Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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The Military and U.S. Foreign Policy: Conversation with Andrew J. Bacevich, Professor and Director, Center for International Relations Boston University; May 9, 2005, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Andrew Bacevich, who is Professor of International Relations at Boston University and is the author, most recently, of The New American Militarism.

  1. Background ... midwestern Catholic ... child of WWII veterans ... West Point ... graduate school at Princeton ... dissertation on Frank Ross McCoy
  2. Studying Foreign Policy ... becoming interested in the military role ... rejecting the "great man" theory ... disillusionment with inter-service military rivalries ... military's quest for global supremacy despite changing international environment ... identifying as cultural conservative ... parting ways with conservatives over foreign policy
  3. American Militarism ... overconfidence in efficacy of force ... mistaken emblem of national greatness ... romanticization of soldiers ... bloated size, budget, and reach ... Chalmers Johnson ... disturbing lack of public concern ... unwillingness to trim forces after the Cold War
  4. The Effect of the Vietnam War ... rebuilding the military to "save the country" from the shame of defeat ... to restore status of the officer corps ... trying to choose winnable wars ... focus on Europe ... surprise and irony of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait
  5. The War Club ... Bush doctrine of preventive war rests on military technology ... post-Hiroshima notions of deterrence ... perceived value of small wars disproved by Vietnam ... defense intellegentsia discovers precision weaponry ... mistaken faith in "shock and awe"
  6. The Evolution of Mideast Policy ... Carter doctrine of Persian Gulf importance ... policy develops through ensuing presidencies ... recklessly leading to present Iraq war ... U.S. pursuit of freedom defined as affluence ... cheap oil
  7. Conclusion ... quixotic hope for a new conservative agenda ... challenging people to think ... advice for students ... the problem of an all-volunteer force ... born-again Wilsonianism
Bacevich Bacevich Bacevich

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