Scott Horton Interviews Jim Powell

Scott Horton, November 12, 2011

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Jim Powell, historian, author and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, discusses his classic article for Armistice Day “What We Can Learn From Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder;” how US entry into WWI ended the stalemate that would have produced negotiated settlements and paved the way for Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and WWII; how Wilson’s weak negotiating skills failed to prevent the vengeful Treaty of Versailles and the rise of German nationalism; how “war socialism” contributed more to post-war German hyperinflation than reparation payments; the Ottoman Empire’s destruction and subsequent formation of ill-conceived new countries; and the tens of millions killed by their own communist governments in Russia and China.

MP3 here. (31:28)

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 Wilson’s War: How Woodrow Wilson’s Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and World War II and The Triumph of Liberty, A 2,000 Year History Told Through The Lives Of Freedom’s Greatest Champions (Free Press, 2000), with a foreword by Paul Johnson. This book chronicles heroic struggles against tyranny, slavery, war and mass murder. Powell’s book FDR’s Folly, How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression (2003) reported a wide range of findings – ignored by political historians and biographers – about the unexpected consequences of New Deal policies. Thomas Sowell wrote: “Only now has a book been written in language that non-economists can understand which argues persuasively that the policies of the Roosevelt administration actually prolonged the depression and made it worse.”

11 Responses to “Jim Powell”

  1. Our worst president ever. Caused so much suffering. And all America had to do was mind its own business.

  2. INVESTERS + POLITICIANS + GENERALS = WAR GLORY

    “Jim Powell, says, “Wilson was an incredibly naive and ill informed man.”

    The god-ego elite who have campaign funded all American presidents since 1776, those who call themselves rich nobility and High Society, they could care less if paid actor politicians are “naive and ill informed.” Could Wilson and Obama put on a star performance in a way that worships the rich, and as the answer is yes, just a repeat of bad history and the Second Great Depression is all that the Bush-Obama Administration will accomplish.

  3. As always it should mind it's own business but it doesn't.

  4. Wilson is a shining example of the arrogant narcissistic intellectual. Someone who simply knew better how others should live and die. Here is a born liar who saddles us with the Federal Reserve, income taxes, and foreign wars, etc. etc. etc. And he has the balls to later say he regretted what he'd done. As if !!! Sounds like the rat bastards we have today. The SOB sent people to horrific deaths, authorized spying on citizens and jail for dissenters… Over what? Hell is too good for him.

  5. POOR MAN’S VISION

    Our involvement in the First and Second World War, this was controlled primarily by our rich industrialists who saw Germany as a major obstacle to USA gaining dominance and control over Europe. The Marshall plan to finance the rebuilding of European infrastructure in 1945, this was primarily to give Western Europe a head start over Germany as they reentered world markets.

    Russia for example, when Stalin’s little group was penniless and unknown, a group of American industrialists gave him $21 million.

  6. My grandfather Roy Smith, he drove a generals jeep in the First World War, then in Prohibition during the 1920’s, he was a front man for the rich ruling class of south-central Minnesota. For he ran Monterey Ballroom and all the other speakeasy nightclubs, the slot machines and bootleg whisky. An old man once told me, “O, your grandmother was Ora Smith? Why she was the most beautiful woman in Owatonna, and when her and Roy drove through town in their new Lincoln, every head would turn. Uncle Lyle told me, “Just before the Feds were due in town, the Sheriff would call Roy and we would collect the slot machines and bootleg from the country stores and hide them in a farmers barn.

    Everyone thought grandpa Roy was part of the Mafia, but the Mafia were paid actors that worked only for the rich of Chicago and New York. Anyway that’s what my dad told me, as he ran taverns in Chicago and the only ones he paid off were the police captains.

  7. Predictable sour grape nonsense from Powell. We could all throw our favorite – and ethnically pleasing – examples from history. How about the "millions killed by the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Empire"? And how are the new states any more "ill-conceived" than the wrecks they replaced? Germans and their allies in Austria, Hungary and Turkey, went for a brutal empire and over-reached. With Wilson's help they were stopped and millions of people as a result lived better. The a-hole German and Turkish imperialists lost. Are you rellay that sorry to see that?

  8. SECURITY — ONLY IN EXPANSION

    Beck, says, “sour grape nonsense from Powell. We could all throw in our favorite… examples from history.”

    I believe it was the empire expert Michael Parenti who said that to explain an empire without covering the economics that controls every aspects of it, is not going to get the job done.

    Our Empire for example, just before it by a genocide removed all the indigenous native Americans from Florida, our President at the time set forth the dominant morality of our Empire, “There is security only in expansion.” Surely, for economical security comes only from the prosperity born of exploring new and expanded opportunities for growth.

    And this is why I have always felt that Israel was created by High Society USA, to be our 51st state, what with expansion and a one-world government being what Zionism is all about.

  9. SECURITY — ONLY IN EXPANSION

    Beck, says, “sour grape nonsense from Powell. We could all throw in our favorite… examples from history.”

    I believe it was the empire expert Michael Parenti who said that to explain an empire without covering the economics that controls every aspects of it, is not going to get the job done.

    Our Empire for example, just before it by a genocide removed all the indigenous native Americans from Florida, our President at the time set forth the dominant morality of our Empire, “There is security only in expansion.” Surely, for economical security comes only from the prosperity born of exploring new and expanded opportunities for growth.

    And this is why I have always felt that Israel was created by High Society USA, to be our 51st state, what with expansion and a one-world government being what Zionism is all about.

  10. Woodrow Wilson was a messianic, self-righteous sonofabitch. (He once said, "God ordained that I should be President of the United States." And here I thought the Blues Brothers were the only ones on a "mission from God"!)

    America's intervention in WW1 was a colossal tragedy. The corrupt, decadent European leaders started the war. Let 'em fight until they bleed themselves dry. It's their Goddamn war–let 'em take the consequences.

  11. The U.S. Government is owned by Wall Street, Israel, Big Defense, Big Pharma, Big Everything. Their lobbyists are well-equipped with big checkbooks.

    Joe Sixpack–that two-pack-a-day, beer-swiggin' denizen of the loading dock–doesn't have any say at all.

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