The Politico reports that The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol predicts the Republicans in Congress will support President Obama's decision to carry out military strikes against Syria. Unlike some constitutionalists in the Congress, neoconservatives like Bill Kristol are not concerned about whether the United States has any interests in Syria that warrant an American military response, and he is certainly uninterested in whether such a move is constitutional without the approval from Congress. After a debate in Congress this week, the neoconservatives will reveal themselves by backing President Obama's military plan with little in the way of serious deliberation or questioning. In their minds, attacking Syria fits in perfectly with the neoconservative belief that America's special standing in the world obligates it to spread the ideals of democracy to people around the world. Consequently, there is no situation that is not in the direct interests of the United States.
In order to bolster public support for the president, the neoconservatives will talk about our moral obligation to ameliorate a complex situation in which innocent people have died, and that the United States is the nation that should take the lead in spreading America's worldview throughout Syria and the region. We might even be told that our national security is at stake if we do nothing to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on its own people. Since neoconservatives believe that only by imposing our moral superiority on non-democratic regimes will we be truly secure within our own borders, they will attempt to connect what happened in Syria to a broader concern about what might happen if the Assad government goes unpunished for its crime. Were the Congress to vote against authorizing the president to use force against Syria, they would harshly condemn Rand Paul and others who are asking critical questions about the ramifications of a military response and whether the United States truly has any interests in the region.
As C. Bradley Thompson writes in his book, Neoconservatism: An obituary for an Idea, prior to September 11, 2001 the neocons maintained that bad regimes "created instability and anarchy and were therefore responsible for potential domestic threats like terrorism. Such threats, by contrast, could never emerge from 'democracies.' By dealing with threats before they metastasized into catastrophes, and by actively replacing threatening governments with 'democracies' that would become our allies the United States both advanced its interests as a nation and fulfilled its moral responsibility as a benevolent hegemon." Of course, September 11 played right into the hands of neoconservatives who continue to take advantage of that fateful day in order to convince Americans that every war is our war and that every crime committed against humanity warrants our military response in order to hold the guilty parties accountable.
As a result, the neoconservatives would have had no problem with President Obama launching a military strike against Syrian targets days before he ever second-guessed himself and decided to defer to the Congress. In fact, neocons have probably been itching for an attack against Syria for quite some time. The Politico reports that Kristol "wished the president had taken in action in Syria in 2011 or 2012." Based on the belief that punishing the Assad regime will send a powerful ripple-effect throughout the region, the neoconservatives are convinced that a military response is necessary and proper. If anyone doubts these concepts, think of recent examples such as Iraq in which the United States attempted to change the hearts and minds of people from the top down only to discover that bringing about real change is more complicated than merely taking down a dictator. Ultimately, if President Obama carries out his desire to impose America's worldview on Assad and his government, he will learn very quickly that he has made the situation in Syria even more complicated and dangerous.