Scott Horton Interviews Andrew Bacevich

Scott Horton, July 07, 2011

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Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations at Boston University and author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, discusses his article “War Fever Subsides in Washington” at tomdispatch.com; Robert Gates on excessive war costs and the end of “wars of choice;” why the US should eliminate the unnecessary and counterproductive military bases in Europe and the Middle East, respectively, while maintaining those in Japan and South Korea; the failure of militaristic “hard power” foreign policy; the officer corps getting on board with budget cuts and reform; and why current US involvement in Libya is at a peak (no need to worry about purple-finger elections and decades of nation building).

MP3 here. (21:42)

Andrew J. Bacevich is Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his PhD in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University. Before joining the faculty of Boston University, he taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins.

Bacevich is the author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War (2010).  His previous books include The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2008);  The Long War: A New History of US National Security Policy since World War II (2007) (editor); The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (2005); and American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U. S. Diplomacy (2002). His essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of scholarly and general interest publications including The Wilson Quarterly, The National Interest, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Nation, and The New Republic. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Boston Globe, and Los Angeles Times, among other newspapers.

In 2004, Dr. Bacevich was a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. He has also held fellowships at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

15 Responses to “Andrew Bacevich”

  1. Why the exception in S. Korea and Japan, regarding the military bases…I lived and worked there as
    a "civilian" in 1996 and on…there's no need for the US to be there either!

  2. Strongly disagree with Bacevitch about his argument for maintaining bases in Japan and S. K..
    he's way off and doesn't understand this part of the world…his work and experience has been in Berlin and Europe in general…

  3. "We need the Us military and its bases in this place but not that place."

    Stability, stability, blah, blah. This is the same red herring that is used to prop up dictators across the Middle East and Africa. Please, since when do imperialist powers act rationally? Either withdraw ENTIRELY or face bankruptcy. Either way they WILL come home. Take your pick Bacevitch. That is the ONLY option you have.

    Either troops will be everywhere or nowhere. The Cold War ended 20 years ago Bacevitch. Has the government acted rationally since then? No. It has only expanded it's reach. THINK please.

  4. His CV is absurdly Establishment. You can read thorough analyses of the roots of the American empire by downloading free books written by Charles Tansill, William Henry Chamberlain and John T Flynn at mises.org.

    Murray Rothbard: http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance181.html
    "The crucial act in expanding the United States from a republic into an Empire, and in spreading that Empire throughout the world, replacing the sagging British Empire in the process. Our entry into World War II was the crucial act in foisting a permanent militarization upon the economy and society, in bringing to the country a permanent garrison state, an overweening military-industrial complex, a permanent system of conscription. It was the crucial act in creating a Mixed Economy run by Big Government, a system of State-Monopoly-Capitalism run by the central government in collaboration with Big Business and Big Unionism. It was the crucial act in elevating Presidential power, particularly in foreign affairs, to the role of single most despotic person in the history of the world. And, finally, World War II is the last war-myth left, the myth that the Old Left clings to in pure desperation: the myth that here, at least, was a good war, here was a war in which America was in the right. World War II is the war thrown into our faces by the war-making Establishment, as it tries, in each war that we face, to wrap itself in the mantle of good and righteous World War II."

  5. Pipe dream. Grasping at straws.

  6. O doesn't care what the American people think and will get reelected easily as he'll have all the money corps can shower on him and he'll be running against a batshit crazy person.

  7. Sadly, Bacevich cannot psychologically face up to the need for ethical principles — such as the libertarian non-aggression axiom and the consequent policies of non-intervention both domestically and internationally. He lost his son, which gave him pause in a responsive sense, but for him to disavow a lifetime of subservience to the state would be to question the foundation of his very life. Such an action would take more courage than most people in the military are accustomed to exhibit. They are usually more go-along-get-along than the worst “corporation man.” A personality re-do is not in the future for this man, and he will retain the inner conflicts that go along with it.

  8. Beggin' the Colonel's pardon, but I disagree with him about U.S. bases in South Korea and Japan. It's time to get the hell out of there, too. Japan and South Korea are more than capable of defending themselves, In any case, it isn't–shouldn't be–up to the U.S. to do it for them.

    I hope the Colonel's right about war fever subsiding in the District of Corruption, but I'll believe it when I see it. Remember, O-Bomb-a's a puppet of Israel and of the military industrial complex.

  9. US being there is not about protection of Japan nor S.K. It's about the irrational fear of Communism, as if China is a real communist nation. Come on, wake up and smell the coffee or maybe he should go back to Mars. Earth is such a dangerous place for Martians to be.

  10. US presence is the cause of any arms race in Asia. Taiwan, Japan and SK are US colonies pure and simple.

  11. From a coldly analytical standpoint, Iraq has been a modern example of siege warfare. Instead of a surrounded and cut off ancient city-state being pummeled with crude ballistic weapons, we have the modern nation-state; surrounded, cut off, and being pounded with crude ballistic weapons.

  12. I hope you write more on this subject!

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