Israeli nationalist and Iranian anti-Shiite putting together a coalition of “right-wing conservatives, disaffected liberals, and labor advocates” to promote American unilateralism is neocon to the bone. Yes, there may be some more serious isolationists or non-interventionists among them, and they will be the same neocon dupes that the right-libertarians, paleocons, and religious right were during the Reagan era.

By N.S. Lyons, The American Conservative

Anti-imperialism, rather than preserving the “liberal international order,” should be the argument for post-liberals wanting to counter China.

When an international mix of right-wing conservatives, disaffected liberals, and labor advocates gathered together on the night of Halloween to convene the National Conservatism Conference in Florida, the product was, unsurprisingly, an odd brew. Much has and will continue to be written about the event because it is likely to go down in history as marking a significant realignment toward a “post-liberal” political moment. But, in the short term, the gathering of this new alliance raised as many questions and contradictions as it resolved.

Among the most visible was the question of what to do about China. The issue exploded into view with a panel that was quickly memorialized by attendees into a quasi-legendary moment in which two former Trump administration figures engaged in a heated and personal verbal knife fight over the necessity of being willing to fight a nuclear war over Taiwan—complete with accusations of appeasement, surrenderism, and warmongering.

This level of contention in part represented two factions present: the common species of hawkish Republicans like Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz—never ones to miss a chance to burnish their anti-Communist bona fides in a fiery tough-on-China speech—and a more pensive group frustrated with the neoconservative establishment’s habitual interventionism. But it also reflected a far deeper conceptual contradiction about what it means to be a “nationalist” in today’s world.


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