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american exceptionalism  bacevich  bush  country  exceptionalism  great  it’s  military  nother  obama  people complicit  people  potter  president  shame 
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Preview: Comments on: Andrew Bacevich: The End of Exceptionalism

Comments on: Andrew Bacevich: The End of Exceptionalism

Christopher Lydon in conversation on arts, ideas and politics

Last Build Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2018 15:46:00 +0000


By: potter

Wed, 29 Oct 2008 11:46:55 +0000

Lost my knack:

By: potter

Wed, 29 Oct 2008 11:46:13 +0000

In case you missed this on youtube: Matthews-Bachmann Interview

By: potter

Wed, 29 Oct 2008 11:38:18 +0000

Sorry- I meant to link that Bacevich piece on TPM: We the People are Complicit

By: potter

Wed, 29 Oct 2008 11:34:33 +0000

There are many good points and insights and I have been listening in chunks over again. I think there is quite a difference between the Bush #1 and Clinton leadership versus GW Bush's last 8. Bush #2 has taken us further down the road in a direction that was beginning to worry many: unilateralism and reliance on military "solutions". Also we are a more divided country than 8 years ago- which we did not need. Also not to forget that Bush#2 had no mandate, even after 2004 he did not have much of a mandate from "we the people". It did not matter. So I do not think it is right to lump the three together though I agree that the end of the cold war left us with a test which we have failed first by allowing Bush office twice, the second time unforgivably. This point I think Bacevich makes in his most recent post on TPM: "We the People" Are Complicit: My point is simply this: the essence of our problem is as much cultural as it is political and economic. Who we chose as president-emperor certainly matters. It just doesn't matter nearly as much as all the election-related hoopla would seem to suggest. Will Obama be an improvement over Bush? Sure - almost anyone would. But Obama won't save the country. He won't even "change the way Washington works." To believe otherwise is simply naïve. Not wrong, not entirely right in my opinion. One man can make a start, a push, a turn-around, and a difference. So I disagree that there is going to be little difference between an Obama presidency and a McCain presidency most especially in the areas of Bacevich's criticisms. Also Bacevich is not the first to fault "we the people", nor wrong, but when a person ascends to office they hold our trust to act in accordance with long held ideals. This president, our worst many would agree, has failed miserably and he should stand out as such in any discussion. We don't revolt anymore. Let us hope that this means only that we are too busy to take off work, and not that we do not care. But it not good that many in this populous country do not understand the issues and how it affects them never mind the principles we were founded on. Michelle Bachmann, a Representative running for re-election from MInnesota made it very clear that there are some in the Congress, such as herself, who do not understand either.

By: sir-otto

Mon, 20 Oct 2008 21:59:19 +0000

Well said nother. Except substitute Giants.

By: nother

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 07:13:18 +0000

From Wikipedia: American exceptionalism (cf. "exceptionalism") refers to the belief that the United States differs qualitatively from other developed nations. I know one way we differ: Is there another developed nation this close to having a black president? Mandela was president of South Africa but "my friends" the proof is in the pudding, American exceptionalism is real – when it’s not co-opted by the right (like patriotism and the flag has been in the past). My playful prism is sports analogies. When I think of the great coaches and teams, I think of ones who excel at mid-game adjustments. Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots is renown for this. So my hope lies in America’s capacity to make the adjustments. Sure we slide down the same slippery slopes as so many nations before us. But we make the necessary adjustments - so as to keep our eyes on the prize. As they say, It's not how you fall down, but how you get up, that matters. Mr. Obama makes me want to get the hell up and unite...with gusto!

By: enkerli

Tue, 14 Oct 2008 16:42:36 +0000

What I like most about this show is Bacevich's thoughtfulness. Instead of focusing on opinions or persuasion, the show remained in register of discursive strategies which I find quite conducive to critical thinking. Quite a refreshing departure from the journalistic mainstream.

By: nother

Tue, 14 Oct 2008 01:39:09 +0000

That didn't stick. I guess he wrote this poem in prison, or right after prison.

By: nother

Tue, 14 Oct 2008 01:34:50 +0000

“The only shame is to have none” -Blaise Pascal American Exceptionalism, you ask. To me it means that this great nation has come closest to realizing Ralph Waldo Emerson’s idea: “the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” I apply his idea to jazz and I think of that solo tonal breath, at once oppressed and liberated, stepping out of hardened gut…into sparkling brass…and out to three four. One two three four. I suspect that many people focus on attaining the last part of Emerson’s line, “the independence of solitude.” But keeping “in the midst of the crowd” is just as important, and it is my humble feeling that that is where we have lost our way. Sure the “crowd” can mean conformity, and that is what I believe the first Americans were liberating themselves from. But! The crowd = community as well. And when we belong to a community (as Bernard Lown so eloquently explained) we serve something bigger than ourselves. When we get too far away from that community it now strikes me that we lose our capacity for shame. The fact is I know more than one person who has stopped paying their mortgage (while still collecting rent from tenets) comfortably resigned to the fact that they will have bad credit for around five years or so. They have no shame in this. They didn’t even know who they were paying that money to, it’s not a person, it’s a derivative of a derivative…it’s paper, it’s shit. If that 250 grand was from their local bank, from the banker they see at church and their kid’s school, I bet my friends would more reluctant to stop paying their mortgage. Many of these houses were investments for these people, they were gonna flip them and get a big payday. Just like the Wall Street sleaze that were investing in stocks with money they had freak’n borrowed – BORROWED! From retirement funds of retirees they will never see. Now the boat rocks. “And all the woe that moved him so That he gave that bitter cry, And the wild regrets, and the bloody sweats, None knew so well as I: For he who live more lives than one More deaths than one must die.” -Oscar Wilde Where is the bottom, they cry with their pubescent countenance? I chide them from below - first come to terms with shame, and then we’ll take it from there.

By: sidewalker

Sat, 11 Oct 2008 03:15:39 +0000

I heard Buffy Sainte-Marie's Universal Soldier the other day and then listened to Dylan's Masters of War. These insightful songs reminded me of my exceptionalism(?)--that I am not at all proud of the military and the soldiers and can't view them at all as heroes. Their duty is to protect the people and they are only protecting the economic and political capital of the elite. Here we have another military guy who partially wakes up and wonders about the lies his country and his ideology were based on. One would have hoped that Vietnam was a lesson about the limitations of US military power and it's utility. But NO. The lack of historical perspective is really America's greatest exception and I'm sure in 20, 30 or 40 years, we'll have to listen to another generation search their conscience and ponder why they gave up their civil responsibility and humanity and let the masters of war unleash their universal soldiers on a foreign people who did them no harm. Someone please tell me my thinking is not so unique.

By: robm

Sat, 11 Oct 2008 01:31:09 +0000

I must admit I agree with the guy. We should get rid of our own nukes (and how toxic would that be?) as well as admit that we need to turn away and learn from the mistakes of the last administration and perhaps the previous one.

By: jazzman

Fri, 10 Oct 2008 23:11:46 +0000

tbrucia: see The Peter Principle

By: tbrucia

Fri, 10 Oct 2008 19:01:50 +0000

'We should ask why incompetent people are entrusted with positions of great responsibility.' Yes, we should, but we shouldn't expect an answer...