The whole thing is rather negative. It seems Hunt is arguing that it is presumptuous of the United States to say it is "the best" - the model of how the world should be, and everyone should be just like us, and it is our moral duty to make them over in our image.
Although the neoconservative polemicist Charles Krauthammer has declared America to be "the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome", and Paul Bremer, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, sounds every day more like an Edwardian viceroy, the White House is adamant that the war on terror is distinct from the colonial ambitions of previous great powers. Instead, what the Bush administration is concerned with is fulfilling the ideals of the American revolution.
However, although bookshops in the US are awash with new biographies of George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, what the White House has learned from all this scholarship seems little different from the historical interpretation of the Mel Gibson film The Patriot. For Gibson, the revolution was a clear-cut struggle for liberty from the wicked British.
The neoconservatives have taken this dubious history as read and then universalized the principle. The liberty won by the founding fathers in the 18th century is for the Pentagon hawks a value of global validity. As President Bush put it: "If the values are good enough for our people, they ought to be good enough for others." And as the disillusioned Republican thinker Paul Craig Roberts has pointed out, it is this claim of universality that seems to endow American principles with their monopoly on virtue. It behooves America, as a republic of virtue, to export these ideals around the world.
... This sense of moral clarity is what is meant to distinguish neoconservatism from plain old conservatism. While the likes of Kissinger and Nixon were happy to collude with terrorism and bolster tyrannies, Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, and Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, will brook no such betrayal of America's heritage. It is this call of historic virtue that accounts for President Bush's recently launched "forward strategy for freedom in the Middle East". Instead of supporting friendly if corrupt Arab regimes, democracy and liberty would provide the litmus test for US diplomacy in the region. "For too long, American policy looked away while men and women were oppressed," announced the leader of the free world. "That era is over."
Leaving aside US support for some pretty distasteful regimes in the oil-rich Caspian basin, or Rice's intervention in the Venezuelan elections, or the decision to postpone the polls in Iraq, there [are] remainfundamental historical problems with the neoconservative vision.
For at the political core the American revolution was a highly restricted notion of freedom: the right of property holders to dispose of their wealth as they saw fit. Many revolutionaries simply wanted to be treated as Englishmen - which might account for Benjamin Franklin lobbying for a job in the Westminster government as late as 1771. No taxation without representation is a very different cry from the universal right to liberty.
Moreover, the property that many founding fathers wanted to protect was their slave holdings.