The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Bacevich overlooks source of Kagan’s “rosy view of the Pax Americana”

with 4 comments

By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
May 18, 2012

In a devastating Harper’s Magazine review of Robert Kagan’s The World America Made — “a slim volume of mythopoeia decked out in analytic drag” — Andrew J. Bacevich observes of Kagan’s ilk:

That so many Americans continue to take their prognostications seriously is more baffling, and also more troubling. After all, these people have performed abysmally. Time and again—from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the events of 9/11 to the onset of the Arab Spring—events have caught the experts, whether in government or on the outside, completely by surprise. Business owners with comparable performance records go bust. Brokers lose their clients. Physicians get sued for malpractice. Yet think-tankers and policy wonks continue to opine, never pausing to reflect on—or apologize for—their spotty records.

What is even more baffling and troubling is that someone as intelligent as Bacevich doesn’t for a moment consider that the likes of Kagan and William Kristol (who is also mentioned in the review) may not have been taken “completely by surprise” by their abysmal “prognostications.” As I wrote in “Kristol Clear: The Source of America’s Wars,”

… another influential opinion-maker, Charles Krauthammer, hailed Kristol and Kagan as “the main proponents of what you might call the American greatness school.” It is hardly a coincidence, however, that all three advocates of “American greatness” care passionately about what Irving Kristol euphemistically referred to as “the survival of the state of Israel.” Or that many of those “dictators and authoritarian regimes” just happened to stand in the way of Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

Until respected analysts such as Bacevich are prepared to call Israel partisans out on their passionate attachment to an expansionist Jewish state, there will be little or no pressure on Kagan et al. “to reflect on—or apologize for—their spotty records.”


Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

May 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Bacevich consistently provides cover for the tribe.

    Could that be his function?

    Certainly he must have by now been exposed to the possibility that the extraordinary events of 9/11 may be deeper than the simplistic narrative he promotes.

    Likewise, with his background, he must be aware of the fact that the “threat” of Soviet military power was vastly overstated in the Western media etc… and that in fact its economy was weak and unable to withstand the damage caused by the arms race.


    May 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm

  2. Just so you know, the reasoning behind your critique is not clear.


    May 21, 2012 at 1:58 am

  3. Thanks for the helpful comments, aletho and maoilriain.

    Just so you know, Timmy, your criticism is not clear.

    Maidhc Ó Cathail

    May 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm

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