Robert Kagan, author of a new book, Dangerous Nation, was interviewed. Worth listening to for me. And the book looks interesting too. An excerpt is shared on the same page.
I think his thoughts help me take a more realistic view towards the United States of America, my country. He helps us avoid an unreal ideal attributed to the founding and earlier years of our nation. This nation is made up of humans who do good and bad things. Motives have not, nor always are completely good. Though the United States has often seen itself as an agent of good will toward humanity, as in what we're doing now, in trying to bring democracy to other peoples, so that they might enjoy ideals that some of us think are intrinsic to human beings.
Of course we get into all kinds of problems philosophically here. And I don't want, neither very well can go into that in this post (or any post). But my point here is that we need to take leaders and their policies for what they are. Maybe poor judgment. Generally well meaning for others, with not a little of our own interests factored in. This is a part of our American heritage, if one is to believe Kagan. I, at least in large part, do.
Does the book live up to its name? Based on the interview alone, I rather doubt it. Though Kagan does have some hard things to say about the United States. And in some ways sees this nation as an empire (benevolent, certainly not in the same category as the Third Reich), but in other ways- not (as compared with the Roman empire). The book, I believe helps us see the fallibility of our leaders from the beginning. But is richly nuanced, if I can judge by the interview itself. So that we're left with some complexity about American ideals and actions. And basically see a nation that wants to do good by its standards, sometimes fails, often succeeds. But with consequences that can be a mixed blessing.
So if you have a little time, and are so inclined, I would encourage you to give this interview a listen. And read the excerpt from Kagan's new book, as well. Then give us your thoughts, if you like, about it.