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Review Essay

Present at the Re-Creation

A Neoconservative Moves On

In This Review

The Return of History and the End of Dreams

The Return of History and the End of Dreams
By Robert Kagan
Knopf, 2008, 128 pp. $19.95 Purchase

If a neoconservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality, as Irving Kristol once said, what is a neoconservative who gets mugged yet again? A realist.

So, at least, one might conclude from reading Robert Kagan's The Return of History and the End of Dreams. Over the past two decades, Kagan has emerged as the neoconservative movement's chief foreign policy theorist. The author of numerous opinion pieces and a signatory of manifestoes of the neoconservative organization the Project for the New American Century, he has also written serious books. Notable among them is the 2006 Dangerous Nation, the first volume of an ambitious two-part project that recasts the entire history of American statecraft as an affirmation of neoconservative ideals and aspirations. Yet in this latest rumination on international politics, Kagan largely eschews neoconservative theology and instead sounds themes reminiscent of the great American realists Hans Morgenthau and Reinhold Niebuhr.

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