foreign policy | June 29, 2011

Andrew Bacevich on America's Waning Interest in War

In a recent Huffington Post piece, influential historian and military expert Andrew Bacevich writes that America goes through a feverish sort of delirium that manifests itself “in delusions of grandeur and demented behavior” every time wars are fought. The good news, says Bacevich, is that fevers pass. And, in the case of the recent post-9/11 Middle East missions, the nation is showing signs of being on the mend.

Bacevich points to some telling factors that the “the post-9/11 fever shows signs of abating.” First, he says, modesty is becoming respectable. Outgoing Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, is saying the military is exhausted and that America can't sign up for more “wars of choice.” Not many people are disagreeing with him. Inside the military establishment, officers are pushing for pragmatism, not bigger budgets, and there's talk of the world being too complicated for America to call all the shots. Even In Congress, there’s now earnest consideration over whether war is actually in the national interest. And while Bacevich warns it's very early and “plenty of folks [are] still hankering to have a go at Syria or Iran,” self-restraint in America seems to be shining through.

A leading military intellectual, Bacevich is one of the first people noticing shifts in American war policy. A Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, Bacevich previously taught at Johns Hopkins University and at West Point. He also holds a Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton and served during the Vietnam War. With his finger on America's military pulse, Bacevich delivers uncomprimising, persuasive and important keynotes of the guiding assumptions that lead American foreign policy and military strategy.

Read more about international relations speaker Andrew Bacevich

Up Next

decision making | June 27, 2011