imperial nation

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I watched most of Bill Moyers’ interview with Andrew J. Bacevich last evening. What an eye-opener! I’d been aware of a lot about Bacevich (see my post from last year) but had never known what he looks like nor witnessed his strong personality in a video before.

I would sum up what he is saying as follows: we have become an imperial nation over the past thirty years because of the combination of our naivety and hubris about “freedom” and our craven commercialism.

A small group of us at the top has led the way into this economic, political and military pickle we’re now in, and he blames Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II all about equally, except of course that Bush II has really accelerated our decline, but we, the American people as a whole, bear equal responsibility for being oblivious and allowing this nonsense to go on. You could blame the media too.

He feels that no matter who is elected president, Obama or McCain, nothing much will change because we are already far down the road with this imperial state and certainly Obama does not appear to have deviated much from the status quo, evidence for this being he does not list Andrew J. Bacevich among his advisers.

Bacevich is a Professor of International Relations at Boston University, retired Army colonel, and West Point graduate who served in Vietnam and retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of colonel. He’s come out with a new book, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, which Moyers referred to in his interview with Bacevich.

He invokes Reinhold Niebuhr, that famous intellectual American theologian of the 20th century, in this paragraph given by Moyers from the first chapter of The Limits of Power:

The United States today finds itself threatened by three interlocking crises. The first of these crises is economic and cultural, the second political, and the third military. All three share this characteristic: They are of our own making. In assessing the predicament that results from these crises, THE LIMITS OF POWER employs what might be called a Niebuhrean perspective. Writing decades ago, Reinhold Niebuhr anticipated that predicament with uncanny accuracy and astonishing prescience. As such, perhaps more than any other figure in our recent history, he may help us discern a way out.


So what should we do on Nov. 4? I’d say hold your nose and vote for Obama. Here’s a paragraph from a comment by PacificCoastRon on Steve Clemons’ blog:

So: oppose Obama all you want up til Nov. 3rd, criticize him, hold him up to higher standards, advocate for the revolution you’d like to see, and call out the Democrats for the cowardly leeches that most of them are. But hold your nose to make sure you vote for him on Nov. 4th (or earlier if you can vote by mail), and get all your friends to vote for him, and get all your friends to make sure the Republicans don’t steal it again. then on Nov. 5th you can go back to being disappointed in Obama, and in pressuring him and criticizing him with all your might to guide him towards your vision of utopia.


The alternative, John McCain, is unthinkable.

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