American Militarism: TIME Profiles Andrew Bacevich's "Provocative" Work
In his typical no-holds-barred candor, Bacevich assesses the evolution of American militarism from the original publication of his book until today. "When force once again becomes the option of last resort, when our armed forces are held accountable, and when Americans realize that our 'warriors' are not morally superior to the rest of us — then militarism will have begun to subside," he says in the TIME interview. And, as far as he can tell, this mindset has yet to take hold. Further, he argues that, "overall, American generalship has been mediocre at best," and we need to admit to America's shortcomings if we have any hopes of learning from them. As he explains at length in both The Limits of Power and his newest book, The Washington Rules, poor leadership decisions made by senior military officials have caused many American wars to be fought and lost. And learning from these poor decisions, he explains in the interview, "requires reflection."
While he says his present-day critiques of American military strategy and foreign policy come from his position as an outside observer, he does have experience in the field. A retired colonel, a Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he combines field experience with academic analysis in his keynotes and his writing. He offers a pragmatic and uncompromising account of how the nation's current military strategy was formed, and tells audiences where the military-driven mindset will take the country in the future.