here is the best answer I ever seen posted by a user who got suspended.
Member since: April 25, 2006
Total points: 2,521 (Level 4)
Points earned this week:
Best answers: Why was "tough as hell" suspended from answers?
Example of a reply of his:
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Considered as a group, the neocons have a fairly concrete identity -- they are intensely hawkish Democrats (or the offspring of intensely hawkish Democrats) who bolted the party in the late '60s/early '70s after it turned against the Vietnam War. They tend to be Jewish, urban and intellectual. Many of them worked for Scoop Jackson (the hawkish Democratic Senator from Washington State.) Some of them started out on the far left fringe of American politics (Trotskyists, etc.) then moved right and kept going. Some are admirers of the late University of Chicago professor and philospher Leo Strauss.
These are all generalizations, but there are enough people who fit enough of the points to make the profile valid.
Ideologically, though, neocon is a much more nebulous term. It's not like there's some kind of neocon Politburo that lays down a rigid party line on any and all points -- although the Project for a New American Century probably comes closest to filling that function.
It's easy enough to point to some common themes that are generally identified with the neocons: contempt for international organizations and the concept of multilateralism; impatience with traditional balance-of-power diplomacy; a cultish devotion to the use of military power; an outspoken belief in the superiority of Western culture and political institutions; a messianic vision of America's mission to "civilize" the world, which at times (Max Boot) makes them sound like caricatures of old-fashioned European imperialists. And of course: an intense identification with the state of Israel, and a willingness, even eagerness, to use American power to protect and further Israeli security interests.
But there are nuances on all these points. Some neocons support the maximum Likud position -- one state (Jewish) between the Jordan and the sea. Some don't. Some are more willing to use multilateral institutions to pursue American interests. Some aren't. Some are more cynical about the "spreading democracy" meme than others.
Personally, I would not describe Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld as neocons. Certainly not on the first count (personal biography). And not on the second (ideological affinity), either. At the end of the day, Cheney and Rumsfeld are politicians and bureaucrats. They are not intellectuals -- not by a long shot. They are consumers of ideology, not producers.
To me, the neocons and the realists are rival schools of foreign policy intellectuals, competing for the patronage of political leaders such as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Delay, etc. With a few exceptions, they are servants of power -- not holders of power.
Since most American politicians (like most American voters) know very little about the rest of the world, they usually don't have detailed positions on the kinds of foreign policy issues the neocons and the realists spend their professional lives debating. Instead, politicians have belief systems, typically reflecting some fairly basic value judgments: America must always be the strongest nation on earth, or America should try to cooperate with its allies, or whatever.