The Good Strategist
May 31, 2005
by Scott McConnell
When he died in March at the age of 101, George F. Kennan was remembered principally as America's leading Cold War strategist, one of the "Wise Men" who took control of American foreign policy in the pivotal years after World War II and molded the institutions that shaped the world for the next 50 years. The containment doctrine most associated with him—espousing the need to confront Soviet postwar expansion with an American "counterforce" and holding out the prospect that a Soviet communism denied significant military or political expansion would eventually wither and die—was the central skein of American strategy for two generations after World War II.
To read the entire article, visit the American Conservative online.
The Lure of Military Society
May 23, 2005
Richard K. Betts reviews Andrew Bacevich's new book, The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War (Oxford University Press, 2005), in The American Conservative.
"Today as never before in their history," the book relentlessly argues, "Americans are enthralled with military power." They naively exaggerate its effectiveness, overlook its horror, romanticize the military profession, and accept the normalization of war as an instrument of policy. There is no single culprit in this shift, certainly not just the Bush administration and its neocons, although they get their fair share of blame. The march to militarism has been a bipartisan project into which various elites, popular culture, and religious movements have shepherded society and government institutions with scarcely a thought.
The review in its entirety can be read here.
Richard K. Betts is director of the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University and the author of Soldiers, Statesmen, and Cold War Crises (Columbia University Press, 1991).
Gary Hart on Democracies Confronting Terror 5.18.05
Former U.S. Senator Gary Hart delivered the keynote address at a meeting sponsored by the Security and Peace Institute on May 18, 2005. The forum, convened in partnership with the Club of Madrid, focused on how democracies can both improve cooperation and better preserve human rights while fighting terrorism, featured presentations by a number of experts and practitioners in the field.
The transcript of Senator Hart's speech can be read here.
You can watch Senator Hart's speech here. (This may take time to load).
The Joys of Flying
May 19, 2005
by Charles Pena
Charles Pena wonders how the "No-Fly List" became a "No-Land" directive in this article in the American Spectator online.
Credit, deserved or not, goes to the winner
May 17, 2005
Jonathan Clarke considers the implications of what would happen should the Iraq experience live up to the Bush administration's promises there.
However, let us posit, for the purposes of argument, that the following political consensus emerges: The Iraq experience demonstrates that the exercise of raw American power in a war of choice can not only unseat an unpleasant villain but also provide a region-wide catalyst for a movement toward American-style market democracy in a region thought inhospitable to the democratic impulse. If this turns out to be the dominant analysis, present and past critics will be awkwardly placed, finding themselves in a similar position to those who went to the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s and returned saying that "I have seen the future and it works." In short, those of us who had opposed the invasion of Iraq will feel like chumps, though we will rightly remind ourselves that the debate over whether to bomb Baghdad was always about means, not ends.
The article may be read in its entirety here
Jonathan Clarke is co-author most recently of America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order (Cambridge University Press, 2004). He is a foreign affairs scholar at the Cato Institute.
This article originally appeared in The Washington Monthly.
May 16, 2005
Ted Galen Carpenter and Justin Logan write that while our allies in Taiwan and South Korea are counting on our help, they're not doing much to deserve it.
America's East Asia policy is in dire need of an overhaul. Today's policy-makers would do well to consider the fact that this is 2005, not 1955, and that maintaining Cold War-era protectorates out of bureaucratic inertia is folly. At the very least, officials should be forced to explain how it is that a dramatically changed geostrategic environment demands a U.S. security posture in East Asia almost exactly the same as that required by the Cold War. We now have the worst of all possible situations, as America is responsible for the defense of feckless clients that pursue risky policies that undermine our own interests and security.
The article in its entirety may be read here.
Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute, is the author of the forthcoming America's Coming War with China: A Collision Course over Taiwan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and co-author of The Korean Conundrum: America's Troubled Relations with North and South Korea (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). Justin Logan is a research assistant at the Cato Institute.
This article originally appeared in The American Prospect Online.
True Patriots Should Worry More about Freedom at Home
May 09, 2005
While President Bush talks about spreading freedom abroad, Ivan Eland writes how the president has been undermining it at home.
President George W. Bush claims that he is spreading freedom throughout the world. However, for him "freedom" appears to be more a slogan, devoid of content and used to harness U.S. nationalism for his own purposes. Freedom meant much more to the Founders of the American republic. They would be appalled at the president's crusade to impose democracy abroad and its resulting, but unnecessary, erosion of liberties at home. Bush’s attempts to renew expiring USA PATRIOT Act provisions, which were supposed to be a temporary enhancement of government police powers in the wake of 9/11, show his shallow commitment to freedom where it is needed most—here at home.
This article may be read in its entirety here.
Ivan Eland is senior fellow and director of the Center for Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute.
This article originally appeared on The Independent Institute's Web site.
How The Democrats Have Been Paralysed By Bush
May 06, 2005
Anatol Lieven explains the obstacles Democrats face in making foreign policy a key issue for the 2008 presidential race.
But for the Democrats, making foreign policy a foundation for the struggle to win the presidency in 2008 comes up against two immense obstacles. The first is that, by its messianic rhetoric of spreading "freedom" in the world and confronting "evil", the administration has seized control of a national myth that is common to the great majority of Americans, and has most often been expressed in the past by Democrat leaders.
The second obstacle is that, despite this messianic rhetoric, in practice the Bush administration in most parts of the world is pursuing a rather cautious and realist strategy. It is not carrying out the kind of extreme actions that would alarm many ordinary Americans and lead to repeated splits in the Republican party.
The article in its entirety can be found here.
Anatol Lieven is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2004)