As militant Islamic forces intent on the creation of a Mideast-wide theocracy sweep across Iraq with little or no resistance, the escalating bloodbath has triggered a renewed debate on how muscular our foreign policy must be. This week on Moyers & Company (check local listings), Bill Moyers speaks with historian and combat veteran Andrew Bacevich about what the crisis in Iraq tells us about America's role in the world. Many of the same neoconservatives who beat the drum of war in 2003 want to see boots on the ground in Iraq once again. One of their leading lights, Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, argues that the United States once had "a sense of global responsibility that equated American interests with the interests of many others around the world." Bacevich disagrees. "Phrases like 'world order' and 'global responsibility' obfuscate," he writes. "Purporting to clarify, they merely gloss over... "If Americans appear disinclined to have a go at overthrowing Syria's Assad or at restoring the Crimea to Ukrainian control, it's due to their common-sense assessment of what US policy in very recent years has produced," he says. Our policy in Iraq has "destabilized much of the greater Middle East while exacerbating anti-Americanism across the Islamic world." Andrew Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University. Before joining the faculty of Boston University, served taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins University. Among his many articles and books, Bacevich is most recently the editor of The Short American Century: A Postmortem and author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.
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