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Post The US Role in World Leadership
Created by John Eipper on 09/02/14 3:23 AM

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The US Role in World Leadership (Richard Hancock, USA, 09/02/14 3:23 am)

I certainly agree with most of Vincent Littrell's post of August 26. The US is a Christian nation, and while I don't believe that we have a divine mandate to rule the world, we cannot afford to just sit idly by and allow chaos to overwhelm the planet.

Henry Kissinger has written a book, World Order, which will be published on Sept. 9 by Penguin Press. He has an essay in the Aug. 29 Wall Street Journal which is culled from this book. Pointing to difficulties in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Russia and China, he states, "the concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis."

He adds that there is a clash between the international economy and the political institutions that ostensibly govern the world. Despite financial crises, the world has enjoyed sustained economic growth. The winners have few reservations about this system. But the losers, e.g., the European Union's southern tier, seek solutions that obstruct the functioning of the global economic system. "Prosperity is dependent on the success of globalization, but the process produces a political reaction that often works counter to its aspirations."

Another failing is the absence of an effective mechanism for the great powers to consult and possibly cooperate on the most consequential issues. Unless this failing is corrected, the world will be divided into spheres of influence and a struggle among regions could be even more debilitating than the struggle between nations has been.

Mr. Kissinger offers the following conclusion. "For the US, this will require thinking on two seemingly contradictory levels. The celebration of universal principles needs to be paired with recognition of the reality of other regions' histories, cultures and views of their security. Even as the lessons of challenging decades are examined, the affirmation of America's exceptional nature must be sustained. History offers no respite to countries that set aside their sense of identity in favor of a seemingly less arduous course. But nor does it assure success for the most elevated convictions in the absence of a comprehensive geopolitical strategy."

Kissinger made no mention of President Obama, but his essay certainly does not advocate "leading from behind."

JE comments:  I should read his book before opining, but September 9th is a week away.  For now, Mr. Kissinger's  "thinking on two contradictory levels" seems to argue for two antagonistic roles for the US:  sustaining this country's "exceptional nature" while respecting the specific histories and cultures of other nations.  How can this be read other than a call for intervention and non-intervention at the same time?

"The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis."  Do WAISers agree?  Was there ever not a crisis of some sort?  I sense a bit of nostalgia in Kissinger's remark for the Cold War "order."

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  • Kissinger and Comprehensive Geopolitical Strategy (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 09/02/14 1:24 PM)
    John E misses the point of Kissinger's argument. (See Richard Hancock, 2 September.) The K is calling for a new paradigm that goes beyond the traditional categories of internationalism and isolationism. A hybrid based on a pragmatic realist approach tempered by geostrategic understanding in an era of limited resources. He believes that the current trend toward spheres of influence needs proper pacing to avoid chaos and war.

    JE comments: I'd really need to see some specifics for this to make sense to me. In broad terms, aren't spheres of influence intended specifically to reduce chaos?

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    • Kissinger and Comprehensive Geopolitical Strategy (Mike Bonnie, USA 09/03/14 2:09 PM)
      In response to Francisco Wong-Díaz (2 September), I am by no means proficient to write about Henry Kissinger. Rather, I will introduce a book I purchased at a seminar a few years ago after listening to the author talk about Kissinger and the importance of global understanding. The book is Henry Kissinger and the American Century, by Jeremi Suri (2007). Suri is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of several other books. Rest assured I don't get kickbacks on any of the books I recommend.

      Suri writes: "The main argument of this book is that we must understand the experiences of Henry Kissinger and American power as processes of globalism--the interpretation of ideas, personalities, and institutions from diverse societies. Globalization revises what is meant to be a citizen, a leader, a person of faith. Globalization also redistributed power among nations and people."


      A presentation and discussion featuring Jeremi Suri can be found at the Wilson Center, November 2013:


      JE comments:  Click above, and you can pick up a gently used copy of Suri's book for 41 cents, plus S & H.

      Since yesterday I've been reflecting on Francisco Wong-Díaz's characterization of Kissinger's call for "a pragmatic realist approach tempered by geostrategic understanding in an era of limited resources." If Francisco would indulge us, I invite him (or other WAISers) to take a stab at what such an approach would look like vis-a-vis:  1) Iraq/Syria/IS, 2) Russia/Ukraine, and 3) North Korea.

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      • Kissinger and Comprehensive Geopolitical Strategy (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 09/04/14 7:09 AM)
        In response to JE's request of 3 September, I would rather have Kissinger speak/write for himself in addressing the issues of Iraq/Syria/IS, Russia/Ukraine, and North Korea, since my clarification of his strategy is neither an endorsement nor a critique.

        JE comments: Perhaps, just perhaps, Mr. Kissinger will come across this post. Here's a question I've never asked before: has anyone in WAISdom's wide collective reach ever met HK?

        (My apologies for the late start today. I awoke to a Wi-Fi outage at WAIS HQ, and I'm writing these lines from a nearby cafe.)

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        • I Know Kissinger (Robert Gard, USA 09/04/14 11:45 AM)
          To answer John's question, I know Kissinger personally beginning in the mid 1950s; he was a guest in my home when I was president of the National Defense University in the late '70s. But I have not been in touch with him for many years.

          JE comments: I had Gen. Robert Gard in mind when I posed the question, but I didn't want to put him on the spot. I'm sure I'm not the only WAISer with a burning curiosity: what is Kissinger like as a house guest?

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          • Meeting Kissinger in the 1960s (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 09/05/14 6:19 AM)

            To answer John Eipper's question, I happened to first meet Henry Kissinger as a grad student at the U of Michigan in the 1960s at a seminar sponsored by the American Political Science Association in Washington DC. The Vietnam War was raging, and the most influential realist US political scientist was Hans J. Morgenthau, who had just made public his opposition to the War in Vietnam. Henry was more cautious, since he was working his way into the upper echelons of the foreign policy establishment. Another biggie whose hand I shook in those days was Dean Acheson, who had just published Present at the Creation and discussed it at the Law Quad in Ann Arbor. He was very tall and patrician looking. He cut a truly impressive figure, unlike the short Hans (who was about 5'6" and with whom I studied one summer) or the guttural Henry.

            JE:  For the metric-thinkers among us, that's 167.64 cm of  Morgenthau.

            I've just learned that Mr K will be discussing his new book, World Order, tomorrow (6 September) on NPR's Morning Edition.  Be sure to tune in; maybe he'll answer our questions about his hybrid global strategy.

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          • Kissinger as a House Guest (Robert Gard, USA 09/05/14 6:41 AM)
            To answer John's question of what Kissinger was like as a house guest, I would say cordial.

            However, he was much less so with his subordinates when he was National Security Advisor.

            JE comments:  It must have been scary for Kissinger's subordinates.  Imagine being summoned to his office for a reprimand in that booming, Jehovah-like voice.

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            • When You're Called in for a Reprimand... (John Heelan, UK 09/05/14 2:44 PM)
              John E mentioned the thought of being reprimanded by Kissinger. (See Robert Gard, 5 September.) A useful trick I learned in that situation is to stare at the tyrant's zip fly. This has two effects. Firstly, the tyrant starts worrying that he is in danger of embarrassing himself with an inadvertent exposure. Secondly, it reminds you (the victim of the tirade) that the tyrant--well all is said and done--is just as human as yourself. The first often cuts short the scolding: the second helps you to put the difference in status into perspective. Try it--it works!

              JE comments: Not sure I can put my editorial endorsement on this suggestion. Fly-gazing sounds like a great way to get sent directly to the HR office. Unless, of course, you're already in the HR office. Then you may be invited into the "Employee Transition Room," where they'll advise you to polish up your resume... and wish you the best.

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        • Hillary Clinton Reviews Kissinger's *World Order* (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 09/07/14 6:37 AM)
          Here is a meaty subject for discussion.

          Hillary Clinton, like Bill, is triangulating.  She appears to be covering herself under Kissinger's hybrid theoretical mantle in preparation for a run in 2016. It is also a raw attempt at distancing herself from Obama's failures while attaching to the "hope" theme.

          Note how the Clinton-period theme of the "indispensability of America" from Madeleine Albright is interspersed in the essay. (Obama has never stated that view of America; rather he has denigrated it.)

          Let the discussion begin:


          JE comments: Also, here is the HK interview on NPR's Weekend Edition, 6 September:


          Imagine a 2016 presidential showdown between the interventionist--she's hybrid and "soft-powered," but still interventionist--Hillary Clinton and the neo-isolationist Rand Paul.  This could bring a reshuffling of the voting patterns that have held sway over the last generation or two, in which hawks vote Republican and doves vote Democratic.  Could the unthinkable actually happen:  neo-conservatives supporting Hillary?

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          • Thoughts on 2016 Presidential Election (Tor Guimaraes, USA 09/08/14 1:43 PM)
            John Eipper (see Francisco Wong-Díaz, 7 September) may be on to something when he wrote: "Imagine a 2016 presidential showdown between the interventionist--she's hybrid and 'soft-powered,' but still interventionist--Hillary Clinton and the neo-isolationist Rand Paul. This could bring a reshuffling of the voting patterns that have held sway over the last generation or two, in which hawks vote Republican and doves vote Democratic. Could the unthinkable actually happen: neo-conservatives supporting Hillary?"

            I don't consider myself partisan at all, but am sick and tired of Clintonian slick nonsense preaching "democracy, patriotism, and sound economic principles like free trade" while giving the country away with stupid policies: trading jobs for cheap goods, globalization of our technological advantage, and more intervention all over the world when we ourselves are falling apart. I might very well vote for Rand Paul, even though I think he falls short of his father. Certainly not Hillary, but there are many great people I probably would vote for depending on who is available: Elizabeth Warren (D), Bernie Sanders (I), Jeb Bush (R), Chuck Schumer (D), etc.

            JE comments: I never thought I'd see Bernie Sanders on the same list with a Bush. Is it too early to talk about November 2016? Expect some dark, dark horses to seek a head start right after the midterm elections in November.  Hillary has said she won't announce (if she decides to run) until early next year.

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          • Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger (Massoud Malek, USA 09/09/14 5:24 AM)
            In his doctoral dissertation, Henry Kissinger wrote: "The most fundamental problem of politics is not the control of wickedness but the limitation of righteousness." Kissinger also believes that "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac."

            On 6 September, two days after The Observer reported that the fight to release Amerli from the chokehold of the Islamic State in Iraq brought together the strange bedfellows of the Iraqi and Iranian militias backed by American air support; and one day after the BBC reported that Iran's Supreme Leader had ordered his military to cooperate with the US in the fight against IS forces, Henry Kissinger told NPR's Scott Simon:

            "I consider Iran a bigger problem than ISIS. ISIS is a group of adventurers with a very aggressive ideology. But they have to conquer more and more territory before they can become a strategic, permanent reality. I think a conflict with ISIS, important as it is, is more manageable than a confrontation with Iran."

            Kissinger's response to his role during the war in Vietnam, especially the bombing of Cambodia and Laos and the difference between drone attacks and carpet bombing, was the following:

            "I think we would find, if you study the conduct of [the military], that the Obama administration has hit more targets on a broader scale than the Nixon administration ever did.... On the other hand, drones are far more deadly because they are much more accurate. I bet if one did an honest account, there were fewer civilian casualties in Cambodia than there have been from American drone attacks."

            Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in the five years since CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan's tribal regions on the third day of Barack Obama's presidency. These strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of them reportedly civilians.

            With limited data, the range of Cambodian deaths caused by US bombing may be between 40,000 and 150,000. These numbers are much higher than the number of deaths caused by the drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia combined.

            Based on a tape from the White House, on April 25, 1972, President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger discussed bombing the dike network in a conversation on Operation Linebacker II, later published by Daniel Ellsberg:

            Nixon: We've got to quit thinking in terms of a three-day strike [in the Hanoi-Haiphong area]. We've got to be thinking in terms of an all-out bombing attack--which will continue until they--now by all-out bombing attack, I am thinking about things that go far beyond. I'm thinking of the dikes, I'm thinking of the railroad, I'm thinking, of course, of the docks.

            Kissinger: I agree with you.

            President Nixon: We've got to use massive force.

            Two hours later at noon, H. R. Haldeman and Ron Ziegler joined Kissinger and Nixon:

            President: How many did we kill in Laos?

            Ziegler: Maybe ten thousand--fifteen?

            Kissinger: In the Laotian thing, we killed about ten, fifteen.

            President: See, the attack in the North that we have in mind, power plants, whatever's left--POL [petroleum], the docks. And, I still think we ought to take the dikes out now. Will that drown people?

            Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.

            President: No, no, no, I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?

            Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much.

            President: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you?...I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.

            Did Obama ever discuss using nuclear bomb? I doubt it. After Kissinger's self-serving response on the subject of bombing and accusing Obama of causing more deaths than Nixon, Scott Simon should have mentioned the nuclear bomb discussion between him and Nixon in 1972.

            On 4 September, Hillary Clinton, who voted for the Iraq war, "dissed" President Obama for not bombing Syria, and compared Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler. In her review of Henry Kissinger's book World Order, Hillary, who dreams of breaking down the highest and hardest glass ceiling in American politics by sending herself to the White house, praised the book by approvingly quoting a passage in Kissinger's book about "respecting national sovereignty" and "adopting participatory and democratic systems of governance."

            Did Hillary really had to praise Henry and publicly rehabilitate his image? Wasn't Kissinger the one who ignored the national sovereignty of Chile?

            In September 1970, Salvador Allende, the first freely elected socialist leader in the world, became the president of Chile. But ever since his victory, the CIA and the US government, headed by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, were determined to oust Allende. On September 11, 1973, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger played a direct role in the military plot that replaced a progressive, democratically elected government with a brutal military dictatorship. Allende died in the presidential palace. For almost 17 years, Chile was ruled by a ruthless dictator, General Augusto Pinochet.

            Based on her actions in the past, Hillary like Henry also believes in "not controlling wickedness but limiting righteousness." I believe Senator Elizabeth Warren is a much more righteous woman to break the highest glass sealing of American politics than the wicked Hillary Clinton, who is in search of a political aphrodisiac.

            Sources:  Wikipedia, and

            NPR: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/06/346114326/henry-kissingers-thoughts-on-the-islamic-state-ukraine-and-world-order


            Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
            , by Daniel Ellsberg

            JE comments:  Given Henry Kissinger's efforts to re-brand himself as a moderate senior statesman, I was particularly struck in the NPR interview by his hawkish stance towards Iran.  The IS threat has aligned US-Iranian interests in a way not seen since the 1970s, and if we are to believe the second link above, small-scale military coordination between the two nations is already taking place.  Of course, there is always a downside:  a perceived Persian-American alliance might only drive Sunni Arabs further into the IS camp.

            For Massoud Malek, Kissinger is a hypocrite.  For anyone, he's a polarizing figure, either for or against.  My question:  is there any way to reconcile Kissinger's current calls for "realist" restraint with his rather bloody record during the Nixon years--Indochina and Chile, in particular?

            "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac," HK wrote in the New York Times on 28 October 1973.  Can anyone contextualize this quote?  Specifically, was Kissinger endorsing this view, or was he using it as a way to explain how geopolitics works in general?  Note that the quote appeared just weeks after the September 11th coup in Chile.

            So--any chance of Kissinger coming out of retirement as Pres. [Hillary] Clinton's Secretary of State?

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            • Kissinger's "Power is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac" (David Duggan, USA 09/10/14 1:37 AM)
              In response to JE's question (see Massoud Malek, 9 September), I don't know what was going through Henry Kissinger's mind when he uttered that immortal phrase. But assuming its date is correct, it was shortly before his March 1974 marriage to Nancy Maginnes, a woman quite out of Henry's league, at least in the height and looks department. The Locust Valley lockjawed daughter of a Manhattan lawyer, Ms. Maginnes was close to 6' tall, and in heels towered over the 5'9" Kissinger. A former [Nelson] Rockefeller staffer, she avoided the Megan Marshack fate by trimming her sails in a more academic direction. There is some evidence that she even played a role in brokering the Kissinger-Nixon alliance.

              Albert Maginnes, a former professional football player with the Canton Bulldogs, was in the same social circles as New York lawyer Nixon in the 1962-68 period. Henry had met Nancy around the time of the 1964 San Francisco Cow Palace convention, Rocky's last hurrah in his near life-long quest for the presidency. As a Rockefeller Institute retainer, Kissinger was there to advise Rocky on foreign affairs. Four years later when Nixon was casting about for a National Security Adviser, Kissinger, with an academic's disdain for the uber-Cold Warrior Nixon, likely needed to be disabused of these notions. Enter Ms. Maginnes, a natural-born diplomat if ever there was one. (Read Walter Isaacson's biography of Kissinger to see how she assuaged the short-of-stature Middle Easterners during Henry's 1973-74 shuttle diplomacy by standing on one leg, crooking the other to appear shorter.)

              Kissinger is one of those few non-elected public figures popularly known by his first name (Elvis, Michael, Ernest). An earlier iteration of this phenomenon was Napoleon, with whom Henry was often compared in the height and quest for power department. This may be unfair to each man. Henry's 5'9" height was average for men born in 1923, per Army induction records. Although Napoleon's height was often listed at 5'2", this was the French inch which was about 10% longer than an English inch (no jokes please). Other reports show Napoleon to be about 5'7" per the English standard. Regardless, Napoleon forbade his Empress, Josephine de Beauharnais, from wearing heels to elevate her 5'4-5" stature. She evidently complied, thereby proving Henry's adage 170 years before its being uttered, as Napoleon conquered her, too.

              JE comments:  Power is not only an aphrodisiac; it also makes you taller.  We could say the same thing about money.

              Family lore, courtesy of my dear grandmother Isabel Emerson Eipper (1911-2012), has it that we are related to Empress Josephine.  Probably not, though I'd love to find out (not enough to actually do the genealogical digging, but I'm still curious).

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      • Jeremi Suri (Randy Black, USA 09/04/14 7:19 AM)
        My thanks to Mike Bonnie (3 September) for his update on historian Dr. Jeremi Suri.

        Now to update Mike and WAIS: Dr. Suri has been employed by The University of Texas at Austin, not the University of Wisconsin, since 2011.

        He has "a joint appointment in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the UT Department of History." His PhD is from Yale 2001, a BA in history from Stanford, 1994 and Ohio U, MA in history, 1996. He left the U of Wisconsin under some sort of political controversy that seems to have been local to the state.

        His official appointment is the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership, History and Public Policy in Global Affairs. Mack Brown, the winningest football coach in UT history, retired from coaching in 2013.

        His website: http://jeremisuri.net/

        The home page of Suri's Website includes an interesting piece on "Containing Russian Fascism."

        JE comments: History, Ohio U: Suri almost certainly must have studied under our own Robert Whealey.

        And I'll take advantage of this opportunity to send a "shout-out" to my favorite Longhorn, nephew Eric Simmons, who has just begun his second year in Engineering at U Texas. 

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        • Is Putin a Fascist? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 09/05/14 1:47 AM)
          I wish to thank Randy Black for his post on the historian Jeremi Suri (4 September). I read with great interest the article "Fascism: History and Present."

          I hope that this article will not be read by Putin. The Russian leader is already screaming against the Ukrainians, calling them fascists. He certainly would not like to be called the same.

          However, this is nothing new. During all my life I have heard people accusing each other of the crime of being fascist, basing all their knowledge of this Italian phenomenon only on the propaganda of the War Psychological Department.

          I agree that Putin has, in a certain way, been inspired (unknowingly?) by some fascist ideas, but this is a long way from making him fascist.

          Furthermore, Francisco Franco was not a fascist but a selfish, astute, conservative, Catholic (in the deleterious Spanish sense) military dictator.

          It is interesting that Dr. Suri says that fascists are opportunist bullies who will turn away from a fight they cannot win. But this is not true; see the epic RSI.

          Unfortunately in the last decades we have seen "democratic" bullies getting, without proper knowledge, into fights from which they had to withdraw, leaving complete disasters, millions of dead people and huge environmental damage. Oh, well perhaps with the exception of operation "Urgent Fury" (Grenada 1983), which was such a "great" victory with no serious damage.

          To keep things brief, can anyone explain to me why in 1962 JFK was a great hero for not wanting a Soviet military base close to the US, while Putin is a bloody fascist because does not want an USA/NATO military base close to his beach?

          JE comments:  As we've pointed out several times in recent years, "fascist" has become a near-universal signifier in popular thought.  It more or less connotes any authoritarian regime we don't like.  Putin labels his enemies as fascists, and his enemies return the favor.  This is an especially understandable perspective for those who came of age in the Soviet Union, where the Great Patriotic War was a victory over the archenemy:  Fascist (not Nazi) Germany.

          So is Putin a fascist?  Eugenio Battaglia votes a resounding "no."  I prefer to think of P as a charismatic strongman, with no ideology beyond nationalism and the quest for ever-increasing power.  And an extremely shrewd politician.

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          • Is Putin a Fascist? (Angel Vinas, Belgium 09/05/14 11:56 AM)
            My apologies; I´ve been away on holidays for so long. Now I cannot pick up all the threads of the massive flow of WAIS discussions which took place last month. My holidays have been working holidays, so as to make fit for the publication of two books. The first one will be out in November and the second one next April.

            In the second one, I address the rather vexing issue of whether Franco was fascist or not. By the same token, I try to look into what's behind the jack-of-all-trade concept of "authoritarian regimes," as applied by Juan Linz to the Spanish dictatorship. Please note that I am not a historian of political ideas. My research is based on archival evidence and I think that in Spanish archives there is some evidence which was utterly unknown to Linz and to his followers.

            I don´t know whether Putin can be considered "fascist." For me Fascism is a time-bound phenomenon which flourished in Europe in first half of the last century. You don´t need to take my word for it. I refer colleagues to the 2012 edition of Zeev Sternhell´s seminal book Ni gauche ni droite, on the genealogy of Fascism in general and--who would say it?--in France, where it seems it was first conceptualized. Pacem Italy.

            A nice rentrée to all.

            JE comments: And a warm WAIS homecoming to Ángel Viñas.  August holidays are over.  For the last two weeks, I've enjoyed my return to the classroom for the first time since December.

            I concur with Ángel that it's best to leave "fascism" with its literal, historically relevant meaning. Was Mussolini a fascist? Yes. Oswald Mosley? Yes. Putin? Nope--even though he's been behaving very badly.

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        • U Wisconsin Controversies (Mike Bonnie, USA 09/06/14 4:36 AM)
          My thanks to Randy Black for his update on the professional whereabouts of Prof. Jeremi Suri (4 September). The University of Wisconsin-Madison's loss is University of Texas-Austin's gain. I hope Randy's update set things straight for everyone, and Professor Suri forgives my error. I will not speculate on the cause of Professor Suri leaving Madison in 2011, but truly hope he has found a fine place to pursue his academic interests in Austin.

          UW-Madison has seldom been without some controversy. In 2010, Wisconsin was suffering the slash-and-burn style of governance by newly elected Governor Scott Walker and a Republican-dominated state congress. See my post from 2011:  "Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Puts State Employees at Risk": http://waisworld.org/go.jsp?id=02a&objectType=post&o=59914&objectTypeId=54164&topicId=44 As the state capital and heavily populated by Democrats, Madison has been and continues to be the center of ongoing political wrangling, protests and demonstrations, especially this being an gubernatorial election year.

          However, 2010 may not be the year of most dramatic and lasting change. Perhaps the most memorable (at least among academic historians) was 1894, with the attempted firing of Richard Ely, a professor who (in support of university printers) "advocated labor strikes and labor law reform." The then de facto concept of tenure was furthered by "the notorious case of the dismissal of G. B. Halsted by the University of Texas in 1903 after nineteen years of service; [this] have accelerated the adoption of the tenure concept." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenure

          If you've ever heard or used the phrase "sifting and winnowing," think of UW-Madison. "Sifting and winnowing is a metaphor for the academic pursuit of truth associated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was coined by UW President Charles Kendall Adams in an 1894 final report from a committee exonerating economics professor Richard T. Ely of censurable charges from state education superintendent Oliver Elwin Wells. The phrase has become a local byword for the tenet of academic freedom."


          JE comments: Sifting and winnowing sounds like a euphemism for firing people, but academia was much more genteel in the 19th century.

          I'd be interested in a report from Mike Bonnie on Scott Walker's re-election bid against Democratic challenger Mary Burke.  The latest polls put Burke ahead by as many as four percentage points.  I presume SW's campaign pockets are full and deep from his sponsors, the Koch Brothers.

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