Robert Farley

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Andrew Bacevich, The Short American Century: A Postmortem

By: Saturday March 3, 2012 1:59 pm

In The Short American Century, Andrew Bacevich and a group of distinguished contributors take apart the idea of the American Century. Although Henry Luce was not the first “American Exceptionalist,” his 1941 essay on the role that the United States ought to play in the world provides the contributors with a useful touchstone for modern conceptions of America’s messianic role in the world. Appearing in the February 1941 edition of Life magazine, sandwiched between an advertisement for Havoline motor oil and a profile of Betty Carstair’s private island, Luce’s editorial argued that the path to US hegemony was now open.

Bacevich and the other contributors to the volume probe the historical, social, intellectual, economic, and political foundations of modern American exceptionalism, investigating how beliefs about a unique American place in the world developed, and how those beliefs affected American foreign policy.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Reese Erlich, Dateline Havana: The Real Story of US Policy and the Future of Cuba

By: Saturday April 11, 2009 2:00 pm

In Dateline Havana, Reese Erlich takes on the central paradox of American attitudes towards Cuba, which is that almost no one in United States, on the right or the left, has a realistic appraisal of the modern Cuban state. The misperceptions and outright distortions of the right have, without doubt, had greater policy import, and are probably held by a greater number of people. However, those on the left often overlook the shortcomings of the Revolution, and the problems afflicting Cuba today. Although Mr. Erlich does not spare those on the left (he was once in solidarity with them) he appropriately reserves most of his criticisms for the right wing interpretation of the Cuban Revolution. It is this interpretation, advanced by Cuban exiles and unrepentant Cold Warriors, that has structured US policy towards the island for the last fifty years.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Juan Cole: Engaging the Muslim World

By: Saturday March 21, 2009 2:00 pm

I’m honored to be part of this FDL Book Salon on Juan Cole’s Engaging the Muslim World. Professor Cole has long provided an invaluable reservoir of expert opinion on the Middle East, and I’m delighted to be able to participate in this discussion of his latest work.

Engaging the Muslim World is part of a debate that has developed in the academy and the mainstream media about the role of Islam in political life. Professor Cole’s purpose is to dispel common myths about Islam, and the relationship of the West with the Islamic world. These myths have, in many cases, been propounded intentionally for political effect. Professor Cole’s argument boils down to this; it is impossible to repair US relations with the Islamic world as long as the United States misunderstands that world.

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