Matt Yglesias links approvingly to a post that singles out neoconservative support for “benevolent hegemony” for criticism. While the war in Iraq and the neoconservative “democracy promotion” agenda most definitely deserve to be attacked, the principle of “benevolent hegemony” is a good one. The U.S., most would agree, is the most power nation on earth. “Hegemony” is a good term for that. As we’re in this position, doesn’t it make sense to use it “benevolently”? What we should criticize is not this fundamental principle, but the neoconservative definition of “benevolent”. Their definition is inherently unworkable, due to worldwide nationalist opposition to democracy promotion. However, if we were to embrace benevolence defined as, say, stopping genocide or other forms of humanitarian intervention, would that necessarily be a bad thing? I think we can agree that it’s better than just sitting back and doing nothing with our power.