American Exceptionalism with Guest Speaker Andrew Bacevich

St. Scholastica's Student Newspaper
The Cable
By: Jordyn Kirk - Student Journalist -
Andrew Bacevich interview. Credit to vimeo.com

Andrew Bacevich interview. Credit to vimeo.com

"I think American Exceptionalism is the conviction that God or Providence or history has called upon us to change the world and to remake it in our image," said Andrew Bacevich. "What we have is what they want or need."  

Bacevich was asked to come speak in the Mitchell Auditorium as part of the Peace and Justice Lecture series, and is a professor at Boston University.    

The lecture opened at 7:30 p.m. with an introduction from Tom Morgan, who introduced audience members to a new rule that would be effective during the Q and A session after the lecture, that students should ask questions before community members.  

Well-known Duluth Activist Martha Alworth passed away November 25th, 2012, and this was the first of an annual lecture series to be held in her honor.   Morgan passed the microphone over to Alworth's son, who spent three minutes sharing memories.  

"She approached problems through the lens of peace and justice. She always said, 'Those who are ignorant of history are deemed to repeat it,'" Alworth said.  

At 7:45 p.m. Bacevich took the stage and the lecture officially began.  

"It's a great honor to be the first Alworth lecturer," said Bacevich.  

Bacevich turned to the four great ideas of the 1990's being The End of History, Globalization, the Indispensable Nation, and Full Spectrum Dominance; these ideas seem to lead to what became American exceptionalism.  

The End of History was the concept that the Cold War served as a final resolution, and that all questions had been answered.   Globalization is more so "Americanization" than anything else, and was a move of economic intergration.  

The Indispensable Nation was the concept that America possessed a unique leadership style to be conceited by all.  

Full Spectrum Dominance began at the end of the Cold War, when the US was in leadership with the biggest standing army.   Bacevich moved forward in time to September 11th, 2001; the global war on terrorism began and the U.S. set out to Americanize the Islamic world.  

"We went to war and society went back to normal," Bacevich said, noting the stereotypical American choice, to go shopping.   Mentioning that none of the other superpowers supported the US in its war on terrorism, Bacevich noted that the U.S. was punished by the inaction of other nations in the Iraq War, and how the US is now stuck footing the entire bill.  

"We can revise our goals," said Bacevich, offering his best solution. "Open war is flawed, unsustainable, and unwise. We should chart a course relatable to the means we have. We need to change how we think, not how they think."  

The lecture was officially concluded at 9 p.m., and followed by cookies in the Mitchell Foyer.  

By Jordyn Kirk
jkirk5@css.edu