The Foreign Service Journal, September 2011

S E P T EMB E R 2 0 1 1 / F OR E I GN S E R V I C E J OU R N A L 55 O n Friday, June 24, AFSA’s Book Notes 2011programwelcomedDr. Andrew J. Bacevich, who spoke about his latest book, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. First published in2010byMetropolitanBooks, it was released in paperback this year. His presentationdrewa large audienceof active andretiredForeignServicepersonnel, along withacademics, journalists and formermil- itary personnel. Hebeganhistalkbyreferringtohishabit ofcollectingoldissuesof Life Magazine,then highlighted one article, “The American Century,” written by publisher Henry R. Luce inFebruary 1941. The article exhort- edAmericans“toacceptwholeheartedlyour dutyandouropportunityas themost pow- erful and vital nation in the world and in consequence to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such pur- poses aswe see fit andby suchmeans aswe see fit.” This proposition, saysBacevich,was the basis for the “Washington Rules” that havedominated American statecraft since the end of WorldWar II. Bacevich explained that the “rules,” as they have since evolved, have two components: • A“credo” that theU.S. is summoned, alone, to lead, save, liberate and transform the world, a notion he traces in the American psyche as far back as JohnWin- throp’s “CityuponaHill” sermonof 1630. • A “trinity” of beliefs and habits at the coreofU.S. national securitypolicy: that the minimum essentials of peace and order require a globalmilitarypresence; thatU.S. forces be configured for global power pro- jection; and that existing or anticipated threats must be countered by a policy of global interventionism. Thepremiseof WashingtonRules is that theseassumptionsarenolongervalid,ifthey everwere. Blindadherence to themhas led toa situationof permanentwar, setting the U.S. on a course to bank- ruptcy, both financial and moral. What is needed, Bace- vich believes, is a funda- mental re-evaluationof our approach tonational secu- rity. We need to develop a new credo focused on fulfilling the aspira- tions of our founding documents and attending to our prosperity. A new trinity shouldemphasize that theprimaryduty sta- tion of the American soldier is America (meaning we should “surgically trim” our vast network of bases); U.S. forces should be configured todefendU.S. soil andavery limited list of our most vital interests; and that, consistentwith theprinciples of a “just war,”military actionmust only be used to defend the U.S. or as a very last resort. Newsweek calls Washington Rules “tough-minded, bracing, and intelligent.” David M. Kennedy writes, “Bacevich lays bare thedogmas and shibboleths that have animatednational securitydoctrine for the last half century. This passionate, oftendis- comfortingbookbrings rareclarity toa sub- ject of urgent importance to Americans.” Areviewof thebookappeared intheMarch Foreign Service Journal . AndrewBacevich is a retiredU.S. army colonel and professor of history and inter- national relations at BostonUniversity. He is theauthorof TheLimits ofPower:TheEnd of American Exceptionalism (Metro- politanBooks,2008)and TheNewAmerican Militarism:HowAmericansAre Seducedby War (Oxford University Press, 2006), and holds a Ph.D. inAmericandiplomatic his- tory fromPrinceton University. Ournext BookNotes programwill take place onTuesday, Sept. 27, at 3p.m., when retiredFSOPatriciaMcArdle discusses her new novel, Farishta . A F S A N E W S Book Notes: Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War BY ASA MACLAY HORNER, FSJ EDITORIAL INTERN AFSA Honors Kennan Award Winner BY ASGEIR SIGFUSSON, AFSA MARKETING AND OUTREACH MANAGER O nFriday, June 3, AFSAPresident SusanR. Johnsonparticipated in a ceremony hon- oring graduates of theNationalDefenseUniversity’s campus at Fort Leslie J.McNair in southwest Washington, D.C. AFSA’s role at this annual ceremony is to present theGeorge F. KennanAward to the StateDepartment graduatewhose final paper has beenchosenas the best essay on strategy or policy. This year’s winner is Todd Holmstrom, an eco- nomic officerwhose last post was as the deputy direc- tor of the State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs. He previously spent three years in Damascus and earlier served in Tunis, Ottawa, Paramaribo and Washington. Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1995, Todd was an officer in the U.S. Army andwas deployedoverseas to the Balkans, Somalia, the Sinai, Honduras andGermany. Hewill next travel to Chad to become the DCM at Embassy N’Djamena. Todd’s essay was titled “Acknowledging a Threat: Countering the Syria, Iran, Hamas, Hizballah Axis.” The prize is a check for $250 and a certificate fromAFSA. The prize money is intend- ed for the purchase of scholarly books. The award is named for the FSOauthor of the “Long Telegram” fromMoscow in 1946 that outlined the U.S. ColdWar policy of containment. GeorgeF.Kennanserved in1947as the first deputy commandant of theNationalWarCollege, which established the award. Formore information on the KennanAward, please visit the AFSAWeb site at DONNA AYERST AFSA President Susan Johnson and Kennan Awardwinner ToddHolmstrom. What is needed, Bacevich believes, is a fundamental re-evaluation of our approach to national security.