Text size
Text Print Share Email
Dec 22, 2008

The Obama administration can do nothing more important than inspire Americans to reexamine “what we mean by freedom.”

By Matthew Schaeffer

Watch FLYP Media’s video interview with influential historian Andrew J. Bacevitch, in which he predicts what will happen with some of the pressing issues facing our nation. His ideas cover everything from Obama’s major power constraints, how we need to rethink global policies, getting our economic house in order and avoiding what he calls "cultural drift."

A Vietnam veteran and West Point graduate who retired as a colonel after 23 years in the U.S. Army, Andrew J. Bacevich teaches history and international relations at Boston University. The author most recently of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, he was an early and outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq.
The election of Barack Obama has done little to change his sense that America and Americans are headed in the wrong direction. If anything, the financial meltdown has provided proof of his core argument about the journey ahead.
“There is a need for us to evaluate critically what we mean by freedom,” he says. “For the great majority of Americans, freedom has come to mean conspicuous consumption and personal self-indulgence, heading to the mall for the latest gizmo and somehow believing that through that kind of exercise we’re going to achieve human fulfillment. I think we need to confront that illusion and rethink what the meaning of freedom ought to be.”


Andrew J. Bacevich has written a number of books and articles on
American diplomatic and military history, U.S. foreign policy and
security. A persistent critic of the American involvement in Iraq, in
March 2007, the Vietnam veteran called George W. Bush’s endorsement of
preventive war “immoral, illicit and imprudent.” Two months later, his
son died fighting in Iraq.


login or register to post a comment

Get the latest look at the people, ideas and events that are shaping America. Sign up for the FREE FLYP newsletter.