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Departures Podcast with Andrew Bacevich, author of ‘After the Apocalypse: America’s Role in a World Transformed’

By many measures, 2020 was a year to forget. With natural disasters, a climate crisis, a vicious pandemic, a massive economic crisis, a cruel and dishonest president, unprecedented demands for racial justice and its corresponding ugly backlash, US society has been taken to the brink.

For Prof. Andrew Bacevich of Boston University, these events represent an American Apocalypse, one which requires a thorough rethinking of how Washington engages with the wider world based on the needs of its people and the very different circumstances we face now as compared to the postwar period.

Bacevich’s book, “After the Apocalypse: America’s Role in a World Transformed” argues that American foreign policy has in many ways failed to protect the safety of its people. The insistence on global military primacy and spreading market economy has not delivered a stable world order, but instead has brought endless wars and a succession of moral and material disasters.

In his discussion with Robert Amsterdam, Bacevich outlines his theory on US alliances, why we should be drawing down military forces in Europe and the Middle East, and why we should have a greater focus on solving the hardest problems at home and strengthening relations with our immediate neighbors. As the US navigates these struggles over racial injustice for example, Bacevich argues, there is an opportunity to reshape our understanding of the past, and thereby reshape our understanding of our role in the world.