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Bacevich in the news 
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Reading via Osmosis

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Post Bacevich in the news
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Evangelical foreign policy is over

WITH Barack Obama's election to the presidency, the evangelical moment in US foreign policy has come to an end. The United States remains a nation of believers, with Christianity the tradition to which most Americans adhere. Yet the religious sensibility informing American statecraft will no longer find expression in an urge to launch crusades against evil-doers.

Like our current president, Obama is a professed Christian. Yet whereas George W. Bush once identified Jesus Christ himself as his favorite philosopher, the president-elect is an admirer of Reinhold Niebuhr, the renowned Protestant theologian.

Faced with difficult problems, conservative evangelicals ask WWJD: What would Jesus do? We are now entering an era in which the occupant of the Oval Office will consider a different question: What would Reinhold do?

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/edito ... y_is_over/

Boston Globe
11/6/08



Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:03 am
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pets endangered by possible book avalanche

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Thanks L. Nice line in the article

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Power, wrote Niebuhr, "cannot be wielded without guilt, since it is never transcendent over interest." Therefore, any nation wielding great power but lacking self-awareness - never an American strong suit - poses an imminent risk not only to others but to itself.


I agree this lack of self awareness is a critical factor, especially regarding the Middle East and why America is hated by much of the Muslim world. As Socrates said, knowledge is virtue, which in this context means that power can transcend interest.

Australia's new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is also rather thoughtful and theologically inclined. He wrote a public essay on Dietrich Bonhoeffer just before gaining power.



Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:11 am
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Thanks to Landroid for posting this link. I have not read Obama's books (which should be flying off the bookstore shelves right now), so I didn't know that he was influenced strongly by Niebuhr. Although not religious, I'm going to say, "Thank God!" The little bit I know about Niebuhr tells me that his influence could be almost a saving one for the U.S. In
The Limits of Power, all Bacevich says about Obama is that he publicly repeats the same "spreading democracy " line that Bush and predecessors have taken.

Could there be a role for Bacevich in an Obama administration?


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Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:20 am
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In light of this development, I wonder if people would be interested in choosing to read a Reinhold Neibuhr book for an upcoming non-fiction selection? If he is really about to have an influence on foreign policy...?


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Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:02 pm
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The only Niebuhr book in our public library system is The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr. It consists of selections from his works and concerns theology more than politics. I assume we'd want to read more about his political views (which were always informed by his theology). There might be others of his books available, and I'd be glad to read one. But I say yes to almost all book suggestions, and then have to face lack of time.

I'd always assumed this man was a German, by the way. He was born and raised in Missouri.


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Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness


Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:05 pm
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Here is a video lecture by Bacevich titled, Illusions of Managing History: The Enduring Relevance of Reinhold Niebuhr

http://www.bu.edu/phpbin/buniverse/videos/view/?id=127

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Andrew J. Bacevich, a Boston University professor of history and international relations, delivers the 2007 University Lecture, Illusions of Managing History: The Enduring Relevance of Reinhold Niebuhr. A self-professed "groupie" of the mid-twentieth-century cultural critic and Protestant theologian Niebuhr, Bacevich addresses the parallels between Niebuhr's criticisms of Cold War–era America and his own analysis of the war in Iraq, ultimately calling for a "Niebuhrian revival" in American foreign policy.

Bacevich defines four of Niebuhr's principle theories - the "persistent sin" of American exceptionalism, the ultimate indecipherability of history, the false allure of simple foreign policy solutions, and the need to appreciate the limits of American power - that he believes can explain contemporary problems in American foreign policy. Bacevich argues that today, as in Niebuhr's time, American policymakers are so enamored with romanticized notions of democracy and America's moral authority that they fail to see the flaws of supposed cure-all policies like the war on terrorism in Iraq. The result, he says, is a mismanaged and infeasible policy in the Middle East that has damaged America's reputation and political stability in the Middle East. Bacevich concludes by calling for a reassessment of American values and culture, for, as Bacevich warns and as Niebuhr himself once wrote, "Should the United States perish, the ruthlessness of the foe would be only the secondary cause of the disaster."

Established in 1950 to honor faculty engaged in outstanding research, the University Lecture is an opportunity for the members of the BU community and the public to hear a distinguished scholar discuss a topic of recognized excellence.

October 9, 2007, 6:30 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center

Video length is 01:23:01.



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Thanks, this sounds great. I'm going to get to a computer with capabilities so I can see this. In the little bit I've read in The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr, I found this interesting statement about his view of original sin: "The doctine of original sin, he observed in Man's Nature and His Communities, is the one empirically verifiable doctrine of Christian faith."


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No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live as we dream--alone.

Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness


Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:04 am
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Quote:
Soldier honored at Walpole fountain rededication
By Matt Collette, Boston Globe
Nov 08, 2008

As Andrew Bacevich, a Boston University professor, West Point graduate, and Vietnam War veteran, stood before about 200 residents at the rededication of the Bird Fountain on the Town Common this morning, he recalled when his fallen son, Army Lieutenant Andrew Bacevich, was brought back from Iraq last year. Thousands of people had lined the streets as the funeral procession for the 27-year-old passed through the center of town.

"We were profoundly moved by that gesture of respect," said Bacevich. The family felt they had to give back to the community, he said, and donated $5,000. Lieutenant Bacevich was killed on May 13, 2007, Mother's Day, after an IED exploded in Iraq.

The town used the family's donation to renovate the C.S. Bird Fountain , which had been dry for decades. Dozens of Walpole residents donated their time, resources, and money to transform the public space, which had fallen into disrepair.

...
"These gifts – one of generosity and the other, the giving of one's own life for the freedom of others – will be here at Town Common forever," Boynton said. "To our community and our nation, there will always be the life of Andrew Bacevich."

... After Veterans Day, the fountain will be shut off and winterized, said Boynton. "Come springtime, it will flow again," said Boynton. "And I assure you, it will flow forever."

http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaki ... p_Emailed4



Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:37 pm
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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9O1PEIYNBBE[/youtube]

:book:



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http://www.radioopensource.org/andrew-b ... tionalism/

:book:



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