Max Boot Interview: Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

Small Wars 
    and U.S. Foreign Policy: Conversation with Max Boot, Olin Fellow at the Council 
    on Foreign Relations, New York; with Professor Thomas G. Barnes, Professor 
    of History, UCB; March 12, 2003, by Harry Kreisler
Photo by Jane Scherr

Page 7 of 7


One final question, and I want to bring this question back to the personal element. Do you think your background as somebody whose parents emigrated from the Soviet Union and who was very sensitive to the Soviet system and our achievements in winning the victory against communism, that this realization sensitized you in your work as a writer, an author, to the potential of American power and the American ideal?

That's an astute observation, Harry. When you see the protests against the Iraq war, for example, the tenor of them is basically that these protesters think that George Bush is a bigger war criminal than Saddam Hussein. They think America is a greater danger to world peace than Iraq! To my mind, that's a crazy worldview and at odds with history. If you look at history, America has been the greatest hope for good in the world for the past century, where we have vanquished two of the worst tyrannies in world history in Nazism and communism. Of course, I'm especially sensitive to the role that America played in vanquishing communism.

You have to give us tremendous credit. We have not always been flawless. We have often made mistakes; any great power does. Sometimes we do terrible things. But, overall, I think our record is exemplary. If you put it up against that of any other great power in history, we would come out looking pretty darned impressive. That's a point of view that doesn't get heard enough in some sophisticated circles. But I'm proud to espouse it.

Max, on that note, I want to thank you very much for coming back to Berkeley to be the Nimitz Lecturer, and appearing on our program. Thank you very much.

Thanks, Max.

And, Professor Barnes, thank you for joining us.

Thank you.

And thank you very much for joining us for this Conversation with History.

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