What does it mean to be a neocon?

So why do you favor invading countries and increasing the military budget? Having used the term neoconservative in lieu of stating that I favor preserving U.S. military primacy and U.S. global leadership, I led at least some of my readers to believe that I was advocating all kinds of things I do not in fact favor, e.g., perpetual war, or a sharp increase in military expenditures. When I asked one of my correspondents what in particular he objected to in the column, he wrote that I “see military power as waning (and overstated by conventional metrics) and therefore want to double down on that.” He’s right that I see U.S. military power as waning. The utility of certain kinds of military force has declined in a denser, more connected world. The Iraq experience demonstrates that while the U.S. has the tools to cause a functioning state to collapse, it doesn’t have the tools to successfully suppress insurgencies at an acceptable cost, which is why I believe that Iraq-like interventions are not the future. Counter-insurgency is a labor-intensive endeavor, and thus an extremely expensive undertaking for an affluent country with a competitive labor market. Capital- and firepower-intensive military functions, in contrast, are better suited to our strengths. Yet I do not believe that we ought to “double down” on military expenditures; rather, I believe that we ought to reallocate resources across the military budget, and I am open to the possibility that we might be in a position to spend less without sacrificing our ability to serve as a global public goods provider.

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