Conversation with Noam Chompsky
Andrew Bacevich discusses his book, “The Age of Illusions”, at Politics and Prose.
With books including The Limits of Power, America’s War for the Greater Middle East, and Twilight of the American Century, Bacevich, professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University, has proven one of our most incisive foreign policy analysts. In his new book he charts the remarkable period since the end of the Cold War, showing that while the West’s victory seemed to validate American-style liberal democratic values, the nation’s engagement in several wars and expanded globalization led not to world peace and prosperity but to inequality, divisiveness, and Trump.
Andrew J. Bacevich is professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University. A graduate of both the U.S. Military Academy and Princeton University, he served in the U.S. Army for twenty-three years. His recent books include The Limits of Power, America’s War for the Greater Middle East, and Twilight of the American Century. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the London Review of Books, and the American Conservative, among other publications.
01:09there is a very class conscious01:13unusually class conscious very powerful01:16business community always fighting a01:19bitter class war never relentless and01:22unusually powerful that’s one of the01:25reasons for the difference between the01:27United States and Europe and you just01:29can’t study the United States without01:31paying attention to that they have01:33overwhelming power over the political01:35system they basically Shrek frame what01:38happens in the media without just even01:44introducing that factor you’re just not01:46discussing the country so doesn’t matter01:49what the abstract theories say and thereare other things like that there otherthings about the United States whichreally have to be considered seriouslyit’s a very frightened country andalways has been back to colonial daysand some good scholarship on this butthere’s a reason why people didn’t laughwhen Reaganstrapped on his cowboy boots and saidwe’re under threat from Nicaragua fromGrenada you know so I’m saying whoeverit’s a frightened country and always hasbeen and you’ve got to pay attention tothat you know there’s a cultural effectand there are other basic things thathave to be considered if you want totalk seriously about the country and androll’s it it just wasn’t his interest
President Trump’s remarks on Afghanistan at his Cabinet meeting Wednesday were a notable event. They will be criticized heavily, and deservedly so. The full text is available on the White House website.
Mr. Trump ridiculed other nations’ commitment of troops to fight alongside America’s in Afghanistan. He said, “They tell me a hundred times, ‘Oh, we sent you soldiers. We sent you soldiers.’”
This mockery is a slander against every ally that has supported the U.S. effort in Afghanistan with troops who fought and often died. The United Kingdom has had more than 450 killed fighting in Afghanistan.
As reprehensible was Mr. Trump’s utterly false narrative of the Soviet Union’s involvement there in the 1980s. He said: “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.”
Right to be there? We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American President. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with three divisions in December 1979 to prop up a fellow communist government.
The invasion was condemned throughout the non-communist world. The Soviets justified the invasion as an extension of the Brezhnev Doctrine, asserting their right to prevent countries from leaving the communist sphere. They stayed until 1989.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a defining event in the Cold War, making clear to all serious people the reality of the communist Kremlin’s threat. Mr. Trump’s cracked history can’t alter that reality.