I'm collecting examples of recognitions, even if dim, that the sort of foreign policy pursued by the Bush 43 administration is NOT "conservative". In December 2002 Francis Fukuyama, erstwhile "neo-conservative" but a more recent critic of "neo-conservatism", wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal called "Today's 'conservative' foreign policy has an idealist agenda".
Fukuyama asked: "What does it mean to have a conservative foreign policy in the post-Cold War world, and in particular in the world that has emerged since Sept. 11?... American foreign policy has always been pulled in two directions, toward a realist defense of national security defined in relatively narrow terms, and toward an expansive sense of American purposes that rests directly on the exceptionalism of American institutions and the messianic belief in their universal applicability.... How can we characterize the post-Sept. 11 foreign policy of the Bush administration?... The administration's new National Security Strategy of the United States lays out an ambitious road map for the wholesale reordering of the politics of the Middle East, beginning with the replacement of Saddam Hussein by a democratic, pro-Western government. A variety of administration spokesmen and advisers have suggested that a different government in Iraq will change the political dynamics of the entire region, making the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more tractable, putting pressure on authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and broadly promoting the cause of democracy in a hostile part of the world that has proven stubbornly resistant to all democratic trends. The present administration, in other words, has articulated anything but a conservative foreign policy. It is embarking on an immensely ambitious exercise in the political re-engineering of a hostile part of the world (emphasis added)."
Yes, the Bush 43 foreign policy is "anything but a conservative". But the ultimate irony, to which Fukuyama doesn't seem to be alert is that this policy bears substantial resemblance to the Jacobin foreign policy of the French Revolution. This is supreme irony because modern conservatism as an articulated political philosophy appeared as a critique of the perceived excesses of the French Revolution!
The sequence went like this: 1) the French Revolution occurs; 2) Edmund Burke as English political observer writes his critique, Reflections on the Revolution in France, articulating and founding modern conservatism; 3) American pseudo-conservatives on the radical right misappropriate for themselves the term "conservative" in the Cold War period; 4) this misnomer is accepted in American political discourse with scarce recognition that policies being advocated as "conservative" are frequently just the opposite; and thereby 5) what is a Jacobin foreign policy is now advocated under the label that originated as a criticism of Jacobinism and the French Revolution itself.