The British Moment: The Case for Democratic Geopolitics in the Twenty-first Century A Manifesto by the Henry Jackson Society
With the ouster of Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party seems to have thrown "Scoop" Jackson's legacy unceremoniously out the party door. But his legacy may be alive and well across the pond. The Henry Jackson Society formally proclaimed its existence in Cambridge, England, on March 11, 2005, issuing a statement of principles signed by several prominent academics, politicians, and journalists. Just a few months ago (July 14, 2006), at a gala co-hosted with the Social Affairs Unit at the Reform Club in London, the Society celebrated the publication of its first book, The British Moment: The Case for Democratic Geopolitics in the Twenty-first Century.
This is a slim volume of five chapters and two brief appendices. It is written and edited by several "young academics based at Cambridge University." It is issued, however, not in any individual's name (though each is credited), but as "A Manifesto by the Henry Jackson Society." The five chapters consider, in order, "Britain and"-the world, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and China. The first appendix is a one-page appreciation of Henry "Scoop" Jackson; the other is a two-page statement of the society's principles. These include: the affirmation that "the rest of the world should aspire" to be "modern liberal democracies"; support for "a 'forward strategy' to assist those countries that are not yet liberal and democratic to become so"; support for strong militaries in the United States, countries of the E.U., and other democracies, complete with "expeditionary capabilities and global reach"; the assertion that "only modern liberal democratic states are truly legitimate, and that any international organisation which admits undemocratic states on an equal basis is fundamentally flawed"; and "two cheers for capitalism."
The society dismisses accusations that it is part of the international neoconservative conspiracy. Actually, it argues that neoconservatism can perhaps best be understood as an outgrowth of centuries-old British traditions-such as the policy of abolishing the international slave trade. Anglophiles Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan, and Richard Perle are among the International Patrons of the Society.
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This article appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of the Claremont Review of Books