Dr. Bacevich and the Niebuhrian Critique of American Power
July 4th, 2018

Professor Emeritus Andrew Bacevich, a veteran of the Vietnam and Gulf wars, has spent his academic career writing about American imperialism. In 2007, shortly after the loss of his son in the Iraq War, Dr. Bacevich gave a profoundly moving university lecture on the "illusions of managing history," arguing for the contemporary relevance of 20th c. theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

In this episode we explore his career and intellectual evolution. He articulates a rather profound dissent to the employment of American military power, and discusses how Niebuhr's The Irony of American History impacted his worldview.

Dr. Bacevich is also the author of works such as Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country and America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, among others. In this interview we heavily reference a work he edited and contributed an article to, The Long War, about the civil-military relationship in the U.S.

We are very grateful to Dr. Bacevich for his time.

For a further exploration of Reinhold Niebuhr see our episode with Rev. Julian Cook. If you are interested in having conversations like these you can find out about applying at bu.edu/htc and finding Common Thread under the programs tab.


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