LIVE STREAM at 12:15 pm: Peter Beinart on Hubris and Foreign Policy

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New America Foundation fellow and Daily Beast columnist Peter Beinart has received overwhelming attention recently for his controversial and vitally important piece on American Jews, Jewish organizations and Israel. But he is also the author of a new and wide-ranging book, The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris.
In the book Beinart traces the belief that Americans can bring broad, sweeping change to the world through three conflicts where it hit a brick wall: World War One, Vietnam, and Iraq. But instead of focusing only on the limits of American power, Beinart also takes time to show how other American leaders have realized the failures of hubris, and deployed realistic policies to move America forward in the wake of struggles and setbacks.
Beinart will be presenting his book at the New America Foundation TODAY from 12:15 pm – 1:45 pm. New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks will respond, and New America Foundation President Steve Coll will moderate the subsequent discussion. The event will livestream here at The Washington Note.
— Andrew Lebovich

Comments

24 comments on “LIVE STREAM at 12:15 pm: Peter Beinart on Hubris and Foreign Policy

  1. non-hater says:

    “Peter Beinart on Hubris and Foreign Policy”
    Hubris is Peter Beinart talking about foreign policy as if he’s been right about anything important.

    Reply

  2. Carroll says:

    Posted by Sweetness, Jun 01 2010, 5:59PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You know what I dislike most?
    People who say…. ‘it’s always gonna be that way cause it’s always been that way”
    Dig up the cave men and tell them not to bother inventing the wheel.
    Posted by Paul Norheim, Jun 01 2010, 4:37PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I’ve been twice the years and expended half the words you have dear.

    Reply

  3. JohnH says:

    Sweetness is right that “the essence of policy disputes–foreign or domestic–is the clash and accommodation of conflicting interests.”
    But those conflicting interests are not what foreign policy “experts” talk about. To hear them, foreign policy is about little more than jockeying on the international pecking order, all nations presumed to behave like middle schoolers, dogs or poultry.
    In fact, there are much more serious, but hidden conflicts, like who will control Iran’s vast energy resources? Will the nuclear cartel get to control all uranium enrichment? Will Zionists get to control as much land and water as they want and exclude Gentiles from any of it?
    And then there are other hidden agendas, like defense contractors seeking to increase demand for their products and services, generals seeking to make a name for themselves, etc. Where are these vested interests discussed by foreign policy “experts?”
    What the foreign policy press serves up is mostly pablum, which is why most of it is not worth discussing, except to point out the real drivers that they have chosen to ignore.

    Reply

  4. DonS says:

    Sweetness, your obviously into deconstructing tonight, as may be I. Of course Butler could have mustered out with pension at 20 years, if the same rules applied then, but obviously something else was working in him. Anyway, I respect Don Bacon’s approach. As to Carroll’s “Burn Washington down . . .”, hyperbolically, I think, regarding the disastrous outcomes politics as usual has wrought — maybe has abetted as much as wrought, in virtually every sector of life in the US of A and around the world — there is a salience to the call. But, I expect we will still be discussing politics and it’s spinoffs for a while, unless we burn out.

    Reply

  5. DonS says:

    Noah Pollack, ” a graduate student at Yale University”, in Commentary magazine. Puleeeze, give me a fucking break. Steve has been way to gentle and kind to you, a “sharp contrarian”. Can you say hasbara on steroids? Oh well, he admits he is bad at doing humor.

    Reply

  6. Sweetness says:

    Don, I know Smedley is your guy and you know more about him
    than I do and I mean no disrespect.
    But…
    If it took him 33 years to figure “it” out, he was a slow learner,
    don’t you think, or not too bright–which might cast some doubt
    on the reliability of his thinking in his later years.
    Either that, or perhaps he was a hypocrite willing to take what the
    Marine Corps had to give him until he was pension eligible.
    Why don’t these guys ever quit at, say, the 10 or 15-year mark? Of
    course, better late than never. Isn’t that what “we all” said about
    Colonel Wilkerson–better late than never?

    Reply

  7. nadine says:

    Steve, I suggest you read Noah Pollack, who does a good job eviscerating both Beinart’s self-regard and his numerous departures from facts of the very recent past — facts that should be both known and uncontested by any foreign policy expert.
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/peter-beinart-and-the-destruction-of-liberal-zionism-15442

    Reply

  8. Sweetness says:

    “Like Carroll, I often wonder if discussions of American foreign
    policy are a total waste of time. Certainly what passes for
    ‘intelligent discussion,” at least by hired pens and talking heads,
    is nothing more than an attempt to rationalize the course that
    special interests have put us on.”
    John, the essence of policy disputes–foreign or domestic–is
    the clash and accommodation of conflicting interests. This isn’t
    some aberration dictated by AIPAC or the war lobby. It is the
    way it is and the way it has ALWAYS BEEN. Everyone has an axe,
    and they are always grinding it. Unless you’re willing to grind
    yours, you’re out of the running.
    Carroll, and perhaps you, seem to imagine a world in which all is
    clear and everyone sees what it is obviously “in America’s true or
    best interests.” THAT is a fantasy, John. That has NEVER been
    the case except for brief periods during which many forces
    aligned. And even in those situations, there were those who
    were certain that the ruling consensus was all wrong, and “the
    people” would realize it if only various interests, ideologies, and
    forces weren’t whipping them up into a frenzy of ignorance.
    Burn Washington to the ground? Aside from the obvious idiocy
    of the “suggestion,” what or who do you think would suddenly
    replace it? Martians who saw the light?
    For a guy who thinks it’s “worthless,” you sure spend a lot of
    time at it.

    Reply

  9. Don Bacon says:

    It ain’t rocket science, and it ain’t hubris.
    “I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country’s most agile military force–the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was part of a racket all the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service.” — Smedley D. Butler, MajGen USMC (1881-1940)

    Reply

  10. JohnH says:

    Like Carroll, I often wonder if discussions of American foreign policy are a total waste of time. Certainly what passes for ‘intelligent discussion,” at least by hired pens and talking heads, is nothing more than an attempt to rationalize the course that special interests have put us on.
    Discussing foreign policy this way merely frames the argument exactly the way those special interests intend, a charade cloaked in noble rhetoric which masks their nefarious influence.
    What is useful in the blogosphere–and is found in the comments, but rarely in the original posts–is the attempt to understand the deeper forces driving foreign policy:
    – Israel’s drive to have water and land all to themselves, free of Gentiles.
    – America’s drive for hegemony and control of critical resources as leverage against other powers.
    – War as motivated by generals’ career interests, their attempts to save face in the face of apparent defeat, and contractors lust for ever increasing streams of profits.
    – Iran’s drive for sovereignty over its own resouces and protection of repressed Shi’a in other countries.
    What passes for hubris is the difficulty that these special interests and their political lackeys have reconciling themselves to a world where their ambitions are not fully sated, like they’re accustomed to.
    At some point Israel will have to realize that it cannot have all the land and water it covets; America can’t have unlimited control over others’ affairs, generals can’t have endless wars; and defense contractors cannot have all the economy’s value added to themselves
    Until these special interests recognize the very real limits to their ambitions, hubris is sure to prevail over reality. Recognizing limits is a bitter pill to swallow, but it has to happen, the sooner the better.

    Reply

  11. Ajaz Haque says:

    US Capitualtes to Israel Again – Who runs the US Foreign Policy: AIPAC or the White House?
    The Israeli attack on unarmed ships carrying relief goods for Gaza has been squarely condemned by Governments around the world, except the US Government, which has not had the courage to call a spade a spade.
    Attacking ships in international waters is piracy under the international law. After this incidence, there is no difference between Somali pirates and Israeli forces attacking ships in international waters – except that Somali pirates don’t usually kill.
    It is appalling that US has blocked and watered down the UN Security Council resolution in a most shameful manner. Instead of a resolution condemning Israel’s actions, it has tabled a watered down resolution that is utterly meaningless.
    US also blocked efforts to call for an international investigation, instead it insisted on Israel holding the investigation. This is akin to asking a shooter who has just killed several people to head an investigation into his own actions!
    Who controls the US foreign policy, the White House or Israel i.e. AIPAC. It is unfortunate that US has surrendered its sovereignty to Israel. Being the largest super power in the world, it has a moral duty to do the right thing – condemn what is wrong and applaud what is right. By taking a one sided position, it is lowering its stature in the world. Such actions are only likely to strengthen the hands of hate mongering terrorists, who propagate that US is not an honest broker.
    Great nations do not surrender their sovereignty to other countries, history has shown us that nations who take unjust actions ultimately lose their power in the world.
    Hillary Clinton, being in charge of US foreign policy should show grit and resign to demonstrate her unhappiness at the US foreign policy being hijacked from under her feet.

    Reply

  12. ... says:

    how about an article on obama’s foreign policy hubris, specifically with regard to israel steve?????????????

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    Carroll,
    given your deep repugnance for QWERTY keyboards and the
    words they tend to produce, and given your obsession with
    matchboxes, I wonder why you’ve wasted so much valuable time
    at The Washington Note?

    Reply

  14. Sweetness says:

    I dunno, Carroll.
    I’m sure blacks in North Carolina around 1913 thought things
    would never change and all the social forces and powers that were
    were stacked against them.
    And yet look–97 years later, through a lot of hard work, things
    have changed for them.

    Reply

  15. Don Bacon says:

    I dislike somebody telling me that what I’m doing is a “total waste of time”, particularly when trying to understand the world (which blogs are exceedingly helpful in) is a major part of my life.
    Looking at the big picture, there can probably be no change in our representative’s behavior without a greater understanding by us of the truth, and blogs (with their inherent ‘BS filter’) have a greater ability to bring us the facts than do the print media, which accounts for their popularity and the dying of print media.

    Reply

  16. Carroll says:

    Posted by Steven Clemons, Jun 01 2010, 1:32PM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Oh come on…you know I am right.
    How do you think we are going to get to a sane national foreign policy without first ridding both congress and our political parties of the domestic and foreign special interest and personal preferences of corrupt politicians that dictate those policies.
    If you know how that can be done I would love to hear it.
    Elect different people? Done that. Donate more money? Done that. Prevail upon our leaders? Done that. Participate in the public discussion? Done that. We’ve ‘all’ done ‘all that’ for years and years and years. Nothing changes, it gets worse.
    You tell me how you or I or the people who comment here or the wider public or the hundreds of think tanks or foreign policy experts can get us to a sane American policy under our existing congress and political system..and we’ll go do it.
    Sooner or later something has to produce some Results.

    Reply

  17. Steve Clemons says:

    Nadine – you are smarter than that note above. Get out of the gutter. Peter Beinart is a well respected, thoughtful individual. I was completely on opposite ends of his “A Fighting Faith” article — and I support his recent writing, including the NYRB article and his excellent book. Both are cut from the same course of thinking he is now on.
    Shape up in your comments please. Your note is one of the most childish and inane I have seen you write. I will leave it up this time to remind you and myself that we occasionally stoop lower than we should — but I would appreciate it if you would get back to being the sharp contrarian you usually are.
    Best, steve clemons

    Reply

  18. Don Bacon says:

    Promoting one’s book is obviously a crime against humanity — oops, I didn’t mean to mention Israel.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    “Peter Beinart has received overwhelming attention recently for his controversial and vitally important piece on American Jews, Jewish organizations and Israel. But he is also the author of a new and wide-ranging book, The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris.” (Steve Clemons)
    You mean Beinart made his stupid, outrageous, attention-getting remarks just when he had a book out to sell? What an amazing coincidence! Who’d a thunk it?
    One might think you’d be unhappy that another member of NAF was turning it into a clown act, but no, apparently there is no bad attention in your world.

    Reply

  20. Steven Clemons says:

    Thanks for expressing your thoughts Carroll — but with all due
    respect, your post is over the top. . .a bit. We will continue
    discussing foreign policy. All best, steve

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    It’s a total waste of time to discuss what the American foreing policy ‘should’ be.
    Until we change our corrupted government it’s a pointless conversation….like putting the cart before the horse and expecting it to go forward.
    Silly, silly, silly… but go ahead, chatter on if it makes you feel like you are doing something.
    So far the thousand trillion words expended on this subject have done nothing but sell some books for professional theorizers. You could save an entire forest and a million pounds of hot air pollution by just putting this one sentence on a memo and passing it around.
    BURN WASHINGTON TO THE GROUND AND START OVER.

    Reply

  22. JohnH says:

    Dilip Hiro would concur. “Irrespective of their politics, flawed leaders share a common trait. They generally remain remarkably oblivious to the harm they do to the nation they lead. George W. Bush is a salient recent example, as is former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. When it comes to foreign policy, we are now witnessing a similar phenomenon at the Obama White House.”
    http://www.lobelog.com/tomgram-dilip-hiro-obamas-flip-flop-leadership-style/
    Israeli leaders (Likud, Kadima) share this flaw, along with a lot of hubris and denial.

    Reply

  23. Don Bacon says:

    The notion that America has fought wars with other people, from the Native Americans to Afghanis, for idealistic and/or prideful reasons is a fallacious notion — it has been done for power and profit.
    The Native Americans were dispatched so that the new Americans could take their lands. The Cherokee nation, for just one example, was uprooted and forced to walk from their farming communities in the east to what is now Oklahoma — the Trail of Tears.
    On through the Philippines, Wilson’s underhanded efforts to get the US into WWI, Roosevelt on Pearl Harbor, Kennedy in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan — all for the US world domination that is now ending, and for the profit that came from the wars and from the world domination itself. Think of the World Bank, and its impoverishment of third world countries. Tremendous financial profits have come to those close to the action, enabling some to profit handsomely off of the death and ruination of others.
    So don’t prettify it by calling it hubris, or exaggerated pride. Criminals don’t act purely out of hubris.

    Reply

  24. samuelburke says:

    i think i just heard the israeli ambassador say the the israeli
    commandos used paint gun pellets and gummy bear knives while
    trying to do community service on the ships when they were
    harassed and assaulted while trying to do their job.

    Reply

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