Here‘s a nice, and concise, description from Dan Drezner* of neo-conservatism, the theoretical underpinning of the Bush administration’s foreign policy.
Neo-conservatism borrows many ideas from liberal internationalism, though it promotes those ideas in terms of more expansive aims and aggressive methods. The first sentence of the March 2006 National Security strategy reads, “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” Like liberal internationalists, neo-conservatives believe that the spread of free markets, democratic values, and human rights leads to a more prosperous and pacific world. But neo-conservatives reject the “third leg” of the Kantian triad: multilateralism. Whereas liberals put greater faith in international institutions as a means of promoting American interests, neo-conservatives view them as constraints on US action: in place of multilateral agreements, neo-consevatives prefer more unilateral and more forceful means of promoting regime change.
*If you are interested in international political economy, you should take a look at Drezner‘s blog. You also may be interested in his new book–Daniel W. Drezner, All Politics Is Global Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007).