Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 3 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend (3 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   3 comments

General News

Ignorance of the Past Cripples U.S. Foreign Policy

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 5/21/11

Become a Fan
  (46 fans)
- Advertisement -

Americans are so woefully ignorant of their own history that they cannot apply the lessons of the past to guide their foreign policy, the Dean of America's only college of history says.

"When one considers our profound lack of knowledge of our own past, combined with our unparalleled military might as the world's only superpower, it is easier to understand why countries as different as Mexico and Canada, Pakistan and New Zealand, look at us with wary eyes," says historian Michael Chesson, dean of the American College of History and Legal Studies in Salem, N.H.

"We are the thousand pound gorilla," Chesson continues. "Unfortunately, we can lash out as if we were both drunk and blind when provoked, whether by pesky foreign powers, or terrorists."

Chesson cites the best-seller "Imperial Hubris"( Potomac Books) by Michael Scheuer about the early fighting in Afghanistan to support his argument that the U.S. needs a more informed citizenry.

" Americans will have to read more books, journals, newspapers, and online commentary from a variety olf sources, written from different points of view," Chesson says. "Then we have to think about what it all means, and make decisions based on that information."

He explains, "It is vital that we do a far better job of informing ourselves about the world than has been the case for much of our history," because "Two branches of our national government are headed entirely by elected leaders. Over time what are the odds that their qualities and strengths will be better than the general level of awareness among the broad electorate?"

- Advertisement -

Chesson states further, "We must supplement our formidable hard power with the soft power available to us, but only if we husband it, use it wisely, and know how to produce more of it," as as former Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Nye wrote in his book, " The Paradox of American Power: Why The World's Only Superpower Can't Go It Alone" (Oxford University Press).

As suggested by that book's subtitle, Chesson writes, "We must supplement our formidable hard power with the soft power available to us, but only if we husband it, use it wisely, and know how to produce more of it." Currently, Nye is dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

" For America to fare better in a perilous world Nye says will require some self-restraint from Congress. That seems a dubious proposition," Chesson observes. "It is, at best, one measure of how hard it is for a democratic republic to conduct foreign policy. A more constructive approach to our involvement in world affairs would also require some consistency from one presidential administration to the next, even when there is a transfer of power from one party to another."

ACHLS offers only the junior and senior years of undergraduate study and its curriculum focuses exclusively on American history, including aspects of legal history. Chesson's comments appear on the history college's Web site. #

(Sherwood Ross is a media consultant to the college.)

- Advertisement -

 

Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

U.S. Overthrow in the Ukraine Risks Nuclear War With Russia

Radioactive Ammunition Fired in Middle East May Claim More Lives Than Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Obama Expands the American Warfare State

NSA MAY BE READING WINDOWS SOFTWARE IN YOUR COMPUTER

Is George W. Bush Sane?

Inside America's Biological Warfare Center

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
2 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)
and everyone has their own interpretations of what... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 1:10:30 AM
the foreign politics of American popular cultureRe... by Dave Kisor on Monday, May 23, 2011 at 7:15:17 PM
Not too sure that the government wants to keep Ame... by Doc McCoy on Monday, May 23, 2011 at 7:53:34 PM