The Weekly Standard, a magazine that had been described as a “redoubt of neoconservatism” and as “the neo-con bible,” published its final issue on December 17, 23 years after being founded by veteran neoconservative William Kristol. Kristol was a supporter of the Never Trump movement and has criticized what he calls the “Trumpified Republican Party.”
President Trump pulled no punches in tweeting about the Standard’s demise: “The pathetic and dishonest Weekly Standard, run by failed prognosticator Bill Kristol (who, like many others, never had a clue), is flat broke and out of business. Too bad. May it rest in peace!”
Though practically all media reports (including the New York Times, The Hill, CNN, and the Washington Post) described the Weekly Standard as “conservative,” such descriptions are merely reflections of how the term “conservative” has been corrupted in recent years.
Kristol has deep neoconservative roots. His father, Irving Kristol, served as the managing editor of Commentary magazine, founded the magazine The Public Interest, and has been described as the “godfather of neoconservatism.” The name neoconservatism leads many to believe that the movement is a modern improvement of traditional, “paleo”conservatism — exemplified by such figures as Robert A. Taft (R-Ohio), who was a senator from 1939 to 1953. However, it has little in common with traditional conservatism.
In a 2001 address, John F. McManus, president emeritus of The John Birch Society, briefly described a neoconservative as an opponent of communism but a supporter of socialism and internationalism. McManus quoted from Irving Kristol’s 1995 book, Neoconservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea, in which the “godfather” of neoconservatism wrote:
We are conservative, but different in certain respects from the conservatism of the Republican Party. We accepted the New Deal in principle, and had little affection for the kind of isolationism that then permeated American conservatism.
Irving Kristol’s dismissal of “the kind of isolationism that then permeated American conservatism” reflects a key difference between neoconservatives — who favor an interventionist U.S. foreign policy — and non-interventionists such as former Representative Ron Paul and his son Senator Rand Paul.
For example, the Standard promoted and supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq — an extreme case of interventionism. Among the advocates of invading Iraq in the administration of George W. Bush were steadfast neoconservatives Vice President Dick Cheney and then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Both Cheney and Rice are also members of the interventionist, globalist Council on Foreign Relations.