Thursday, October 24, 2013

Andrew Bacevich On American Wars, Rumors Of American Wars And The New... New... New... New... New... New... New Isolationism

To an old unabashed peacenik like me, it always seems as if America is quite literally always at war. Somewhere in the world in a place known to the American public or not, for some purpose possibly admirable but probably not, possibly in America's interest but just as likely not, America's massive military might is arrayed and deployed against... whatever. Sometimes against the might of an assortment of dictators, as in W.W.II just before I was born. Sometimes against the only other remaining superpower, as in the Cold War in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies and diminishing through the Eighties, a war that seemed never to heat up and never to end. Sometimes... but never mind; no matter how young you are, if you're reading this, you probably know of America's newer wars within your own lifetime; you may even have participated in them.

Andrew Bacevich, professor at Boston University, IMHO one of the deepest thinkers alive today on American international relations and military adventures in the past century, offers an article, published in this case on, basically framing his latest book, Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, and explaining the perpetuation of accusations of American isolationism for at least the span of the 20th century, what writers have meant by the word, and who has been vulnerable to accusations of isolationism. Hint: apparently, in the minds of anti-Fascists, anti-Communists, neoconservatives and just plain nutjobs, I am one... an isolationist, that is.

And yet it's hard for me to see myself as one. Read the article by Bacevich and see whether you qualify as somebody's isolationist. If you've opposed any war in the 20th or 21st century, you probably are, in the opinion of one or another nutjob, or at least of the New York Times, and they have not been shy about calling you out. Not by name, of course; that would concede too much respect.

As for me, as talk turns to "pivoting" toward African nations (as military targets, what else), I think I'm going to sleep most of this century. My body is telling me that that's what fate has planned for me anyway. At least the timing is good!

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