politics | April 09, 2013

Foreign Relations: Andrew Bacevich On U.S. Obligations At Home & Abroad

On the heels of conflict over the federal budget, and the potential of new threats from abroad, politics speaker Andrew Bacevich recently visited BNN News to discuss what these new developments mean for national and international American policy. A Professor of International Relations at Boston University, Bacevich provides uncompromising critique on the American doctrine. In his keynotes and his lectures, he explores how the 'Washington Rules' (the belief that national and global stability hinges on the size and strength of a massive American military presence) have affected the nation's past and its trajectory into the future. For example, in this interview he discusses how a massive military assault on Iraq was a "bogus proposition." "We went off on this war tangent and fell for the argument that invading and occupying Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, somehow would offer some way of precluding another 9/11," says Bacevich.

The 'Washington Rules' argument stems from the remnants of Cold War thinking, where many believed that unleashing a tremendous military force could remake the world in America's image. These rules, Bacevich argues, have actually done just the opposite of what they were intended to do, and have led to perpetual war and insolvency rather than peace and stability.

In addition to discussing foreign policy, Bacevich also touched on America's obligations at home. Environmentalism and economic growth, he said, need to be assessed with a different framework than they have in the past. Environmentalism, he says, shouldn't be the sole property of the left—especially when he argues that the very root of right-wing policy is "conservation". And what's more important for conservatives to conserve than the planet which supports our very existence? Finally, in closing, he says that we should be wary of vast market growth. "I don't see that mere growth, an ever-bigger economy, provides a recipe for a good society," he argues. We must begin to think about the purpose and costs of America's actions both at home and abroad, says Bacevich, if we ever hope to tackle the major problems that plague our world.

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