Anatol Lieven Interview: Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

American Nationalism: Conversation with Anatol Lieven, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for Peace, May 6, 2004 by Harry Kreisler

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Conclusion

Many of these issues will be addressed in your new book. Tell us a little about the book, its title, and when it will appear.

It's called America, Right and Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism, and it's to be published by Oxford University Press in October. It's also coming out in several other languages, but it's aimed above all, at -- at least, I hope it will be read above all, by -- an American audience, and especially a younger American audience. book coverOne of the things I try to do in this book is recall what I think were the very wise words of previous generations of American scholars and thinkers like Senator William Fulbright, George Kennan, C. Vann Woodward, Richard Hofstadter, and others, which it often seemed to me in the run-up to the Iraq War had been completely forgotten by much of the American political and even intellectual elites.

One final question: How would you advise students to prepare for the future in addressing the kinds of issues we've been talking about? Because it doesn't appear that the issues are going away.

First of all, just read. Read as deeply as you possibly can, and as broadly as you can in the history of the Muslim world, in particular, and of Western dealings with the Muslim world. Anybody who reads the history of British and American dealings with Iraq or Iran over the past century is going to have a much better idea of why Iraqis and Iranians view our present pretensions to bring democracy as a sick joke. Read as deeply, as widely, try to form an empathy, which isn't necessarily the same as sympathy. I would never suggest sympathizing with monsters like the Ba'ath, just try to understand where they're coming from in order to deal with them. That is the fundamental lesson or advice I would give, and not just for this subject, but for any subject that people want to understand and deal with.

Anatole, thank you very much for coming to our program and sharing these insights that come from your own intellectual journey, and your thoughts about the world we're in today. Thank you very much.

Thanks a lot.

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

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