News from Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. http://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy Read how the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy is making headlines. en-us Sat, 21 Oct 2017 01:16:20 -0700 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Drupal SPP Offers Workshop on Social Media for Politics & Policy https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/10/spp-offers-workshop-social-media-politics-policy/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/10/spp-offers-workshop-social-media-politics-policy Alex Kouts will discuss how technology can better serve constituents and cite real examples that are currently live in Congress. Fri, 20 Oct 2017 09:45:00 PDT sample

The School of Public Policy's Fall 2017 Policy Intensives with Practitioners Series will offer its next half-day workshops on "Social Media Strategies for Politics and Policy, on Friday, October 27, 2017, from 10 am to 2 pm, in SPP Classroom 175. Alex Kouts, head of product, at Countable, will discuss what Silicon Valley can teach us about how to leverage bleeding-edge tech and processes to serve and communicate with constituents--citing real examples of real innovation projects live in Congress and from market-leading civic tech consumer apps.

Lunch will be served. Registration is required.

For more information and to view the schedule of upcoming Policy Intensive workshops for the fall semester, click here.

Note: The following workshop is eligible for three (3) Professional Development credits for School of Public Policy Students.

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School of Public Policy
CEO of Public Justice Center on Women in Policy Leadership https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/10/ceo-public-justice-center-women-policy-leadership/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/10/ceo-public-justice-center-women-policy-leadership Stephanie Summers will discuss what it is like to be a woman in leadership in policy research and civic engagement. Fri, 20 Oct 2017 09:30:00 PDT Stephanie Summers

Stephanie Summers, president of The Center for Public Justice will lead the School of Public Policy Davenport Discussion roundtable seminar in SPP Rm 179 on the Drescher Graduate Campus on Wednesday, October 25, at noon. Summers will discuss what it is like to be a woman in leadership in policy research and civic engagement.

Each semester at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, the Davenport Institute hosts a series of lunchtime Davenport Discussions with practitioners, journalists, innovators, and researchers who speak to students on a wide range of issues from state and local finance to the use of technology in government to the outlook for cities in a state budget crisis and much more. These interactive sessions give students an opportunity not only to hear from experts in the field but to ask questions and make personal connections as well. For more information contact Sarah Axen.

Lunch will be served.

All Davenport Discussion sessions are eligible for one (1) Professional Development credit for School of Public Policy students.

 

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School of Public Policy
Pepperdine to Host Women in Policy and Politics Symposium https://www.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/10/pepperdine-host-women-policy-and-politics-symposium/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/university/2017/10/pepperdine-host-women-policy-and-politics-symposium Panelists will highlight the challenges and opportunities for women in political leadership. Mon, 16 Oct 2017 11:45:00 PDT The Pepperdine Center for Women in Leadership, in partnership with the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, will host the Women in Policy and Politics Symposium at Wilburn Auditorium in Malibu on Monday, October 23, from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

As women have advanced as leaders within the public sphere, progress made in the realm of politics and policy is among the most prominent. Internationally, as well as within the United States, women in positions of political leadership have paved the way for even greater strides for future generations.

Guest speakers will highlight the challenges and opportunities for women in policy and political leadership by exploring the subject throughout three distinct themes:

Women in Nonprofit Policy

Moderator:

  • Regan Harwell Schaffer (MA ’93, EdD ’02)
    Director, Nonprofit Leadership Collaborative and
    Professor of Organizational Behavior and Management
    Seaver College, Pepperdine University

Panelists:

  • Sally Pipes
    President and CEO

Pacific Research Institute

  • Montse Alvarado
    Executive Director

Becket Fund

  • Kathy Schaffer
    Coach, Author, Speaker

Women in Government

Moderator:

  • Ashley Trim (MPP ’09)
    Executive Director, Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership
    School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University

Panelists:

  • Sabrina Adu-Hamdeh
    Foreign Affairs Officer
    US Department of State
  • Lindsay Young (MPP ’10)
    White House Web Consultant
    18F
  • Ingrid Hardy
    Director, Cultural and Community Services
    City of Oxnard
  • Sahar Shirazi
    Senior Planning Advisor
    Governor's Office of Planning and Research

Women in Elected Office

Moderator:

  • Pete Peterson (MPP ’07)
    Dean
    School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University

Panelists:

  • Kathryn Barger
    Los Angeles County Supervisor
  • Alicia Weintraub (MPP ’02)
    Councilwoman
    City of Calabasas
  • Shirley Weber
    Member
    California State Assembly

Tickets are free for Pepperdine students and $25 for faculty, staff, and community members.

For additional information, and to register to attend, visit the Women in Policy and Politics Symposium page on the Eventbrite website.

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School of Public Policy
Journalist Will Swaim Leads Davenport Discussion https://www.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/10/journalist-will-swaim-leads-davenport-discussion/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/university/2017/10/journalist-will-swaim-leads-davenport-discussion Swaim addressed California Policy Center's public education and local government initiatives Thu, 12 Oct 2017 13:00:00 PDT Will Swaim, president of the California Policy Center, led the School of Public Policy Davenport Discussion roundtable seminar entitled “Think Tanks and Media in State-Level Policy” at Drescher Graduate Campus in Malibu on October 11.

In his discussion, Swaim explored the transition from such white paper think tanks as Reason magazine, Cato Papers on Public Policy, The Heritage Foundation, the Brookings Institution, and the American Enterprise Institute, to what's emerging today: “activist think tanks” that combine policy formulation and community organizing. He addressed California Policy Center's public education and local government initiatives, as well as the connection between policy and activism. 

“Human beings left to their own ingenuity can create an amazing and remarkable world. That took me awhile to understand psychologically,” Swaim shared. “I used to believe I was my brother’s keeper, and to some extent, his boss.”

Swaim has served as editor of Watchdog.org, a national network of state-based investigative reporters, and vice president of journalism at Watchdog’s nonprofit parent, the Washington, D.C.-based Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.

He began his journalism career as a business reporter in 1990, as managing editor and ultimately editor and publisher of the international business magazine, World Trade. In 1995 Village Voice Media named him OC Weekly’s founding editor; that newspaper became the fastest startup to profitability in the alternative weekly industry. In 2000 Swaim was promoted to associate publisher, and to publisher in 2002. He left OC Weekly in January 2007, and shortly after launched The District, an alternative newsweekly in Long Beach, California.

A seventh-generation Californian, Swaim has written extensively about California business, media, politics, and religion. He is the winner of several print journalism awards and a Southern California Broadcasters Golden Mike award for public affairs commentary. He appears regularly on television and radio.

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School of Public Policy
Ed Conference Focused on Collaboration | LA School Report https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/10/ed-conference-focused-collaboration-la-school-report/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/10/ed-conference-focused-collaboration-la-school-report SPP education conference brought together education policy leaders from Los Angeles and the state to discuss ways different stakeholders could join together for the benefit of public schoolchildren. Tue, 10 Oct 2017 09:00:00 PDT ‘Now is the time’ — Pepperdine gathers education policy voices to foster collaboration

Sarah Favot | October 10, 2017 | LA School Report

 

“If ever there was a time to talk about collaboration, now is the time.”  

— Ryan J. Smith, executive director, The Education Trust-West

Collaboration was the theme and aim of Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy’s first education conference, held Friday at the Malibu campus. The event brought together education policy leaders from Los Angeles and the state to discuss ways different stakeholders could join together for the benefit of public schoolchildren.

Hanna Skandera, New Mexico’s former secretary of education and an alumna of the Pepperdine graduate program, gave the keynote address outlining what led to the academic advancements in New Mexico as well as the lessons she learned over her six-and-a-half-year term.

“What gets measured gets done,” was one her success strategies in New Mexico, but Skandera said too often education leaders are focused on measurements and don’t get to why they are measuring.

“Once you know where you’re at, what are you going to do about it?”

Skandera said she felt “uneasiness” as she looked at California’s new accountability system, the school Dashboard, which is a color-coded grid that evaluates schools based on various measures in addition to test scores that some advocates have said is too complicated to understand.

“I do think we should have multiple measures, but I’m a big fan of finalizing with what I call a summative rating, meaning a simple, at the end, roll it up what does this mean?”

New Mexico has a school grading system that uses multiple measures but gives schools an A-F letter grade. Skandera said she believes in this grading system because parents said they could understand how their school was doing if it was given a letter grade.

She said Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula — which gives more money to districts that have more students who are from low-income families, English-language learners, and foster youth — is a “huge step in the right direction.” But she said legislation does not change hearts and minds, but it is an opportunity.

“Until we have the people in that mix the Local (Control) Funding Formula opportunity, equality for students we won’t accomplish what a great step in the right direction California has taken.”

• Read more from The 74: New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera on How Her State Is Turning Around Schools

Skandera said one mistake she made was not going directly to teachers. She said she regrets that she bought into the traditional system of communication that if she told superintendents something, superintendents would tell principals, principals would tell teachers, and teachers would tell parents.

“Let me just be clear, that is the worst game of telephone ever,” she said.

Later in her tenure, she formed a teacher advisory cabinet of 20 teachers to give them a voice on policy issues.

“These teachers – 20 teachers – changed the game of education in New Mexico.” Now there is a teacher in every school in the state who has access to the advisory group.

The conference’s first panel, moderated by KPCC education reporter Kyle Stokes, included Ama Nyamekye, executive director of Educators for Excellence Los Angeles; David Rattray, executive vice president at LA Area Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Education Excellence & Talent Development; John Rogers, UCLA education professor; Marshall Tuck, candidate for state superintendent of public instruction, and Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association.

Much of the discussion in that panel was on whether different stakeholders can work with state legislators to lengthen the amount of time it takes for teachers to receive tenure. Several attempts have been made — and failed — to change teacher tenure laws.

The second panel focused on areas of collaboration in Los Angeles. It was moderated by LA School Report’s Executive Editor Laura Greanias and included Elise Buik, United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ president and CEO; UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl; Frances Gipson, LA Unified’s chief academic officer; Hattie Mitchell, co-founder and CEO of Crete Academy, and Ryan J. Smith, executive director of The Education Trust-West.

Hattie Mitchell, co-founder and CEO, Crete Academy

Gipson pointed to the United Way as an example of collaboration in LA, and Buik described how the city and county came together around homelessness. A decade ago the two entities weren’t collaborating, she said, but this year two historic ballot measures were passed to raise taxes to fund initiatives for housing for the homeless.

Caputo-Pearl declined to say how the union could collaborate to ensure that the district remains fiscally solvent without relying on whether it gets more state and federal funding.

UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl

“If we take it off the table, then we are acknowledging that the public district system is going to go off a fiscal cliff, which I’m not willing to acknowledge,” he said.

UTLA has started a campaign called “20 by 20,” which calls for $20,000 in per pupil funding by 2020. The state now gives districts about $12,000 in per pupil funding.

The union leader also called on the state to limit the growth of charter schools, where teachers are generally not unionized.

Mitchell, whose newly opened charter school serves students who are homeless and living in poverty, said, “I disagree with Alex, the answer of sustainability is not to close down charters. It’s to close down poor performing schools. Some of those will be charters, and others will be district schools,” said Mitchell, who graduated from Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy. “Charters have challenged the status quo and will continue to do so.”

Smith said along with the conversation about increasing spending should be a discussion about accountability.

“If we believe that the public is going to continue to invest in public schools, we have to have accountability that those dollars are being invested to help students,” he said.

The panelists were asked what piece of data they would like to have that they don’t.

Gipson said she would like “student voice.”

Buik said she would like to bring back the parent report card.

Smith said he would like to disaggregate student achievement data for students who are part of the Asian ethnic group, so students within that demographic can get more support.

Caputo-Pearl said the union has had to jump through hoops without success to get “basic data from charter schools.” He said he’d like for all public schools to have to adhere to the same standards around data reporting.

Ryan J. Smith, executive director, The Education Trust-West

“Let’s not focus on the 30 percent of things we don’t agree on, but the 70 percent of things that education reformers, education advocates, teachers, parents, students, administrators absolutely agree on and I believe now is the time to create that agenda,” Smith said.

In closing, Pete Peterson, the dean of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, said, “We are deeply concerned about the state of education. But we are committed to being that convening place of the conversation around these very difficult, and yes, contentious issues, because we believe in our hearts, that … an issue like this is really about kids.”

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School of Public Policy
Rod Dreher on "A Strategy for Faithful Civic Engagement" https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/10/rod-dreher-strategy-faithful-civic-engagement/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/10/rod-dreher-strategy-faithful-civic-engagement Dreher will discuss his vision for the future of Christian life and political engagement in an increasingly secularized America. Tue, 10 Oct 2017 08:30:00 PDT sample

Journalist Rod Dreher will present a discussion on "A Strategy for Faithful Civic Engagement," on Friday, October 20, 2017, at 6:30 pm in Elkins Auditorium. The author of "The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians," Dreher will discuss his vision for the future of Christian life and political engagement in an increasingly secularized America. Called "the most important religious book of the decade" by David Brooks in the New York Times, Dreher draws arguments from great Christian thinkers ranging from Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century to Alisdair MacIntyre, to say that people of faith need to step back from involvement in national politics to focus more on local matters and personal faith commitments.

Dreher is a journalist and writer who focuses on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. He is a senior editor at The American Conservative.

A reception will follow the discussion. The event is free, however registration is required.

 

Dreher will also be speaking at St. Monica's Church on Saturday, October 21, at 7 pm, where he will presenting the evening's keynote. Dale Sieverding, director of worship at St. Monica Catholic Community, and Rankin Wilbourne, senior pastor of Pacific Crossroads Church, will serve as respondents; with Pete Peterson, dean of the School of Public Policy, serving as moderator. Register here.

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School of Public Policy
SPP Offers Davenport Discussion on Think Tanks and Media in State-Level Policy https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/10/spp-offers-davenport-discussion-think-tanks-and-media-state-level-policy/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/10/spp-offers-davenport-discussion-think-tanks-and-media-state-level-policy William Swaim from the California Policy Center will talk about the role and change of public policy organizations in 2017. Wed, 04 Oct 2017 09:45:00 PDT William Swaim, president of the California Policy Center, will lead the School of Public Policy Davenport Discussion roundtable seminar in SPP Rm 179 on the Drescher Graduate Campus on Wednesday, October 11, at noon. Swaim will explore what the role of public policy organizations are in 2017, and speak about the transition from such white-paper think tanks like Reason, Cato, Heritage, Brookings, and the American Enterprise Institute to what's emerging today as "activist think tanks" that combine policy formulation and community organizing. Swiam will also touch on California Policy Center's public education and local government initiatives, and where policy and activism merge. 

Each semester at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, the Davenport Institute hosts a series of lunchtime Davenport Discussions with practitioners, journalists, innovators, and researchers who speak to students on a wide range of issues from state and local finance to the use of technology in government to the outlook for cities in a state budget crisis and much more. These interactive sessions give students an opportunity not only to hear from experts in the field but to ask questions and make personal connections as well. For more information contact Sarah Axen.

Lunch will be served.

All Davenport Discussion sessions are eligible for one (1) Professional Development credit for School of Public Policy students.

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School of Public Policy
SPP Hosts Conference "Building Collaborative Education Policy in California" Oct 6 https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/10/spp-hosts-conference-building-collaborative-education-policy-california-oct-6/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/10/spp-hosts-conference-building-collaborative-education-policy-california-oct-6 Former New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera will keynote, along with two panels comprising of state and local education leaders moderated by well-known local journalists from LA School Report and KPCC. Mon, 02 Oct 2017 10:00:00 PDT Education, labor, and community leaders from throughout Los Angeles and California will gather at Pepperdine University’s Wilburn Auditorium on Friday, October 6, 2017, from 10 am to 1:30 pm for Pepperdine School of Public Policy’s (SPP) first-ever education conference, “Building Collaborative Education Policy in California.” The event is co-presented by Media Image PR, a grassroots communications agency based in Los Angeles that works to positively impact the lives of the people of California. The conference will also be live-streamed here and on the School of Public Policy’s Facebook page. Conference agenda and speaker bios are available on the conference website

 

The conference will delve into key education policy issues impacting the quality of instruction, school integration, funding streams, needed resources, and supports during and after school, graduation rates, and more in Los Angeles and throughout California. Participants will have an opportunity to assess current challenges in the educational landscape, share best practices, and assist in the identification of potential pathways that can lead to collaboration.

 

“As a graduate policy program that focuses on ways the public can be better involved in policymaking, we're excited to host such a great group of education leaders to explore how Californians can be engaged in the common goal of making our schools the best they can be,” said Pete Peterson, dean of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.

 

The event will feature former New Mexico secretary of education Hanna Skandera (MPP ’00), as keynote speaker, and two panels moderated by Kyle Stokes, K-12 education reporter for 89.3 KPCC, and Laura Greanias, executive editor for LA School Report. The first panel, led by Stokes, will present a statewide focus and include:

  • Ama Nyamekye, Educators for Excellence
  • David Rattray, Center for Education Excellence & Talent Development, LA Chamber of Commerce
  • Jed Wallace, California Charter Schools Association
  • John Rogers, UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access
  • Marshall Tuck, candidate, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

The second panel, led by Greanias, will have a local focus and feature:

  • Alex Caputo-Pearl, United Teachers of Los Angeles
  • Dr. Frances Gipson, Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Elise Buik, United Way of Greater Los Angeles
  • Hattie Mitchell, Crete Academy
  • Ryan J. Smith, The Education Trust-West, California

 

Panelist Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles noted, "This conference features some of the brightest minds in the city and state's educational system and I'm looking forward to a robust discussion on how we can better support all of our students in the classrooms and beyond to college and careers.”

 

For more information about the conference contact Christina Ramirez at (310) 506-7497 or via e-mail at christina.ramirez@pepperdine.edu. 

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School of Public Policy
Dr. Michael Shires on How Water Policy Leaves CA Vulnerable | The Orange County Register https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/09/dr-michael-shires-how-water-policy-leaves-ca-vulnerable-orange-county-register/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/09/dr-michael-shires-how-water-policy-leaves-ca-vulnerable-orange-county-register "The drought of the last five years has put tremendous pressure on the state’s water allocation systems and shown that they are not only broken but incapable of adapting to the realities of a sustained drought cycle." Fri, 29 Sep 2017 09:45:00 PDT

OPINION: Water Policy Leaves California Vulnerable

Michael Shires | September 29, 2017 | The Orange County Register

 

Water is the Central Valley’s economic lifeblood — of that, there is no doubt. The drought of the last five years has put tremendous pressure on the state’s water allocation systems and shown that they are not only broken but incapable of adapting to the realities of a sustained drought cycle. But, why should people in Southern California and Orange County care if water is not available to the Central Valley and agricultural production goes away?

Four simple reasons — there will be less fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in California, many Central Valley residents will lose their jobs and be forced to move to other areas of the state, other areas of the state will have to absorb the fiscal impact of an economically depressed Central Valley, and a substantial amount of Southern California’s imported water comes from Northern California.

Orange County, like the rest of the state, is reliant on an ancient infrastructure, inadequate storage and bureaucratic arbitrariness which are the hallmarks of a California water system that was built for half the population the state supports today. Layer on top of that the absence of any real planning for a sustained drought and you have the recipe for the last five disastrous years of drought.

Fallowed farmland, empty processing plants, browning trees, unemployed workers — all the result of this vacuum. Recent work completed about the drought’s impact on the Fresno and Kings County economies show that if the state’s water system had delivered on its contracted levels, local agricultural employment and economic production could have been as much as 20 percent higher than it is today.

The drought also brought to the forefront individuals who call for less agriculture in the region. But less agriculture in the Central Valley means significantly fewer fresh products make their way to Southern California. On the surface, you might think, “What’s the big deal?” The big deal is that farmers in the Westlands Water District, the most productive farming region of the world, grow a considerable share of the state’s melons, lettuce, onions, corn, tomatoes, pistachios and almonds, to name a few key crops. The ability of these farmers to produce healthy, California-grown food is the strength of the Central Valley that benefits families living throughout the state.

And, it turns out, almost 100,000 workers in Fresno and Kings counties alone are dependent on agriculture — more than 1 in 5 jobs in the two counties. Plus, their families and a host of community and public organizations also depend on them for their support.

The response of some to this reality is that the state could easily replace these jobs with manufacturing jobs and new green jobs as the state implements its aggressive environmental goals. Yet the reality is different. Estimates of the impacts of green jobs throughout the entire San Joaquin Valley total less than 9,000 a year.

Even if all the farmland was converted to solar farms, solar operations would have to spend $6.24 billion a year to replace agriculture in the region’s economy. Others point to manufacturing — a sector in which the state has been hemorrhaging jobs for decades. The Fresno region has been holding steady in this sector, but only because food manufacturing, which accounts for more than half the county’s manufacturing jobs, has been growing to offset losses in durable goods manufacturing. The sector would have to more than quadruple its manufacturing employment to offset agriculture.

Of course, this assumes manufacturers are interested in investing in the Central Valley region. The reality is that recent trends to on-shore manufacturing in America prove other states to be far more appealing. In other words, manufacturing companies prefer places with less regulation, friendlier tax codes, workforces who have had the opportunity to become college educated — not a state which has been doubling down on raising the cost of doing business within its boundaries.

The stakes are too high — dismantling the state’s agriculture economy in the Central Valley would not only make America dependent on foreign producers not subject to worker, environmental and food safety regulations, but would disrupt the lives of tens of thousands of Californians and their local communities.

Economic modeling also shows that not only would the Central Valley lose tens of thousands of jobs and billions in income without agriculture, but the state and local governments would lose almost half a billion dollars a year in tax revenues at the very time that the surge in unemployment in some of the state’s poorest counties would drive even more residents onto the social safety net.

The bottom line — in one of the nation’s richest agricultural areas, which successfully employs one of the largest entry-level worker populations in the nation and which provides them with paths to economic opportunity — is that agriculture is impossible to replace. And we shouldn’t want to.

These are not options — they are reality. If we don’t change, California may indeed reverse the Dustbowl of the 1930’s and export its population eastward to places where new opportunities exist. The responsibility is on us to ensure California remains the vibrant state known as the agricultural powerhouse that feeds our nation and many parts of the world.

Michael Shires is a professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University.

 

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School of Public Policy
Dr. Robert Kaufman on "Two First Quarter Cheers for Trump's Principled Realism" | Strategika https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/09/dr-robert-kaufman-two-first-quarter-cheers-trumps-principled-realism-strategika/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/09/dr-robert-kaufman-two-first-quarter-cheers-trumps-principled-realism-strategika "The President has moved a long way from his campaign positions of denigrating the value of America’s democratic alliances and renouncing America’s role as the world’s default power essential to deterring hegemonic threats in vital geopolitical regions." Thu, 28 Sep 2017 14:30:00 PDT Two First Quarter Cheers for Trump’s Principled Realism

Robert Kaufman | September 28, 2017 | Strategika

 

The content and trajectory of Donald Trump’s foreign policy have defied the expectations of many of his supporters as well as his critics across the political spectrum. The President has moved a long way from his campaign positions of denigrating the value of America’s democratic alliances and renouncing America’s role as the world’s default power essential to deterring hegemonic threats in vital geopolitical regions. The President has fired Steve Bannon, the paladin of a sizable segment of Trump’s core constituency clamoring for American strategic retrenchment different in rationale, but similar in outcome to Obama’s Dangerous Doctrine that weakened America. Instead, Trump’s core national security team—Secretary of Defense James Mattis, UN Ambassador Nicki Haley, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster—consider America’s military, political, and economic power indispensable to deterring and defeating global threats menacing to America’s enlightened self-interest.

What Trump calls “Principled Realism rooted in shared values” has not crystallized into a doctrine. Moreover, the president’s volatility and unpredictability—partially cultivated but also intrinsic—make any prognostications about President Trump an endeavor marinating in conditions and caveats. Yet Trump’s actions speak louder and more favorably about the substance of his national security policy than his often contradictory and confrontational words on the subject. Several core premises suffuse Trump’s principle realism.

First, Trump views international relations as a largely zero-sum game mandating American vigilance and a preponderance of power. His principled realism rejects categorically the illusions of globalists, liberal multilateralists, and postmodernists that international institutions and post-modern norms render the ineradicable danger of war obsolete. Trump has acknowledged—less often in word than in deed—that no adequate substitutes for American power loom plausibly on the horizon, while demanding that our allies bear a greater share of the burden for providing for their defense. In contrast to his predecessor, who saw “the arrogance of American power” as the problem, President Trump believes that the greatest dangers arise when our foes perceive us as irresolute and unprepared.

Second, Trump accords precedence to the threats emanating from great power rivals such as Russia and China rather than “unconventional threats” such has global warming or failed states. After briefly flirting with some version of Obama’s feckless reset toward Putin, the Trump Administration has bolstered deterrence against Russian imperialism, reaffirming the importance of NATO, rebuilding the American military, increasing American presence in Eastern Europe, resisting rather than enabling Russia’s subversion of Ukraine’s independence, arming Ukrainian freedom fighters, and accelerating the development and deployment of missile defense, including in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, Trump’s calculated oscillations between reaffirming the importance of NATO while pressuring our derelict allies to do more has finally spurred some of them—most importantly Germany—to enact a sorely needed, long overdue increase in defense spending and military presence in Eastern Europe.

Likewise, the Trump Administration has backed our Asian democratic allies unstintingly in the escalating confrontation over North Korea’s nuclear program, reversing the dangerous erosion in American military capability, strategic clarity, and resolve emblematic of Obama’s vaunted but hollow pivot to Asia. After initially flirting with an increasingly authoritarian, aggressive, and belligerent China bent on hegemony in the world’s most important geopolitical region, Trump quickly disabused himself of his predecessor’s illusion that either the PRC or Russia would collaborate with us to diffuse the gathering North Korean danger. Trump has wisely relied primarily on our democratic allies in the region, as well as cultivating new ones his predecessor neglected. Above all perhaps in the long run, the President has revived President George W. Bush’s prescient initiative to facilitate a decent democratic India’s rise as a counterweight to China and radical Islam both also existentially threatening Indian democracy.

In the Middle East and South Asia, President Trump has made substantial though tentative progress repairing the damage that the Obama Doctrine had wrought by putting distance between the United States and its traditional friends, while appeasing and enabling a virulently anti-American anti-Semitic Iranian theocracy that is using the Prozac of an unenforceable nuclear agreement to cross the nuclear threshold. Trump’s better conceived and more decisively executed diplomatic, economic, and military strategy has broken the stalemate that ensued during the Obama Administration’s diffident fight against ISIS. Trump has succeeded in laying the framework for a tacit coalition between Israel and Saudi Arabia—both of which Obama deeply antagonized—to contain and confront Iran’s hegemonic ambitions.

Third, Trump’s principled realism repudiates the Obama Administration’s time certain approach to the employment of military force, which made withdrawal the priority over consolidating victory in favor of “one based on conditions.” Unveiling his new strategy for winning the war in Afghanistan, the President emphasized “how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce the dates we intend to begin or end military options. … Conditions on the ground—not arbitrary time tables—will guide our strategies from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out.”

Fourth, Trump’s principled realism downplays principle applied to excess, at least rhetorically. American ideals often serve, rather than undermine, America’s self-interest. Historically, the most successful U.S. grand strategies such as Truman’s and Reagan’s largely succeeded by reconciling power and principle. Notwithstanding Trump’s unhealthy attraction to strong men such as Putin in Russia, Li Ping in China, and Erdogan in Turkey that initially led him astray, Trump’s policy on this score is better than it sounds. Generally, he has given precedence to bolstering our decent democratic allies: Japan, South Korea, India, the Eastern European Members of NATO, and Great Britain. A decent democratic Israel now knows it has a friend rather than an enemy in the White House. Even moral democratic realists such as this writer defend on ethical as well as practical grounds a tacit alliance with Saudi Arabia against the greater danger of Iran as the lesser geopolitical and moral evil, in a region where an insufficient number of plausible democratic allies exist as an alternative.

Fifth, Trump’s transactional view of politics distinguishes his principled realism from the more venerable versions of conservative internationalism such as Reagan’s. Unharnessed to principle, the art of the deal can dangerously descend into unsteadiness, unpredictability, and expedience inimical to vindicating the national interest, rightly understood. It remains troubling, however, that Trump continues to eschew imposing American values as a categorical imperative. The United States still has a vital interest in sustaining and extending the democratic zone of peace when possible and prudent.

Sixth, Trump’s economic nationalism, if carried to excess and grounded in his excessively zero-sum game view of politics, may undermine principle and realism. Though Trump has legitimately insisted on fair trade, free trade serves America’s enlightened self-interest most of the time, especially with decent democratic regimes.

Seventh, Trump’s principled realism strives to restore a more traditional notion of sovereignty as the cornerstone of international politics. States that cannot control their borders cannot responsibly govern or defend themselves. Here too, Trump’s salutary corrective to Obama’s denigration of sovereignty will become dangerous taken as a categorical imperative rather than a strong presumption.

For all these legitimate caveats and qualifications, the rationale and results of Trump’s Principled Realism have served as a salutary corrective to Obama’s dangerous doctrine. Whether Trump’s foreign policy proves ultimately to be principled and realistic hinges on whether he can harness his self-destructive impulsiveness, leaven his power politics with more principle, restore American prosperity, and realize that decent democratic allies constitute more of an asset than a burden—especially to thwart China’s bid for hegemony in the world’s most important geopolitical regions. As Secretary of Defense Mattis observed in April 2016, President Trump “inherited a strategic mess.” President Trump cannot solve all of America’s problems in a single day—a self-evident truth he often honors in the breach, creating grandiose expectations impossible to fulfill.

Even so, Trump’s principled realism deserves—provisionally at least—more credit than his legion of rabid critics admits. We are less unsafe and deterrence less precarious than it was six months ago because Trump has infused American grand strategy with strategic and moral clarity sorely lacking over the previous eight years. To paraphrase the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want, but perhaps it may turn out to be what we need.” Trump’s principled realism sure beats hands-down four more years of Obama’s Dangerous Doctrine that Hillary Clinton had in store for us.

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School of Public Policy
Dr. Robert Kaufman on "St. Thomas Aquinas, Preemption, and the Just War Tradition" | Providence https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/09/dr-robert-kaufman-st-thomas-aquinas-preemption-and-just-war-tradition/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/09/dr-robert-kaufman-st-thomas-aquinas-preemption-and-just-war-tradition "When martial force becomes necessary, the just war tradition has contributed nobly to mitigating the tragedy of war by instilling a disposition to avoid moral evil and to pursue instead the greatest possible good." Wed, 27 Sep 2017 09:45:00 PDT Just Prudence: Defending Aquinas on Preemption, Prevention, & Decisiveness in War

Robert Kaufman | September 27, 2017 | Providence

 

This article about St. Thomas Aquinas, preemption, and the just war tradition first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Providence‘s print edition. To read the original in a PDF format, click here

When martial force becomes necessary, the just war tradition has contributed nobly to mitigating the tragedy of war by instilling a disposition to avoid moral evil and to pursue instead the greatest possible good. As is well known, statesmen must satisfy two sets of requirements for a war to qualify as just: the jus ad bellum—when it is just to fight; and the jus in bello—how to fight justly. Beginning with Immanuel Kant, some just war thinkers have formalized a third requirement which Aquinas’s notion of tranquillitas ordinis (the tranquility of order) always implied: the jus post bellum—the justice of the post-war peace agreement, encompassing not only the details of the peace, but its enforcement and the broader context affecting its efficacy.[1]

The just war tradition rightly requires a moral as well as geopolitical rationale for using military force, which statesmen ignore at their peril. The American people will not support long and costly wars unless they meet the dual requirements of being right as well as being in our self-interest. Yet modern religious and secular just war theories imperil rather than facilitate the achievement of provisional justice by making the use of force categorically a last resort.[2] The United Nations Charter contains an even stronger presumption against war than even the most restrictive versions of these modern theories, prohibiting the use of force with two exceptions: the rare-as-a-solar-eclipse event when the UN Security Council overcomes its organic gridlock to sanction collective action; or else individual or collective self-defense against attack, as permitted by Article 51.[3]

This essay offers a robust dissent to these well-intended but unwise modern trends unduly to restrict the use of force. Ruling out anticipatory defense in various modes confounds morality and practicality, entailing a cure worse than the disease. Instead, prudence as St. Thomas Aquinas envisaged it—the cardinal virtue of right reason about right things to be done—ought to determine whether or not to use force sooner rather than later in accordance with the other criteria for jus ad bellum Aquinas stipulates: rightful authority, just cause, and right intention.[4] Aquinas maintains a wise silence on the question of precisely whether or when force should be used sooner rather than later.[5] So should we.

Nor, as James Turner Johnson observes in his splendid analysis of the subject, does Aquinas elevate the requirements of proportionality in waging war to a near categorical imperative.[6] On the contrary, the preeminence that Aquinas accords prudence as a moral virtue ought to inform the relationship between the requirements of jus ad bellum and jus in bello, with decisiveness taking priority over proportionality when the two come in conflict. Aquinas’s formulation of just war theory grounded in the cardinal virtue of prudence should loom large in any calculation of when, how, for what purposes, and to what effect the United States should wage war.

I

Whether the United States resorts to force sooner rather than later should be a prudential judgment, not a categorical one. Statesmen should weigh the interplay of the gravity of the danger, the probability of its realization, the availability of plausible alternative means, and the prospects for success. Although the burden of proof should be greater for resorting to force preventively (forestalling more distant threats) rather than preemptively (forestalling an imminent grave threat), and while the burden of proof should be greater for resorting to force preemptively rather than responding to attack, prudential statesmen ought to have prevention and preemption in their repertoire of options.

Experience is a stern teacher. We know from history that sometimes using force sooner can save much blood, toil, tears, and sweat later. No statesman speaks more authoritatively about that than Winston Churchill:

Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.[7]

We know that had the democracies heeded Churchill’s warnings and stopped Hitler at various watersheds during the 1930s, particularly when Nazi Germany invaded the Rhineland on March 7, 1936, in violation of two international agreements, the worst war in history might have been averted. Hitler admitted as much, calling the first 48 hours of the Rhineland crisis the most nervous of his life, because French resistance would have caused his regime to collapse.[8] Of course, we also know, given the nature of the academy, that had the democracies stopped Hitler sooner rather than later, generations of ungrateful professors would still be writing tomes complaining about preventive war and exonerating Hitler as a legitimate folk nationalist.

Nazi Germany hardly stands as a unique case when the actual, pre-emptive, or preventive use of force averted vastly greater moral and geopolitical evil. In July 1940, with Nazi Germany triumphant in Europe, the Soviet Union neutrally pro-Nazi, the United States still isolationist, and Great Britain clinging precariously to freedom, Winston Churchill ordered a preventive strike against the Vichy French fleet harbored in Oran, killing nearly 1,300 Frenchmen. He did this despite Vichy’s nominal independence, which the United States recognized, and despite possessing no hard evidence that Vichy’s Minister of War, Admiral Jean François Darlan, intended to turn the French fleet over to Hitler. Darlan insisted until his dying day that he had no such intention. Yet Churchill was right not to risk jeopardizing Great Britain’s maritime supremacy—especially given Hitler’s serial mendacity, his malevolence, and the dire consequences of erring on the side of optimism at a point of maximum peril.[9]

During the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, the Kennedy Administration may have launched a preventive attack against Soviet missiles deployed in Cuba despite no proof of an imminent threat of war had the Soviet Union not conceded under pressure to remove them. President Kennedy was right to consider the option. The United States could not risk allowing the Soviet Union to transform the balance of power to the detriment of our vital moral and geopolitical interests.[10]

In an issue featuring commentary on the Six Day War, it’s appropriate to mention Israel in this context. But we can look beyond the legitimately preemptive attack of 1967 to another case, June 1981, when Israel launched Operation Opera, a preventive strike against Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak. It was an attack which the United Nations unanimously condemned. Yet Israel was right. Otherwise, Saddam Hussein would likely have possessed a nuclear capability when he invaded Kuwait in 1990, by the reckoning of UN inspectors, which may have deterred the United States from responding decisively or, at least, would have exponentially raised the cost and risk of doing so.[11]

Sticking to the region, the world should, again, thank rather than scorn Israel for launching a silent strike in September 2007 on a Syrian nuclear reactor at al-Kibar. Though Syria never admitted to even having a reactor, let alone one with a military purpose, in the face of credible intelligence to the contrary, Israel was right not to tolerate a genuine, if not demonstratively imminent, threat that the rogue Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad would cross the nuclear weapons threshold. Imagine how much worse the already horrible sectarian war raging in Syria would be if Assad possessed nuclear weapons. The tyrant’s lack of compunction using chemical weapons on his own people does not inspire confidence that Israel’s forbearance would have induced reciprocal restraint.[12]

For all our mistakes in execution, the tragedy and injustice of the Iraq War of 2003 is not found in President Bush’s decision to fight it, but in President Obama’s premature withdrawal, which snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Saddam’s bellicosity, propensity to take enormous risks, deception, the vigor of his pre-1990 WMD program, the brutality of his regime, the lack of any plausible alternatives for his removal, and his serial defiance of 17 UN resolutions more than justified President Bush’s decision to forcibly remove him. Although, we plausibly overestimated the progress of Saddam’s WMD program, as Churchill momentarily overestimated the state of German rearmament as of March 7, 1936. But even the Iraqi Survey Group’s 2004 Duelfer Report, much used by many to “prove” the Bush Administration was wrong about Iraqi WMDs, cited in the first lines of its Key Findings summary that Saddam actively sought to reconstitute his WMD capability eventually.[13] But additionally, and crucially, the strategy of containing and deterring Saddam also had passed the point of diminishing moral and strategic return. Sanctions punished millions of innocent Iraqis without addressing the root cause of their misery and the source of danger—i.e., Saddam’s odious regime. We succeeded provisionally in establishing an Iraqi regime more decent to its people and safer for its neighbors before all unraveled when President Obama used the alleged rather than real Iraqi refusal to negotiate a status of forces agreement as an excuse for leaving Iraq in the lurch.

Nor should the United States rule out categorically—on just war grounds infused with prudence—a preventive or preemptive attack against either North Korea’s or Iran’s nuclear programs. Both qualify as rogue regimes where conventional strategies of deterrence or containment may not prudently suffice under certain circumstances. The nuclear deal President Obama improvidently signed with Iran will aid and abet Iran crossing the nuclear threshold, even in the unlikely event the Iranians abide by it. The nuclear deal with Iran is also unverifiable—depending on Iran to provide access at its discretion to nuclear facilities—and unenforceable—depending on the UN Security Council to snap back sanctions in the event of Iranian non-compliance, which Russia and China would certainly veto. A nuclear, militant, and virulently anti-American Iran would trigger an unbridled arms race in the world’s most volatile political region. In all likelihood, this Iranian regime will use the deal to wage war by other means, gulling the West into a false sense of security while steadily achieving a nuclear breakout capability.[14] So the United States must keep on the table the option of a preemptive or preventive strike, should it become the best of bad options. Thomas Aquinas’s sparer but wiser tradition of just war theory infused with prudence would permit that. Many modern just war theories or the UN Charter imprudently do not.

II

A prudent statesman striving to be just must also weigh carefully Aquinas’s third ad bellum criteria for a just war—that the war be waged with right intention for a rightly ordered peace, or what Kant would classify as jus post bellum.[15] Our greatest military historians, such as Victor Davis Hanson and Geoffrey Blainey, have demonstrated that the most just and durable peace settlements usually occur when wars have decisive outcomes, eradicating the root cause of aggression, entailing regime change of a vanquished foe.[16] This insight runs counter to modern just war thinking and international positive law, treating restraint and discrimination in the employment of force as co-equal or paramount virtues to decisiveness. Especially against implacable adversaries, it is better to err on the side of decisiveness rather than settle for an ambiguous outcome.

One of the major causes of World War II was the failure of the Treaty of Versailles to address the root cause of World War I. By October 1918, German generals knew they were beaten and forced the Kaiser to abdicate, expecting that a democratic German government would obtain more lenient peace terms. It did not appear to the German people, however, that defeat was inevitable or imminent as the German army retreated in good order with German territory unscathed. When the German people reacted with outrage to the Treaty of Versailles—a treaty less harsh than what the Germans had in mind if they had won the war—the German generals did not admit Germany’s defeat or the responsibility of the Kaiser’s militaristic autocratic regime for the war. Instead, they mendaciously blamed the Weimar Democratic regime for “stabbing Germany in the back.”[17] Woodrow Wilson’s insistence on accepting an armistice to minimize casualties rather than press for unconditional surrender—as Theodore Roosevelt and his own commanding general, John “Black Jack” Pershing, advised—had moral and practical consequences despite Wilson’s good intentions. The Allies’ unwillingness to enforce the Treaty of Versailles compounded the mistake of letting the Kaiser’s regime off the hook in the first place. Hitler’s diabolical exploitation of the stab-in-the-back myth facilitated his rise to power.[18]

President Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill did not make the same mistake of letting understandable concerns for in bello proportionality trump their goal of decisiveness as a precondition for a rightly ordered peace. They would settle for nothing less than unconditional surrender and the total defeat of the Nazi regime in a manner so devastating that the German people could not deny it—perhaps a justification, or at least mitigating feature, of the allied strategic bombing campaign that technically lacked the capacity to distinguish civilians from combatants on the American side or to treat both categories as one and the same on the British side. Roosevelt’s and Churchill’s successors not only insisted on democratic regime change in Germany, but left sizable forces indefinitely without any premature exit to enforce it, creating and sustaining the conditions for Aquinas’s rightly ordered peace.[19] Judged against the magnitude of the Nazi evil, the existential threat facing Western Civilization, the unavailability of effective alternatives to strategic bombing, and the essential decency of the Anglo-American allies, it is reasonable to declare justified even such an undeniably awful military action.

One of the major causes of the Iraq War of 2003 was the ambiguous outcome of the Gulf War of 1990-1991. We meant well, but we did no good in letting well-intentioned concerns for proportionality—best exemplified perhaps by prematurely stopping the bombing of the retreating, or repositioning, elite units of Saddam’s Republican Guard on the so-called highway of death—ultimately allowing Saddam to survive and continue to oppress and menace for more than another decade longer. Conversely, a decisive outcome and democratic regime change would have improved exponentially the chances for a rightly ordered peace settling the root cause of aggression.

Granted, to paraphrase the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, the United States cannot always get what it wants. Sometimes, the weight of prudence dictates settling for less-than-total or immediate victory. During the Cold War, for example, nuclear weapons precluded the United States from defeating the Soviet Union directly by traditional military means. The Korean War of 1950-1953 is a prime example of a just war when fighting for less-than-total victory was a more prudential alternative than either capitulation or an all-out war. When, however, the United States does have to fight, it should be with the strong presumption of striving for total victory in order to achieve a rightly ordered peace. This accords not only with St. Thomas’s just war thinking, but the traditional formulation of the doctrine of double effect that Catholic casuists devised in the Middle Ages, conceptualizing the proper relationship between the requirements of jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Michael Walzer summarizes the four conditions of the doctrine.

  1. The act is good in itself or at least indifferent, which means for our purposes that it is a legitimate act of war.
  2. The direct effect is morally acceptable—the destruction of military supplies, for example, or the killing of enemy soldiers.
  3. The intention of the actor is good.
  4. The good effect is sufficiently good to compensate for evil effect.[20]

In a triumph of good intentions over good judgment, however, Walzer imprudently imposes additional restraints on the jus in bello detrimental to achieving a decisive outcome essential for a rightly ordered peace. He recommends, for example, modifying the doctrine of secondary effect to oblige even the just side to expose their soldiers to greater risk to minimize even unintended but foreseeable enemy civilian casualties.[21] This is untenable as a categorical imperative.

Normally, the beneficial effect of fighting to achieve total victory warrants prolonging the fighting, despite the increase in casualties that may alas include large numbers of traditional non-combatants. I defend, for example, the morality and practicality of the American strategic bombing campaign against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan from start to finish, even though technology often precluded distinguishing between civilians and combatants, no matter what American bomber command argued to the contrary. As Richard Overy demonstrates authoritatively, strategic bombing shortened the war, saving hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of lives—allied soldiers, German and Japanese soldiers thrust into battle as suicide warriors, concentration camp victims liberated from extermination.[22] By my reckoning, such geopolitical and moral triage trumps in bello requirements of proportionality. A similar calculus justifies President Truman’s decision to drop two atomic bombs on Japan—an action which the preponderance of evidence suggests saved millions of lives, given the fanaticism and implacability of the Imperial Japanese regime committed to fighting to the finish despite their defeat being certain.[23] Decent statesmen should always deliberate rigorously whether less severe means could achieve the same result. Tragically, a prudent statesman sometimes must conclude no alternative plausible option exists to avert great moral and geopolitical evil.

The First Battle of Falluja between the U.S. and Islamist insurgents fought in April 2004 and Israel’s 2008-2009 War with Hamas in Gaza illustrate the moral and geopolitical risks of honoring in belloproportionality as a near-categorical imperative even against implacable foes who embed themselves among civilian non-combatants as a deliberate strategy to take advantage of our self-imposed in bello limits. In both cases, well-intended but imprudent restraint swelled the costs for all concerned in the long run, because the cancer of aggression recurred by stopping the fighting too soon, while decisiveness may have eradicated it once and for all.

Walzer defends a much narrower utilitarian ethic than I deem prudent, overriding jus in bello only provisionally as a near-one-time exception arising from “a supreme emergency”: the overwhelming imperative of preventing a uniquely-evil Nazi regime’s victory and overrunning of Western Civilization.[24]

Finally, my defense of a more traditional version of just war theory infused with prudence raises the legitimate question of whether this standard adequately constrains the temptations for the United States to define its own interests too selfishly and, in defending these interests, to abuse the prerogatives of prevention and preemption that I’ve justified. Are not slavery, our treatment of Native Americans, and our internment of Americans of Japanese descent during WWII sobering reminders that we Americans often fall far short of our ideals? My answer rests on probabilities rather than certainties—the firmest if imperfect basis that this subject matter admits. For all our shortcomings, life is, in the words of Thomas Hobbes, much more “nasty, solitary, brutish, and short” when the United States retrenches and retreats. The greatest dangers to American ideals and self-interest arise not when the United States is too strong but rather too weak and irresolute in confronting the devils that lurk around the corner in international relations, even in the best of times. Also, because democratic statesmen act on behalf not of themselves but of their citizens, they already face the salutary checks and balances of having to discharge a greater burden of proof to use force in the first place. As David Hackett Fischer observes, our founders and the leaders of the American Revolution never believed winning was enough. “One of their greatest achievements,” writes Fischer, was to wage the war “in a manner that was true to the expanding humanitarian ideals of the American Revolution.” That holds largely true of America’s major wars ever since. American statesmen have honored the principle—usually not in the breach—that the United States must fight and win wars in a way consistent with the values of the Declaration of Independence, the American Founding, and the principles of its cause.[25]

The just war tradition, as Aquinas conceived it rather than as more restrictive modern versions do, strikes the best prudential balance reconciling the desirable with the possible, consistent with Judeo-Christian ethics rightly understood. Aquinas knows more than his modern emendators do about grounding his just war deliberations—and much else—in the cardinal moral virtue of prudence.

Robert G. Kaufman is the Dockson Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. His most recent book is Dangerous Doctrine: How Obama’s Grand Strategy Weakened America. This essay was written as part of Pepperdine’s “The American Project: On the Future of Conservatism,” a two-year program to propel innovative ideas for reimagining the future of America’s conservative movement.

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[1] The literature on just war theory is vast. The works of Michael Walzer and James Turner Johnson rank high in the pantheon of writing on the subject. See, for example, Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations, fifth ed. (New York: Basic Books, 2015); James Turner Johnson, Just War Tradition and the Restraint of War: A Moral and Historical Inquiry (Princeton; Princeton University Press, 2014). For more recent worthy studies, among others, see Alex J. Bellamy, Just Wars from Cicero to Iraq (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2006); and James Dubik, Just War Reconsidered: Strategy, Ethics, and Theory (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016).

[2] This includes not only the Catholic bishop’s presumption against war and the secular Weinberger guidelines, but also the otherwise exemplary Jean Bethke Elshtain. National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1983 and 1993), “A Presumption Against War” in Gregory M. Reichberg, Henry Syse, Endre Begby, ed., The Ethics of War (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006), 669-82; Caspar Weinberger, “On the Use of Military Power,” Pentagon News Release, October 28, 1984; Jean Bethke Elshtain, Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World (New York: Basic Books, 2003), 46-58.

[3] Charter of the United Nations, http://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/.

[4] St. Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Prudence, Questions 47-52, Second Part of the Second Part, Summa Theologica, http://www3.nd.edu/~affredos/courses/453/prudence/htm. For an excellent explication of Prudence as Aquinas conceived it—the wellspring of the cardinal virtues—see Josef Pieper, The Four Cardinal Virtues (South Bend: Notre Dame Press, 1966), 41-72.

[5] Aquinas, Of War, II-II.Q40, Summa Theologica

[6] James Turner Johnson, “Just War, as It Was and Is,” First Things (Number 149, January 2005), 14-24.

[7] Winston S. Churchill, The Gathering Storm (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948), 348.

[8] Quoted in Andreas Hillgruber, Germany and the Two Wars, trans. William C. Kirby (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981), 57.

[9] Winston S. Churchill, Their Finest Hour (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949), 224-41.

[10] Donald Kagan, On the Origins of War and the Preservation of the Peace (New York: Doubleday, 1995), 437-573.

[11] Robert G. Kaufman, In Defense of the Bush Doctrine (Lexington and London: University Press of Kentucky, 2007), 92.

[12] David Makovsky, “The Silent Strike: How Israel Bombed a Syrian nuclear installation and kept it secret,” New Yorker, September 17, 2012, newyorker.com.

[13] Robert G. Kaufman, Dangerous Doctrine: How Obama’s Grand Strategy Weakened America(Lexington and London: University Press of Kentucky, 2016), 106-11.

[14] Ibid., 203-209.

[15] George Weigel has made this general argument with his customary insight and eloquence. George Weigel, Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 25-45, 139-47, 342-48.

[16] Victor Davis Hanson, The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day: How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyanny (1999; rept., New York: Anchor Books, 2001); and Geoffrey Blainey, The Causes of War, Third ed. (New York: Free Press, 1988), 3.

[17] See, for example, Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History (Hill and Wang, 2001), 1-145.

[18] Robert G. Kaufman, A Tale of Bad to Worse: Progressivism and American Foreign Policy from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama, Heritage Foundation, First Principles Series (forthcoming).

[19] Michael Beschloss, The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman, and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1941-1945 (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002), 13-19.

[20] Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, 153.

[21] Ibid., 153-57.

[22] Richard Overy, Why the Allies Won (New York: Norton, 1996), 101-133; Richard Overy, The Bombing and the Bombed (London and New York: Penguin, 2014), 171-230, 428-37.

[23] Ronald Spector, Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan (New York: Vintage, 1985), 532-66.

[24] Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars, 138-59.

[25] David Hackett Fischer, Washington’s Crossing (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 375-76.

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School of Public Policy
Davenport Discussion to Feature Faculty Research on Improving Retirement Planning for an Aging Hispanic Community https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/09/davenport-discussion-feature-faculty-research-improving-retirement-planning/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/09/davenport-discussion-feature-faculty-research-improving-retirement-planning Blanco will be sharing how her team has sought to improve retirement savings among low- and middle-income, Spanish-speaking Hispanics through a community-based randomized controlled trial. Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:30:00 PDT sample

Dr. Luisa Blanco, associate professor of public policy, will lead the School of Public Policy Davenport Discussion roundtable seminar in SPP Rm 179 on the Drescher Graduate Campus on Tuesda, October 3, at noon. Blanco will be sharing how her team has sought to improve retirement savings among low- and middle-income Spanish-speaking Hispanics. Drawing on the tenets of behavioral economics, her team designed and piloted an educational intervention to promote financial planning for retirement through opening a retirement account. Through a randomized controlled trial, they are studying the effect of the intervention on the primary outcome of opening a government-sponsored retirement plan, my Retirement Account (myRA), as well as secondary outcomes of mental and physical health. 

Each semester at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy, the Davenport Institute hosts a series of lunchtime Davenport Discussions with practitioners, journalists, innovators, and researchers who speak to students on a wide range of issues from state and local finance to the use of technology in government to the outlook for cities in a state budget crisis and much more. These interactive sessions give students an opportunity not only to hear from experts in the field but to ask questions and make personal connections as well. For more information contact Sarah Axen.

Lunch will be served.

All Davenport Discussion sessions are eligible for one (1) Professional Development credit for School of Public Policy students.

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School of Public Policy to Host 20th Anniversary Dinner Celebration https://www.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/09/school-public-policy-host-20th-anniversary-dinner-celebration/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/university/2017/09/school-public-policy-host-20th-anniversary-dinner-celebration The Honorable Benjamin E. Sasse, US senator representing Nebraska, will speak at the event. Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:15:00 PDT In honor of two decades of academic excellence, the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy will host a 20th anniversary dinner celebration at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Saturday, November 4, at 6 PM. The Honorable Benjamin E. Sasse, United States senator representing Nebraska, will serve as the featured guest speaker. Senator Sasse will explore strategies to create “a way forward”—for the University, local and national governments, and the country.

Throughout his public service career, Senator Sasse has been a role model for School of Public Policy students and alumni alike. In only his first term as junior senator, he has earned respect from both sides of the aisle as a measured voice of reason.

Senator Sasse has also brought those values to the world of higher education, first as a professor at the Center for Politics and Governance at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and later as the president of Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska. While one of the youngest chief executives in American higher education, Senator Sasse guided the struggling institution back from the brink of bankruptcy and more than doubled its enrollment before announcing his senate bid.

Since 1997 the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy has offered students the opportunity to “see public policy differently”—specifically to inspire and influence positive changes designed to improve the lives of everyday Americans. As the University’s youngest school turns 20, this dinner celebration will engage audiences to look toward fortifying the bridge between the public and public policy.

Tickets are required for attendance and may be reserved through gifts and sponsorships. For additional information about the 20th anniversary dinner celebration, and to reserve tickets, visit the School of Public Policy website.

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Dr. Robert Kaufman on President Trump's Foreign Policy | Polizette https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/09/dr-robert-kaufman-president-trumps-foreign-policy-polizette/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/09/dr-robert-kaufman-president-trumps-foreign-policy-polizette "The content and trajectory of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy have defied the expectations of many of his supporters as well as his critics across the political spectrum." Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:15:00 PDT

Trump’s ‘Principled Realism’ a Welcome Departure from Obama’s ‘Dangerous Doctrine’

New approach to American foreign policy prioritizes results, security over phantom ideals

Robert Kaumfan | September 21, 2017 | Polizette

 

The content and trajectory of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy have defied the expectations of many of his supporters as well as his critics across the political spectrum. The president has moved a long way from his campaign positions of denigrating the value of America’s democratic alliances and renouncing America’s role as the world’s default power.

Trump’s core national security team — Secretary of Defense James Mattis, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster — consider America’s military, political and economic power indispensable to deterring and defeating global threats menacing to America’s enlightened self-interest.

What Trump calls “principled realism rooted in shared values” has not crystallized into a doctrine. Moreover, the president’s volatility and unpredictability — partially cultivated but also intrinsic — make any prognostication’s about President Trump an endeavor marinating in conditions and caveats. Yet Trump’s actions speak louder and more favorably about the substance of his national security policy than his often contradictory and confrontational words on the subject. Several core premises suffuse Trump’s principled realism.

First, Trump views international relations as a largely zero-sum game mandating American vigilance and a preponderance of power. His principled realism rejects categorically the illusions of globalists, liberal multilateralists, and post-modernists that international institutions and post-modern norms render the ineradicable danger of war obsolete. Trump has acknowledged  — less often in word than in deed — that no adequate substitutes for American power loom plausibly the horizon, while demanding that our allies bear a greater share of the burden in providing for their defense.

In contrast to his predecessor, who saw "the arrogance of American power" as the problem, President Trump believes that the greatest dangers arise when our foes perceive us as irresolute and unprepared. He touts his program to rebuild the American military — the greatest single measure that the U.S. can take to restore the robustness of deterrence in vital geopolitical regions, which Obama's assault on the moral and material basis of American power imperiled.

Second, Trump accords precedence to the threats emanating from great power rivals such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea rather than "unconventional threats" such as global warming or failed states. After briefly flirting with some version of Obama's feckless reset toward Putin, the Trump administration has bolstered deterrence against Russian imperialism, reaffirming the importance of NATO, increasing the American presence in Eastern Europe, resisting rather than enabling Russia's subversion of Ukraine's independence, arming Ukrainian freedom fighters, and accelerating the development and deployment of missile defense.

Meanwhile, Trump's calculated oscillations between reaffirming the importance of NATO and pressuring our derelict allies to do more has finally spurred some of them — most importantly Germany — to enact a sorely needed, long-overdue increase in defense spending and military presence in Eastern Europe. German defense spending has reached 2 percent of the GDP, its theoretical minimal target contribution, for the first time in years.

Likewise, the Trump Administration has backed our Asian democratic allies unstintingly in the escalating confrontation over North Korea's nuclear program, reversing the dangerous erosion in American military capability, strategic clarity, and resolve emblematic of Obama's vaunted but hollow pivot to Asia.

After initially flirting with an increasingly authoritarian, aggressive, and belligerent China bent on hegemony in the world's most important geopolitical region, Trump quickly disabused himself of the illusion of his predecessor that either the PRC or Russia would collaborate with us to diffuse the gathering North Korean danger. Trump has wisely relied primarily on our democratic allies in the region as well as cultivating new ones his predecessor neglected. Above all perhaps in the long run, the president has revived President George W. Bush's prescient initiative to facilitate a decent democratic India's rise as a counterweight to China and radical Islam —  a force that is also existentially threatening to Indian democracy.

In the Middle East and South Asia, President Trump has made substantial though tentative progress repairing the damage that the Obama Doctrine had wrought, putting distance between the United States and his traditional friends while appeasing and enabling a virulently anti-American, anti-Semitic Iranian theocracy using the Prozac of an unenforceable nuclear agreement to cross the nuclear threshold. His more vigorous and more wisely conceived diplomatic, economic, and military strategy has broken the stalemate that ensued during the Obama administration's fight against ISIS. Trump has also succeeded in laying the framework for a tacit coalition between Israel and Saudi Arabia — both of which Obama deeply antagonized — to contain and confront Iran's hegemonic ambitions.

Third, Trump's principled realism repudiates the Obama administration's time-based approach to the employment of military force, making withdrawal the priority over consolidating victory in favor of "one based on conditions. " Unveiling his new strategy for winning the war in Afghanistan, the president emphasized "how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce the dates we intend to begin or end military options. … Conditions on the ground — not arbitrary timetables — will guide our strategies from now on. America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out."

Fourth, Trump's principled realism downplays principle to excess, especially his often repeated Obama-like categorical rejection of ever imposing American values. This is politically untenable and strategically unwise. The most successful U.S. grand strategies, such as Truman's and Reagan's, largely succeeded by reconciling ideals and self-interests. Notwithstanding Trump's unhealthy attraction to strongmen such as Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping in China, and Erdoğan in Turkey that initially led him astray, Trump's policy on this score is better than it sounds.

Generally, he has given precedence to bolstering our decent democratic allies: Japan, South Korea, India, the Eastern European members of NATO, and Great Britain. A decent democratic Israel now knows it has friend rather than an enemy in the White House. Even moral democratic realists such as this writer defend on ethical as well as practical grounds a tacit alliance with Saudi Arabia against the greater danger of Iran as the lesser geopolitical and moral evil, where an insufficient number of plausible democratic allies exist as an alternative.

It remains troubling, however, that Trump eschews American values despite his actions contradicting his rhetoric most of the time.

Fifth, Trump's transactional view of politics distinguishes his principled realism from the more venerable versions of conservative internationalism, such as Reagan's. Unharnessed to principle, the art of the deal can dangerously descend into unsteadiness, unpredictability, and expedience inimical to vindicating the national interest, rightly understood.

Sixth, Trump's economic nationalism carried to excess, grounded in his excessively zero-sum game view of politics, may undermine principle and realism. Though Trump has legitimately insisted on fair trade, free trade as well as the spread of freedom serve America's enlightened self-interest most of the time.

Seventh, Trump's principled realism strives to restore a more traditional notion of sovereignty as the cornerstone of international politics. States that cannot control their borders cannot responsibly govern or defend themselves. Here, too, Trump's presumption can become dangerous if taken to the excess of a categorical imperative.

For all the legitimate caveats and qualifications, the rationale and results of Trump's "principled realism" have served as a salutary corrective to Obama's dangerous doctrine. Whether Trump's foreign policy proves ultimately to be principled and realistic hinges on whether he can harness his self-destructive impulsiveness, leaven his power politics with more principle, restore American prosperity and realize that decent democratic allies constitute more of an asset than a burden — especially to thwart China's bid for hegemony in the world's most important geopolitical regions.

Trump will also find it more difficult than he imagined always to eschew regime change as a method of consolidating a rightly ordered peace when the United States goes to war. Although Trump may denounce nation-building publicly and claim "we will not dictate ... how people govern their complex society," Nadia Schadlow, deputy assistant to the president and the Trump staffer responsible for writing Trump's national security statement, knows better than to eschew democratic regime change as a categorical imperative. Her superb book "War and the Art of Governance" details why translating victory on the battlefield into desirable political outcomes sometimes calls for the post-war establishment and maintenance of decent democratic regimes when possible and prudent to address the root cause of the conflict. Our failure to heed that lesson after World War I contributed mightily to World War II.

Our determination to establish stable liberal democracies after World War II contributed mightily to achieving a durable rightly ordered peace between the United States and its vanquished foes. Stable liberal democracies are more reliable partners for the United States. It is therefore in America's enlightened self-interest to sustain and extend the zone of democratic peace in vital geopolitical regions against hegemonic threats rooted in the character as well as the capability of menacing regimes.

As Secretary of Defense Mattis observed in April 2016, President Trump "inherited a strategic mess." President Trump cannot solve all of America's problems in a single day — a self-evident truth he often honors by creating grandiose expectations impossible to fulfill. Even so, Trump's principled realism deserves — provisionally, at least — more credit than his legion of rabid critics admit. We are less unsafe and deterrence less precarious than it was six months ago because Trump has infused American grand strategy with the strategic and moral clarity sorely lacking over the previous eight years.

In the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, "You can't always get what you want, but ... sometimes you find you get what you need." For all the legitimate reservations and caveats, Trump's principled realism in its current configuration trumps the four more years of Obama's "dangerous doctrine" that Hillary Clinton had in store for us.

 

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Dr. Ted McAllister: "Trump Has Opened Door to Rewriting History" | Real Clear History https://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/news/2017/09/dr-ted-mcallister-trump-has-opened-door-rewriting-history-real-clear-history/ https://newsroom.pepperdine.edu/publicpolicy/2017/09/dr-ted-mcallister-trump-has-opened-door-rewriting-history-real-clear-history McAllister states, "The past is always with us, but we rarely understand how or what kind of influence it has on our present." Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:45:00 PDT

Trump Has Opened Door to Rewriting History

 

 

Ted McAllister | September 21, 2017 | Real Clear History

 

The 2016 election forced on us a new past, a hidden past, a past for which we don’t have a good history.  The institutions most responsible for supplying us with historical accounts have failed, mostly because they wrote stories that justified their political commitments. But the past is not as dead as we assume and when we write the stories about our past that justify what we already believe, we eventually confront a deeper reality, forged by people, events, and circumstances largely invisible in our sanctioned histories.  When confronted with a serious challenge to our narrative, most of us double down on the history we know.

Consider some examples from the historical profession.  Taking American Conservatism seriously did not come easily to the profession, but the political rise of American conservatism required some rethinking of the past.  Over the last four decades historians have done serious, empirical, work on what they often call “the right” in America.  Studying subjects as varied as the social history of the Republican Party, the influence of evangelical Christians, the conservative intellectual movement, has led to professional success for many and a maturing body of historical literature.  The key institutions of the profession now regularly try to sort out this literature and assess how they are dealing with what to them is an alien part of our nation. 

One example is suggestive of the profession’s angst.  In its December 2011 issue, the Journal of American History published a series of essays examining “Conservatism:  A State of the Field.”  Similar symposia, published over the last three decades, contain a version of this staple of self-analysis, written by Kim Phillips-Fein:  “there is a tendency [by historians] to normalize the political world view of the Right, to treat even its most outlandish and radical ideas with patience.”   Wilfred McClay rightly noted, in his contribution to the symposium, that had this been said of liberals that they would justifiably be outraged. 

For the Left the otherness of Conservatives is the starting place of their analysis.

This was before the election of Donald Trump.  What happens to leftist historians of conservatism who thought that they knew this movement, could understand its dynamics, could anticipate its reactions, when, suddenly, frighteningly, they face a completely unexpected reality?  Look to Rick Perlstein’s mea culpa in the New York Times for a hint.  Perlstein, a very accomplished historian of recent American conservatism, claims that he has been wrong about his subject all these years.  Seduced by the normal-acting public faces of the movement, like Buckley and Reagan, he and others had allowed themselves to believe that these conservatives were within the circle of respectable people.  But now he knows he was wrong.  The beating heart of American conservatism is….wait for it….racism. 

The fortuitous appearance this year of Nancy MacLean’s book, Democracy in Chains, confirms that the darkest fears leftist historians have harbored about conservatism are in fact true.  The normalizing narratives by a generation of overly-generous historians can be safely forgotten.  A new history will trace what her subtitle announces:  “the deep history of the radical right’s stealth plan for America.”  In this case a mild mannered libertarian economist, James Buchanan, appears to be a respectable scholar, but he is really quite deplorable and part of a “stealth plan” to preserve white privilege.

Timing is everything, I’m told, and MacLean’s book offers the most comforting narrative for the left to explain the entirely unpredictable victory of Donald Trump.  This new history allows one to shed the complicating histories and the empirical work upon which they stand, and prepares one to name, target, and fight the enemy.  Because the new history reveals stealth plans, deep purposes completely at odds with someone’s public pronouncements, or even lifetime of scholarship, it simplifies in such a way as to remove all moral ambiguity as applied to conservatives.

This new history will not deeply influence the historians who specialize in the field for long, though it may cast a long shadow—as Howard Zinn did—on the left-wing illuminati.  But even academic historians, largely removed from the people that this narrative characterizes, must confront a social and political reality that introduces doubt, and this doubt will necessarily introduce complexity into their accounts.

If liberal and leftist academics who rely on these historical accounts struggle with a newly revealed past, an even bigger struggle faces the intellectual and political leadership of Republican Party and its myriad institutional supports.  Until 2016 they had operated with a cozy history that made it possible for these elites to believe that they spoke the language of the American people—the vast middle of America that affirms low taxes, free markets and globalization, and American exceptionalism. 

If the Tea Party was annoying, they had no place to go:  They would be incorporated safely into the system. Or so thought the Republican stalwarts. If the rise of Obama posed a threat to their influence, Republican leaders were unperturbed because they had only wait for a new Reagan to marshal the members of the coalition into a powerful voting block.  In the meantime, after decades of Republican power and institution building, the system still worked for most of them.  They could afford, as American workers could not, to wait and to anticipate.  After all, they were convinced that they held the keys to a new age of prosperity and American hegemony—it was only an election away.

Trump destroyed this history as Obama did not.  These Republicans have nothing to replace it.  They know little of the complex history of American conservatism because they have ossified it into an ideology appropriate to the Cold War.  Their ideology provides them with the simple security of believing that they had inherited the absolute or defining center of American politics, against all evidence.  Lost to them is the rich intellectual and cultural heritage of a deep conservatism.  Lost to them is the experiences of laboring Americans who have lost both jobs and once thriving communities.  Meanwhile, the cultural and moral angst of middle class Americans who live between a hostile culture/media elite and their religious and communal relationships are, these Republican leaders believe, ephemeral.  Economic prosperity will drive away all those fears born of social change.

The opportunity for a better history is now upon us. Because events have forced on us parts of the past that were invisible or poorly incorporated into our received history, we can see how we occupy a social and political reality that defies our causal explanations.  We look back now and discover that something “permanent” was a product of a specific time and we can reach further into our past to detect historical continuities that explain better the baffling events of our time. 

Our opportunity now is for a historical account that is more cosmopolitan and that supplies us with richer resources for us to take hold of today.

The past is always with us, but we rarely understand how or what kind of influence it has on our present.  Bad histories distort the past and leave us crippled as we seek to understand and analyze our own time.  But the collapse of our bad histories offers us an opportunity to reclaim the best currents of our past, to understand ourselves as a people with a partially known past, and to take some ownership of a morally conflicted inheritance.

 

Ted McAllister is the Edward L. Gaylord Chair of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, and consults on their "American Project: On the Future of Conservatism

 

 
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