A lot has been made of the group at the center of the neoconservative movement, the Project for a New American Century. In their Statement of Principles, they write (emphasis mine), "Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership."
The highlighted text is the excuse for Iraq and the Bush doctrine of preemptive war. The signatories to the statement make that clear; they include Elliot Abrams, Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Francis Fukuyama, I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney.
The problem with 'shaping circumstances before they emerge and meeting threats before they become dire' is that you've got to be a freakin' Nostradamus, as current events in Somalia show. From New York Daily News:
WASHINGTON - Radical Islamic militias seized control of the capital of Somalia on Monday, alarming U.S. counterterrorism officials who fear it becoming an al-Qaida safe haven like Afghanistan was under the Taliban.
An alliance of Islamic militias fought secular warlords to dominate neighborhoods in the capital of Mogadishu, the city U.S. peacekeepers were driven from after the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" battle.
The defeated secular warlords had reportedly received secret U.S. support - but have fled the ruined city.
So we headed off the 'emerging (and non-existent) crisis' in Iraq, meanwhile ignoring the dire and growing threat in Somalia. Yeah, that's real good thinkin' there. According to the article, "'Now you've got a safe haven for al-Qaida,' said a defense intelligence official monitoring the country that was used as a base to stage attacks on two U.S. embassies and an Israeli resort in East Africa. 'It's definitely a concern.'"
The problem, I believe, is a complete failure of logic. They think history is a two way street - if you can trace the consequences back to the event, then you can look at an event and predict the consequences. This obvious logical fallacy has had disastrous results. PNAC visionaries Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld thought that iraqis would welcome us with flowers and candy. They thought the consequence of an Iraq invasion would be democracy spreading within the region. In fact, they were so certain they had predicted the consequence that they were totally unprepared for any other possibility. It seems like they're completely unable to think outside the box they've constructed - if they just keep doing what they're doing, it'll still work, in their minds.
In the end, the PNAC signatories are utopians. Like the communist utopians before them, they believe that if you set the world up just right, history will end, the world will become changeless, and things will be perfect for ever and ever.
Instead, islamic extremism is spreading throughout south Asia, the middle east, and Africa, terrorism is becoming an accepted battle tactic throughout the world, and Hamas has become a major player in the israeli/palestinian conflict. Good job, guys.
Ironically, these guys also deny the things that are entirely predictable - like global warming. They have an impossible world in their heads and they want it so badly that they think they can force us all to try to live there at gunpoint - even though the fantasy world they envision is not just unlikely, it's physically impossible.