Even if there were no Soviet Union or its equivalent to justify our monstrous military establishment, there would be, in sum, the whole self-perpetuating military-industrial complex and the technological-scientific elite that Eisenhower warned us against. These have attained by now a mass and an internal dynamic capable of being their own justification for continued military spending.... Take away the Soviet Union as crucial justification, and, under Parkinson's Law, content of some kind will expand relentlessly to fill the time and space left.This prediction proved true in just 5 years during which the Soviet Union did disappear and 'neo-conservatives' stepped forward to argue that the U.S. must take full advantage of this "unipolar moment" to make sure that no other power would be able to challenge the U.S. again. And, indeed, it was these 'neo-conservatives, the Krauthammers, Kristols, Feiths, Ledeens, et. al. who pushed us to spend yet more on the military and who provided the justification for invading Iraq.
The second force to which Nisbet referred was "the moralization of foreign policy" that began perhaps with Woodrow Wilson but continued up to today. Indeed, the so-called 'neo-conservatives' unite both forces in their rhetoric, they are huge cheerleaders for American military might and perhaps the most extreme moralizers of our foreign policy ever. It is these so-called 'neo-conservatives' who trumpet America's remarkable 'exceptionalism' and virtues and advocate using military might to bring 'democracy', 'freedom' and 'free market capitalism' to the rest of the benighted world. The majority of these individuals are also aggressively pro-Israeli and frequently pro-Zionist, and they support the far-right within Israel as well as in the U.S.
Here Nisbet merits the label 'conservative' because he breaks with pseudo-conservatives like William F. Buckley in noting the swelling of central government by the military and in maintaining some skepticism about "America the Virtuous." You cannot stand for small central government AND huge military budgets and an evangelical foreign policy, as people like Buckley and Reagan tried to do.