- Robert Howse
- The Neocons, Obama, and the (new) Iraq War
With ISIS in Iraq and the disorder in Syria, the Bush era Neocons-Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol-are back, this time on the talk shows, urging that the US flex its muscles, and calling Obama a coward and a weakling.
A decade ago, when the US went into Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein, Leo Strauss (the German Jewish emigre philosopher who died in 1974) was a name often associated with inspiring the Neocon case for war. But this time round, Strauss will not be a weapon in the warmonger’s arsenal, because, as Robert Howse will explain, his new book Leo Strauss Man of Peace, rereading of Strauss’s works in light of newly available transcripts of his lectures to students, shows that Strauss was a man of peace not war, who argued for the rule of law in global affairs, believed in moral as well as legal constraints on violence, criticized imperial ambition, and supported peaceful European integration.
Howse will explain how Strauss’s thought came to be so distorted in recent American intellectual history, giving rise to a conservative “cult”. He will suggest how the real Strauss might have approached the current world (dis)order, based on Strauss’s confrontation with thinkers such as Thucydides, Kant, Machiavelli, and Hugo Grotius the founder of modern international law. Howse’s book has been called “bold and admirable” by the Los Angeles Review of books and “distinct and original” by Yale political theorist Steven Smith in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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