Scott Horton Interviews Jim Powell

Scott Horton, July 09, 2009

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(Scott Horton is on vacation. This show is from the Antiwar Radio archives and was recorded on April. 16, 2005)

Jim Powell, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Wilson’s War: How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and World War II, explains that it was American intervention, not a lack thereof, that created the circumstances which led to the Second World War and the unbroken chain of U.S. intervention overseas from Woodrow Wilson’s breaking of the stalemate of 1917.

MP3 here. (39:20)

Jim Powell, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is an expert in the history of liberty. He has lectured in England, Germany, Japan, Argentina and Brazil as well as at Harvard, Stanford and other universities across the United States. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Audacity/American Heritage and other publications.

He is the author of several books, including The Triumph of Liberty: A 2,000 Year History Told Through The Lives Of Freedom’s Greatest Champions (Free Press, 2000), FDR’s Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression (2003), Wilson’s War: How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led To Hitler, Lenin, Stalin And World War II (2005) and Bully Boy: The Truth About Theodore Roosevelt’s Legacy (2006).

10 Responses to “Jim Powell”

  1. The file's not here

  2. I got the same problem, file not found

  3. Fixed. Some changes in old servers.

    Angela, producer.

  4. Could it be that the US, like Britain, saw a prosperous Germany and Russia as potential economic competitors thus making the depletion of both armies a goal rather than an unintended consequence? This fits with the self interested nature of nations and in particular Empires.

  5. If you want the truth about "great" figures, you've got to listen to what the critics, the skeptics, the naysayers–i.e., people like Powell–have to say. Otherwise, the mainsteam 'court historians" will have the field to themselves.

    Saint Woodrow of Wilson was a messianic, arrogant sonofabitch. He was an academic and, like so many of those types, he was long on theories and abstractions, but short on practical judgment.

    WW1 started out as Europe's war. They should have been allowed to duke it out.

  6. Wilson was not the cause or even a cause of WWII but he did lead America back into Europe and we have not been able to extract ourselves from our new mission….this will probably be a factor in our collapse as a civilization somewhere down the road….but with Germany and then Russia and Japan industrializing during the 20th century we may well have had to fight them in any event……had the US joined the League of Nations the results might have been different but that too is speculation…but
    the Congress bears the blame for that one…

  7. How do we neutralize the militarism/chauvanism which inflicts all economically powerful nations and how do we prevent that phenomenon from driving people to war. Something in our genes–when we hear a brass band blaring out music we can march to, we march. The infliction has become particularly acute in America where the separation of sacrifice and war puts our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the realm of entertainment. Couple that with an economy that is built around war and "preparing" for war and we got problems. How serious will only be realized when we are looking back in anguish at what could have been. Perhaps there will never be such a time. Unlikely.

  8. The "something in our genes" related to music that you are referring to, has been known throughout history, especially by the ancient Greeks. They understood the power of music in effecting people's psyches so much that they actually banned certain musical intervals and chords from being played, and had developed a kind of musical repertoire to instill specific virtues in their developing children. That was certainly extreme, but my point is that they rightly knew that music was very powerful in effecting people. Music, like many other cultural expressions, can overcome our rational minds and seduce us into accepting ideas that would otherwise shock us.

    Therefore, something quite dangerous has occurred in our time. For various reasons, most people have lost interest in really trying to learn and understand history, political ideas, cause and effect; in a word, reality. Objective reality. Including the notion that ideas have consequences.

    Instead, people have spent their time and energy on what could be called "cultural things", such as music, movies, TV, or whatever, but consider these things to be morally neutral, and having no ideological content. The result is that they are in a position to be psychologically influenced without even realizing it, and also have no well-developed defense against ideas that are logically inconsistent, historically dis-proven, and ultimately destructive to the basic ideas of life and liberty that are taken for granted.

    How to counter this trend will be very difficult. Both cultural savvy and logical consistency are needed in equal doses. Truth must be sought above all else. Courage to face our own personal failings, as well as confronting public falsehoods must be a cherished virtue.

    I think of Governor Mark Sanford. He publicly rejected pre-emptive war, and promoted many other liberty ideas and causes. I considered him a good ally in the fight against the warfare/welfare state. But his personal failures have cost him credibility, his political future and probably his job. Character is a complete whole. If you're proven untrustworthy on one thing, people will naturally suspect everything else. It is just human nature to see it that way, as much as people say it's human nature to give in to lust (or greed). Trying to make excuses or minimize our failure only makes it worse.

    I digress.

    In summary:

    Truth in all things.
    Wise as serpents.
    Harmless as doves.
    Courage over image.

    Peace.

  9. Interesting thought. I was just reading about German cultural and scientific excellence before and after WWI period. Rise of Nazism destroyed the cultural part, but scientifically they got pretty close to the atom bomb.

    Loved the interview btw!

  10. this is what I wrote long time ago about how the world wars were started by england to destory other countrieslike germany and russia together.

    A very famous news mogul-Mr.Rudolph Hearst (Jewish proprietor of he the Hearst newspaper chain ))- had been stopped from running for American presidency in 1916 because he was suspected by the English that
    might not have been inclined to rescue england in the 1st world war. Anyway, the southern constituency was pressing hard for america to come to rescue england who was staring defeat and thus loosing the prospect of enslaved nations who would have been feed from defeat of england. America did come to aid of england and it was called end of isolationalism. But this end of isolationalism would be tolerated only when it suits english interest against others and not in case of others like freedom for Irish people in northern Ireland (an occupied part of Ireland).and that British agent Wilson intervened on side of Britain in name of spreading democracy at point of gun! Woodrow Wilson was re-elected in 1916 on a promise to stay out of the Great War.
    Think of that-Britain was looting two third of the world at the time and killing starving millions of people-and this Wilson comes to Britain rescue in name of protecting democracy! And that is exactly what these bastards mean when they utter democracy-that is a code word for them to attack other countries for furtherance of british interest. Then if two millions Iraqi are killed -starved -it is price worth paying. Somebody can legitimately ask than what to do with 60 millions English people and then it would be worth the price to save the world from English rapacity.
    “The First World War was by far the bloodiest conflict in human history up to that time. Schwartz and Skinner noted, “Woodrow Wilson proclaimed a war for democracy against ‘Prussian dictatorship,’ but that was propaganda. Germany had civil rights, an elected parliament, competing parties, universal male suffrage, and an unparalleled system of social democracy.” Germany was far more democratic than either the British or French empire.”

    “The significance of the revived promotion of Marx's name is located in the process, directed from London, by Prince of Wales Edward Albert, for clearing the way for "A New Seven Years War" on the European continent, through a series of measures, including the ouster of Germany's Chancellor Bismarck, the assassination of France's President Sadi Carnot, the Dreyfus case, the British launching of Japan into wars against China, and the London-steered assassination of U.S. President William McKinley. The McKinley assassination had the crucial function of shifting control of the U.S. Presidency from the U.S. traditional orientation of friendship toward both Bismarck's Germany and Russia, by putting the U.S. Presidency in the hands of a dutiful nephew of a Confederate spy, Theodore Roosevelt, and, a bit later, a fervent champion of the Ku Klux Klan, London's asset Woodrow Wilson. It was only with the election of President Franklin Roosevelt, that the U.S. Presidency fell again into the hands of a true U.S. patriot, as the death of Franklin Roosevelt put the Presidency back into the hands of a Wall Street tool and Churchill accomplice, Harry S Truman.”

    An Anglophile to the core, ku kulx klan stooge Wilson didn't care about the fate of the Russians. His concern was in keeping German forces split along two fronts. The payoff worked: Russia's provisional prime minister Aleksandr Kerensky kept the Russians involved in the war.

    In 1916, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected to the presidency chiefly on the strength of a slogan: "He kept us out of war." By 1917, the peacenik prez was leading the charge against Germany, jailing antiwar activists, and exhorting Americans to fight a "war to end all wars." In 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt told the voters: "I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." Behind the scenes, however, he was maneuvering to do just that – and by the end of 1941, we were fighting a two-front war, embracing "Uncle" Joe Stalin as a fellow "anti-fascist," and planning the internment of the Japanese-American population.

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