As a Southern paleocon who has often argued with Unionist neocons over the virtue of the Union invasion of the South and the merits of Lincoln, the current events taking place in Ukraine and the neocons’ reaction to it has me scratching my head. Let’s see…
Neocons, especially those of the Straussian variety, allegedly oppose secession. They oppose the historic secession of the South and reject secession as a legitimate political option for US states at present.
As a result of their inherent nationalism and opposition to secession, neocons venerate Abraham Lincoln above any other American.
Ukraine is a product of a quiet recent, historically speaking, secession from the former Soviet Union.
Putin is reoccupying part of Ukraine.
Therefore, if neocons are to be intellectually consistent, shouldn’t they support Putin as a Lincolnesq figure attempting to restore a political entity, the USSR, that traitorous upstart secessionist in Ukraine have recently ripped apart? And just as they should view Putin as a modern day Lincoln, shouldn’t they view the Russian Army as a modern day equivalent of the Union Army, and the Ukraine military as a modern equivalent of the Rebel Confederate Army?
But instead, the neocons are supporting the former secessionist Ukrainian revolutionaries and opposing Lincolnesq Putin’s attempt to reoccupy a former Soviet territory.
In a similar situation, Bill Clinton’s ordered American troops to intervene in the Balkans.
In the Balkan intervention, American troops were facilitating the secession of Bosnia from part of the former Yugoslavia.
If neocons are to be intellectually consistent, shouldn’t they have opposed the secession of Bosnia? Shouldn’t they have likened the US forces in the Balkans to the Confederate Army for facilitating secession and Clinton to Jefferson Davis?
Instead, neocons enthusiastically supported Clinton’s Bosnian intervention even while many conservatives at the time were returning to their non-interventionist roots and opposing the action.
Perhaps it isn’t really secession that neocons oppose. They seem quite happy with secession when it is breaking up countries that they view as challenging US hegemony. Perhaps the real problem they have with the secession of the South or the modern secession of US states is that it challenges their (mistaken) conception of America as a unitary modern state with a special mission to spread the values of liberal democracy across the globe.
Dan E. Phillips is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Mercer University School of Medicine in Macon, Georgia. He maintains an archive of his articles at www.danphillipsmd.com. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.