Monday, April 9, 2012


David Halberstam is one of my favorite historians.   He's written about many topics, and is often an insightful critic of US engagement abroad.  His sweeping knowledge of America and powerful storytelling abilities allow his histories to come alive.  He had a keen insight into our nation. 

Thus did [America] begin an almost unwanted ascent to superpower status.  That the ascent has been more unwanted than desired is critically important to understanding how America responds to crises in foreign policy, why it does this more slowly and more awkwardly than other nations, but when finally aroused, does it with a certain finality.  Our instinct, born of geography, is to be apart.  We are a vast country, with all kinds of different ethnic factions and regions and class; we do not lightly--it is I think, in the long run, a source of both strength and tolerance -- respond too quickly for any one single purpose.  We have other preoccupations."
-War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton and the Generals

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