The Jingoes and the Social Reformers

It has not gone un-remarked in these pages that there seems to be a logical, institutional relationship between those who wish to aggrandize the state at home and those who wish do so abroad. These worthies make up the social reformers, on the one hand, and the Jingoes, or militarists, on the other. Others have … Continue reading “The Jingoes and the Social Reformers”

Irrepressible Conflicts Everywhere

PERILS OF THE ETERNAL RETURN Historian George M. Dennison suggests that already by the coming-of-age of the first post-Revolutionary generation, Americans had begun losing touch with the political doctrines and practices of the Revolution.1 Chief among these was the notion that political institutions were meant to serve actual people and were subject to modification, as … Continue reading “Irrepressible Conflicts Everywhere”

Eugen Richter on War and Empire

AN ECHT LIBERAL IN BISMARCKIAN GERMANY Somehow, in my last column I wandered into 19th-century Germany. I wish to dwell there long enough to say something about perhaps the most echt (“genuine”) of all late 19th-century German liberals, Eugen Richter. Anyone who has suffered through a standard course on the history of that period will … Continue reading “Eugen Richter on War and Empire”

Hegel, Well-Regulated Police States, and Empire

THE CUNNING OF REASON Those who have been keeping track of such things will recall that ten or so years ago, as the Soviet bloc was falling by the wayside, Francis Fukuyama proclaimed "the end of history" in a famous article that he later expanded into a book. There, the neo-conservative writer maintained that history … Continue reading “Hegel, Well-Regulated Police States, and Empire”

Quis Americanos Constituit Judices Nationum?

QUIS CONSTITUIT IPSOS CUSTODES? In 1160 A.D., John of Salisbury, angry at Frederick Barbarossa’s interference in the election of a Pope, famously asked "Quis Teutonicos constituit judices nationum?" – "Who made the Germans the judges of nations?" In our times, there must be many people, the world over, who ask themselves "Who made the Americans … Continue reading “Quis Americanos Constituit Judices Nationum?”

The Peculiar U.S. Theory of Self-Defense

A CLASSIC WORK REVISITED Albert K. Weinberg’s Manifest Destiny: A Study of Nationalist Expansionism in American History (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1963 [1935]) still repays close and careful reading. Already in 1935, this work brought together most of the themes which would inform the later works of Charles A. Beard as well as the postwar works … Continue reading “The Peculiar U.S. Theory of Self-Defense”

A Short History of Warmongering at the National Review

NATIONAL REVIEW: AN UNCHANGING MONOLITH? I have entitled this piece "A Short History," because a full history of warmongering at National Review magazine would be long indeed. James J. Martin wrote two volumes in the early 1960s on the turn of The New Republic and The Nation from a critical view of US foreign policy … Continue reading “A Short History of Warmongering at the National Review

China Syndrome

ON MAKING REALITY CONFORM TO PRECONCEPTIONS The whole history of US-Chinese relations could be written as a history of the delusions held by US policy makers and business interests about China. What China actually was, or is, entered into matters very little, aside from occasional US attempts at meddling and influencing the course of events … Continue reading “China Syndrome”

Same Old Story: Film at Eleven

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE….. Over the last few weeks a realization has been trickling down into the dimmer reaches of the US media. It is a realization that a specter is haunting Europe, the specter of Greater Albania. There is much open shock and dismay – now – that our little pals, the Albanian guerrillas, … Continue reading “Same Old Story: Film at Eleven”