Saturday 19 October 2013
Photo, above: POTSDAM, JULY 1945
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character by Diana West (1 of 2)19 2013 / Hour 1, Block A:
Appeasement, lying. In American Betrayal, Diana West argues that – current policies today notwithstanding – America began to abandon its core ideals and instead march toward Socialism nearly 75 years ago. Starting in the late 1930s, at the time of FDR, the Soviets were already in a position to take advantage of the many communist sympathizers in the US. Not only FDR, but also Presidents Truman and Eisenhower and those in their inner circles, played roles in enabling the USSR as well as concealing the massive Moscow-directed penetration of American society. West shows that the system of spies designed to denigrate the American way of life was deep and extensive. . . .
American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character by Diana West (2 of 2)19 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:
. . . While West focuses on what took place decades ago as America lost its way, she does not fail to compare those episodes to events happening now. As the Soviet espionage scandal of that day amounted to making “deals with the devil” (the then Soviet Union), the U.S. finds itself in a similar situation today: Entering bad deals with Islamic extremists compromising our nation’s security and standing in the world, not to mention further endangering and undermining our value system and way of life. .
Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott (1 of 2)19 2013 / Hour 1, Block C:
When Alysia Abbott was a child, she constructed a fairy tale of sorts from the shards of her family’s short life together. Barbara Binder, beautiful Smith College graduate and aspiring psychologist, and Steve Abbott, conscientious objector and budding writer, had been an ideal match. Drawn together by radical politics while master’s candidates at Emory University, they were married in Atlanta in 1969. Late the next year, Alysia-Rebeccah was born. “We lived happily,” she writes in her memoir, “Fairyland,” hewing to her childhood fantasy, “until, one night late in the summer of 1973, my mother was out driving when her car was rear-ended. She flew into the street, was hit by a car and was killed instantly.”[more]
Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott (2 of 2)19 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:
. . . Father and daughter soon moved to San Francisco, where Steve ventured with passion and determination into the local literary scene. He also shed the last pretense of heterosexuality and took up with a series of young men who, like him, found a gay never-never land in the City by the Bay. Through it all, Alysia clung fast to her origin story: perfect love, a happy family and the random accident that rent the cozy unit. As for her father’s homosexuality, she told herself that this too was an accident, a kind of conversion through grief. In 1992, when Steve Abbott died of AIDS-related complications, his voluminous journals told a rather less convenient truth. “Fairyland” is his daughter’s compassionate, cleareyed reckoning with this truth and many others that defined her singular girlhood at the dawn of the gay liberation movement.
Stupid hope is what Alysia’s flinty grandmother called the giddy optimism of youth. It was that same naïveté, searching and exuberant, that the author remembers her father displaying during their early days in California. Escaped from a strait-laced Nebraska upbringing, he was at last . . . [more]
Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America by Dan Balz and James Silberman (1 of 4)19 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:
Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America by Dan Balz and James Silberman (2 of 4)19 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:
Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America by Dan Balz and James Silberman (3 of 4)19 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:
Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America by Dan Balz and James Silberman (4 of 4)19 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:
Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan by Henry R. Nau (1 of 4)19 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:
Debates about U.S. foreign policy have revolved around three main traditions--liberal internationalism, realism, and nationalism. In this book, the distinguished political scientist Henry Nau delves deeply into a fourth, overlooked foreign policy tradition that he calls "conservative internationalism." This approach spreads freedom, like liberal internationalism; arms diplomacy, like realism; and preserves national sovereignty, like nationalism. It targets a world of limited government or independent "sister republics," not a world of great power concerts or centralized international institutions. Nau explores conservative internationalism in the foreign policies of Thomas Jefferson, James Polk, Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan. These presidents did more than any others to . . .
Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan by Henry R. Nau (2 of 4)19 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:
. . . These presidents did more than any others to expand the arc of freedom using a deft combination of force, diplomacy, and compromise. Since Reagan, presidents have swung back and forth among the main traditions, overreaching under Bush and now retrenching under Obama. Nau demonstrates that conservative internationalism offers an alternative way. It pursues freedom but not everywhere, prioritizing situations that border on existing free countries--Turkey, for example, rather than Iraq. It uses lesser force early to influence negotiations rather than greater force later after negotiations fail. And it reaches timely compromises to cash in military leverage and sustain public support. A groundbreaking revival of a neglected foreign policy tradition, "Conservative Internationalism" shows how the United States can effectively sustain global leadership while respecting the constraints of public will and material resources.
Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan by Henry R. Nau (3 of 4)19 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:
Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan by Henry R. Nau (4 of 4)19 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:
Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency After 9/11 by Jack Goldsmith (1 of 2)19 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:
In Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency After 9/11, Jack Goldsmith painstakingly describes the constraints on the President’s power to combat terrorism that emerged in response to Bush Administration policy. Goldsmith, a key legal adviser during portions of President Bush’s first term, thereby performs a great service. Goldsmith also presents two theses. The first is that pushback against Bush’s anti-terrorism policies produced a consensus about what tools the President can use in fighting terrorism, which explains why President Obama retained so many of Bush’s policies as they stood in 2009. The second is that we should be relatively sanguine about the process that produced the current consensus, and about that consensus itself. In my view, Goldsmith’s first thesis is debatable and his second is incorrect. But Power and Constraint is compelling reading by virtue of the story it tells, whatever one thinks about its conclusions. . . .
Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency After 9/11 by Jack Goldsmith (2 of 2)19 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:
. . . Goldsmith divides his story into four sections. They deal with the constraints imposed on presidential power by journalists, military lawyers, and courts, and with the persecution of CIA agents for actions taken in response to 9/11. “Secrecy,” Goldsmith stipulates, “is vital in wartime to avoid tipping off the enemy about government plans and operations and to promote candid deliberation inside the government about these plans and operations.” After 9/11, however, journalists saw their function as “piercing the government’s secrecy system.” They succeeded. “Very soon after top-secret counterterrorism programs became operational, they were discussed in some detail on the front page of the Washington Post and elsewhere,” Goldsmith reports. The programs publicly discussed included monitoring of international financial transfers that support terrorism, data-mining techniques, interrogation techniques, CIA renditions, and secret prisons. Consequently, General Michael Hayden declared that there are only a “very narrow number of specific operational acts” he was involved with that are as secret now as the day they were conceived. After 9/11, Hayden served in one key intelligence leadership position after another. Thus, he knew most if not all of America’s important intelligence secrets. So, apparently, did journalists and, in many instances, their readers, including the terrorists we were fighting. . . .
Red State Religion: Faith and Politics in America's Heartland by Robert Wuthnow (1 of 2)19 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:
. . . Should we be sanguine about this state of affairs? According to Goldsmith, President Obama is not. And Obama’s Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence has testified to Congress that leaks of classified information “place our forces, our military operations, and our foreign relations at risk.” Goldsmith, though, is relatively sanguine. He recognizes the harms that have resulted from the disclosure of secrets, but considers them a fair price to pay because disclosure increases the ability of the public and its representatives to evaluate the soundness of the executive’s wartime efforts. But wartime efforts become less sound when the enemy receives notice of their nature. And the public can evaluate the efficacy of the executive’s efforts by looking at results. Satisfactory results are sometimes achieved through debatable methods or in spite of the methods used. But our elected representatives have broad powers with which to ascertain what methods the executive is employing and with what efficacy. Thus, the executive can be held accountable without its secrets being splashed onto the front page of the newspaper. Goldsmith notes that Congress has often been reluctant to become significantly involved. Presumably, this reluctance reflects public indifference to anything other than results. Wartime efforts should not be compromised to provide the public and its representatives with information they don’t particularly care to know. Goldsmith contends that “the United States has basically decided” that the benefits derived from publication of government secrets outweigh the harm to national security that sometimes results. He points out that Congress hasn’t given the President much power to prosecute leakers and Presidents have been reluctant to use the power they possess. It may be a stretch to characterize this inaction, probably caused by unwillingness to antagonize the press, as a decision based on the weighing of costs and benefit. In any event, the “decision” should be re-visited, and might very well be in the next serious crisis. “Lawfare” refers to the relatively recent phenomenon of law and lawyers affecting the conduct of war. Lawyers, Goldsmith shows, are now at the heart of the military decision-making process. They not only review operational plans in advance, but also participate in the field, providing counsel to commanders regarding proper targets, for example. . . .
Red State Religion: Faith and Politics in America's Heartland by Robert Wuthnow (2 of 2)19 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:
. . . This had been true for some time. But given the urgency of a strong response to attacks on our homeland, many expected the influence of lawyers over military operations to diminish after 9/11. Instead, Goldsmith shows, military lawyers became more deeply integrated than ever in military decision-making. They also grew closer to the fight, with two to three lawyers deployed with every army brigade, and a lawyer deployed for many special operations forces down to the battalion level. Goldsmith makes clear that the constraining function of military lawyers goes beyond applying their view of the law. Lawyers also advise commanders on whether particular actions will pass “the CNN test.” And even when it’s not possible for lawyers to be present, they constrain action through the rules of engagement they write. These rules, too, embody not just legal considerations, but also political and diplomatic ones. Goldsmith finds that “lawfare” constraints have impeded our military operations and increased the number of U.S. casualties. They even enabled Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, to escape after a lawyer dissuaded the military from striking a building because civilians were probably present. As Goldsmith explains, “[S]urrounded by law and under the gaze of many potential retroactive critics, it is entirely rational for soldiers up and down the chain of command to hesitate before acting.” Such hesitation is sometimes incompatible with waging effective warfare. How did we get to the point where lawyers help manage, and adversely affect, combat operations? We got there, Goldsmith shows, mainly through the efforts of what he calls “warrior-lawyers.” These JAGs possess both a military and a legal education. The combination appears to be a heady mix. For example, [more]