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Libyans, Syrians, Iraqis and Afghanis (to name but some) can be fully excused for being completely unaware of the fact that the United States of America is a democracy. As the preeminent global democracy, there are at least two subtly different ideological positions that made those countries targets for American bombs.

First, we have the neoconservatives, or 'neocons', who gave us the Project for the New American Century, the bombing of Afghanistan and the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, and who were prominent in government during the horrid George W. Bush years. They include people such as Bill Kristol, Max Boot, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Michael Chertoff. They tend to be Republicans.

Then we have the liberal interventionists, or "the indispensable-nation crowd", as Katrina vanden Heuvel calls them (due to their insistence that the US is 'indispensable' as the global police), who also supported the Iraq War, cheered Obama's continued military adventures in Afghanistan, rejoiced when NATO bombed Libya and handed it on a plate to Al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups, and supported rebels in Syria (also terrorists), in the hope that they would topple Assad. This gang includes Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright and Michele Flournoy. They tend to be Democrats.

So here's the distinction between the two groups: One of them promotes military intervention and regime change in non-compliant nations, and predatory capitalist practices in complaint nations, for the profit of US business, and also unconditionally supports Israel. And so does the other.

But seriously, what IS the difference? David Bosco tried to explain it in Foreign Policy back in 2012:
[A] a fundamental difference between the neoconservative worldview and the liberal interventionist one is the role of international institutions and law. Those of a neoconservative persuasion aren't much interested in global architecture; they're intent on achieving liberal, democratic governance at the national level whenever and wherever possible. Indeed, they believe that consensus-based international organizations and procedures tend to obstruct that enterprise as often as facilitate it. Liberal interventionists share the desire to spread freedom and the conviction that outsiders can help do so, but they also care deeply about building international architecture (almost always) and respecting international rules (usually).
Aha! I think I understand now! George W. Bush disregarded international rules and laws - as well as common sense and the most basic requirements of human decency - when he sent Colin Powell to the United Nations Security Council with a small flask of white powder and grainy satellite pictures that looked like trucks and storage facilities, and told everyone that this was proof that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He then proceeded to order the invasion of the country without the approval of the UN, causing an estimated one million+ deaths. Ok, so that's Neoconservatism.

But hang on, where does Bosco see the 'deep care' and 'respect' of international architecture and rules of the liberal hawks? In the 2011 NATO bombing of Libya, UN Security Council resolution 1973 permitted the warmongers to "take all necessary measures... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack." But that's not what the US did under uber-neoliberals Clinton and Obama. Rather, after bombing the hell out of several Libyan cities, the US recruited thousands of radical Islamists who publicly executed Gaddafi and enforced Sharia law on the Libyan people. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that falls under "protect civilians and civilian areas."

But what do I know.

James and JoAnne Moriarty witnessed the Libyan bloodbath from the ground, and described the situation as follows:
In April of 2011 we were invited to travel to Tripoli on an NGO Fact Finding Commission. We agreed and in May of 2011 we traveled to Tripoli, Libya to take part in this Fact Finding Commission. We spent a whole lot of time with the Tribes of Libya learning about the truths of Libya and their government. We also were witness to huge war crimes committed by NATO upon the innocent people of Libya.

Because there was no popular support for this so called revolution in Libya, it was necessary for NATO, the US, UK, France, UN, Qatar and Israel to funnel in thousands of Al Qaeda mercenaries into Libya. We are witnesses to the hordes of terrorists, that were armed, funded and trained by the aforementioned group. We have in our hands the private document written in Hebrew that is an agreement between the would-be rebels and the Mossad. The agreement states that Israel will provide arms and training to the rebels until they take over the country and in return for that Israel will get to put a military base in the green mountain area of Libya.

The war against Libya had been planned for a long time. Dennis Kucinich held the documents that showed that there were war games in the Mediterranean with the French, UK and US against a mythical North Africa oil rich dictator nation. This was supposed to start on the 21st of February. The war actually started on the 17th of February. The main reason for the destruction of Libya was the gold-backed currency for the continent of Africa called the Dinar.
And let's not forget the joy that all of this brought Hillary:


A few years later, when Syrian president Bashar al-Assad found himself in a similar pickle as Gaddafi, Obama's neoliberal shock troops chose to side again with the 'wrong' crowd. Oops! Although they attempted to present these wobble-eyed nutjobs as 'moderate rebels', they were indistinguishable in terms of behavior from ISIS decapitators. Under the excuse of attacking the 'bad ISIS terrorists', US troops and war planes, with no invitation from Assad nor a UN mandate, illegally intervened in the country. To this day, even after Russia and Syria have completed the job of scrubbing the land of Daesh, the US refuses to leave the country.

So, I'm sorry, but someone else is going to have to explain to me the difference between these two 'competing' ideologies.

The truth is that the liberal warmongers care as little about international law, agreements or even the righteousness of their imperial adventures, as the neocons ever did. If there is any difference, it is simply in the nature of their excuses. Philip Giraldi writes:
There are inevitably minor disconnects between the two groups based on their motives for aggression - Democrats claim to do it to bring democracy and freedom while Republicans say they do it to enhance national security. Both are lying in any event as it all comes down to great power rivalries, with big powerful nations pushing smaller weaker nations around because they are able to get away with it and feel more comfortable if everyone lines up behind them.
The difference between the two groups then is akin to the difference between one person preferring to wear blue ties while another is really taken with red ones. The only reason we are told they are different is that it supports the illusion that there is a democratic interplay of forces and ideologies within the US political class. But as Gabriel Rockhill writes, the US is not a democracy and it never was - not even at its foundation.

Rather, it is an oligarchic republic in which elections are "multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite." In terms of foreign policy, it is much worse. Since WWII, it has overthrown around 50 foreign governments, some of them actual democracies, "grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries."

Apparently, ideological warmongers from the 'left' and warmongers 'because we like war' from the 'right' were concerned that a Trump administration might actually change the way foreign policy has been carried out by the US empire since its inception, especially after Trump promised 'America First' - meaning that solving domestic issues would take priority over bombing third parties. Therefore, the two groups closed ranks and found common ground in initiatives such as the 'Alliance for Securing Democracy', which describes itself as
a "bipartisan, transatlantic initiative" focused on Russia. Its purpose is to "develop comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter and raise the costs on Russian and other actors," while working to "expose Vladimir Putin's ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe."
Sen. Tom Cotton
© www.senateconservatives.com
Senator Tom Cotton
However, it seems that, lately, the neocons and some liberal interventionists have changed their strategy. They are no longer trying to dissuade Trump from pushing imperial ambitions aside. Now they are attempting to insert their own people directly into the new administration. There is a rumor floating around that Senator Tom Cotton, who is "completely owned by the Israel lobby," may replace Mike Pompeo as CIA director. Accurate or not, it is perhaps more significant that neocon hands are reaching out to Trump via their think-tanks and institutions. Giraldi says:
Neocon watchers will undoubtedly note that big names like Brill Kristol, the Kagans, Michael Chertoff and Max Boot will not be showing up in government. True, but that is because they will instead be working through their foundations, of which [the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD)] is only one. The Alliance for Securing Democracy, which has recently sprung up in lobby-land, markets itself as "bipartisan, and transatlantic..." but it actually is pure neocon... It includes the usual neocon names but also has the loyal Democratic opposition, including ex-CIA Acting Director Mike Morell and Jake Sullivan, both of whom were top level advisers to Hillary Clinton.
The Trump election may have given cause for hope that things would be different, but with the influence of such lobbying groups, as well as Trump's apparent capitulation to the 'deep state', it looks more and more like there is nothing new under the sun. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Time will tell. The first order of business is to kick the FBI to the curb.