Wednesday, June 09, 2010

book notes

The Icarus Syndrome by Peter Beinart

Great takedown of Wilson's self regard as a disinterested pedagogue to the world.

Early 20th Century Progressivism really did have a precept contrary to a founding precept of the U.S. -- that human nature improves with improving material circumstance.

Kennan: Wilson and Stalin both sought to impose an abstract ideal as a universal onto a messy, diverse world.

Kosovo set the stage for Iraq by:
-- setting precedent for U.S. force without U.N. approval
-- discrediting the Europeans
-- re-crediting preventative war

"In 1939, few American politicians believed that a Nazi takeover of Warsaw constituted a grave danger to the United States. By 1965, many believed we couldn't live with a North Vietnamese takeover of Saigon. In the 1980s, Americans lived peacefully, albeit anxiously, with thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads pointed our way. By 2003, many Washington commentators claimed that even Iraqi biological or chemical weapons put us in mortal peril."