This article seeks to assess the dilemmas and ambiguities of contemporary Anglo-American conservative thought and practice in international affairs. It bases its discussion in an understanding of conservative thought as a philosophy of imperfection but points out that there is a dominant way in which this has been understood in the last two hundred years. but a rather different sensibility as well. It then argues that the dominant sensibility has become mired in crisis in the latter part of the twentieth century and as a result movements have arisen, allegedly within conservative thought, but in fact largely alien to it, and which now dominate the scene, especially in the United States. It seeks to trace the differences between the US and UK in this respect and offers an interpretation of the relative paucity of conservative thought-and oscillations and ambiguity of conservative practice-in the UK in the 1990s. Finally, the article offers some thoughts, drawn from that secondary sensibility in political conservatism, about what might be done.