I passed over Angelo Codevilla’s foreign policy essay “While the storm clouds gather” when we previewed the current issue of the Claremont Review of Books. professor of international relations emeritus. Before he went into academia, he served as a Navy officer, a foreign service officer and a member of the professional staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I did so largely because I thought the essay was more of the same from Angelo, including his usual critique of “the ruling class.”
Angelo is the CRB’s long-time critic of American foreign policy. He is Boston University professor of international relations emeritus. Before he went into academia, he served as a Navy officer, a foreign service officer and a member of the professional staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. His current book is To Make and Keep Peace Among Ourselves and All Nations. He is a formidable scholar and analyst of foreign policy issues.
Reader and CRB subscriber Perry Branson (a/k/a ShrinkWrapped) wrote to ask if our friends at the CRB would make the essay accessible online, and they have done so as of this morning. Thanks to our friends at the CRB for taking the request.
Thinking I would use his comments to introduce Angelo’s essay, I asked Dr. Branson why he wanted it to be made accessible. He responded:
I agree it is more of the same for those of us familiar with his work but it has a number of virtues. It is quite readable and a very nice summary of his book which places responsibility on both Dems and Reps (a nice piece of “fairness”).
For people who have not been exposed to his thinking (and most people I know do not know who he is and are completely stuck in either the conventional wisdom about our “foreign policy” or its mirror image as a way to organize their worldview) it might be a vehicle for engaging in some critical thought about why we are in the state we are in and what we can work toward in 2016 that might begin to shift us back onto a tenable course.
I think a politician in 2016 who can articulate these thoughts in a non-threatening manner could get support from many different points on the political spectrum since his thinking is essentially orthogonal to conventional wisdom.
Beyond all that: bottom line is that I want to send the article to people I know and ask them to read it; who knows? One or two of them might actually think in response.
For the purposes Dr. Branson identifies in this message, I recommend America In Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder, by Bret Stephens. We interviewed Bret about the book in the podcast posted here, about 15 minutes into the podcast. By contrast with Codevilla in the current CRB essay, Stephens takes serious issue with (George Will-like) complacency about Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, as in the 2010 Commentary essay “Iran cannot be contained.”