Academic Elites’ International Myopia

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

For about a half a century or better, America’s diplomatic corps have been trying to broker a peace between Israel and its multitude of hostile neighbors, usually by pressuring the former. Such efforts usually avail little.

Nevertheless, advocates of this approach persevere. In its own attempt to pump up the volume in order to get Israel to the peace table once again, the Obama Administration, like many of its predecessors, came up empty.

Still, peace-through-debate adherents argue that, “If anything, he [the president] should have pressed harder,” author Colin Dueck noted recently at the Heritage Foundation. “Then we would have had a deal,” they conclude.

“I hear that a lot, particularly in academic circles,” Dueck observes. Dueck is an associate professor of International Affairs at George Mason University.

Score another for academic elites anxious to see their theories put into practice. Of course, this is not their first attempt to do so.

Accommodation of the Soviet Union, to one degree or another, was itself a byproduct of academic thought. In fact, communist containment was an idea popularized by an intellectual, George Kennan, who wandered in and out of the Ivory Tower for most of his storied career.

Although later viewed as a conservative idea, upon its introduction, many of yesterday’s conservatives viewed it as borderline appeasement. “In the 1950s, the debate was over containment and liberation,” former U. S. House UnAmerican Activities Committee investigator Herb Romerstein pointed out in another lecture at the Heritage Foundation three years ago. “We never had a liberation president until Ronald Reagan.”

Dueck is also the author of Hard Line: The Republican Party and U. S. Foreign Policy Since World War II. At the Heritage Foundation recently, Dueck argued that the aforementioned “hard line” had a positive impact on American statecraft for more than 50 years.

In his talk, he resurrected rhetoric from no-ancient presidential campaigns that helps put U. S. history in perspective. For example, in the 1952 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, conservative Senator Robert A. Taft, R-Ohio, and the more philosophically undefined General Dwight D. Eisenhower agreed on the necessity of rolling back the Soviet bloc of captive nations.

“Eisenhower campaigned against communist containment in the 1952 campaign then went on to implement it as president,” Dueck said at Heritage.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org

 

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