• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 2 comments on Professor Emeritus Andrew Bacevich Cofounds a Think Tank Promoting Diplomacy, Funded By Ideological Opposites George Soros and Charles Koch

  1. Not sure there is only ‘little evidnce’ DJT is translating dialogue into results. Mexico: using their soldiers in their country for the border crisis; NATO: paying more of their share: China (& others): facing more of their trade responsobilities; Israel: being treated like a real ally; Iran: being taight how to control itself, or else; climate change: not a scientific fact finality! I think this is more than a ‘little evidence’!

    1. To the DJT defender in a prior comment: Um, no. This remark brings us back to Prof. Bacevich’s “we are deeply divided” point. That’s all that’s going on here.

      *You* wish to support the current occupant of the White House and the extraordinarily unified Republican Party that helps him do his deeds — and here I mean only the extreme-right party that has taken to calling itself “Republican,” though its acts and non-actions would be rejected by every Republican in Congress who served between Abe Lincoln and George W.

      I ask you to consider to what extent your views are the RESULT of your wanting to support or identify yourself with the acts of the current president and current Republican party.

      For any of us human beings, whenever our desire to align ourselves with a particular “side” is the paramount factor in any political thinking, we ought to allow that our subsequent thoughts about this or that issue may be partly or wholly “backfill,” not actually stuff we have thought through ourselves, independently of what other people are telling us.

      Are there really two sides, though? My own view is that eventually it will be very clear in retrospect that ours is NOT a situation where two sets of people with equally valid views are trying to get each other to listen, with neither one willing to listen, and we should conclude that both sides need to compromise on middle ground. That’s one model for disagreements, but it does NOT automatically apply to every disagreement equally well.
      Think about it. I hope there are vanishingly few people of any persuasion who would say that Hitler’s perspective on WW II and the Holocaust should be honored as “just a different, equally valid point of view.” Right?
      So the real question is how we would be able to know when political views that call themselves “Republican” have actually changed so completely that they are not participating in the framework of the US Constitution at all any more (which is to say, they are not honoring the fundamental principles of how to handle disagreement in a democracy, which means they should not be accorded any respect and must be driven decisively out of power for the good of us all).
      What would make it totally clear to everyone that a given political party is merely pretending to align itself with American values, while its actions and policies are morphing (whether the individuals devising them know it or not) in ever more violent, ignorant, hate-filled directions. When should a responsible citizen decide that the US government is threatened with (or has succumbed to) a hostile takeover by enemy thinking? Are we already at the point where whatever’s left of the US or the world in 30-50 years will look back and say (as good people who had lived through 1930’s Germany later said) that “we just couldn’t believe it would happen here.”
      I’m aware that comparisons to Nazism are widely thought to be mere cheap attempts to escalate any disagreement. But I think the way I asked the question above still needs to be answered: how will we know? or how WOULD we if it were happening?
      On my end I just started reading a biography of Adolf Hitler to help me think this through more responsibly. Plainly our time and place and larger socio-political contexts are very different from Europe in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Ruthless domination of the media and outright vote-hacking, on the other hand, are far more powerful dangers than ever before, and I hope we all agree that in a healthy democracy they would not be. Climate change is also the most irreversible mistake that humanity has made or will make or may stop making but perhaps really too late, so that in our place and time the stakes are — maybe not greater than in the Holocaust, but broader (countries and politics rise and fall, but there has only ever been and only ever will be this one precious planet).

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