Listen now | 00:49 America’s missed opportunity to create a peaceful post-Cold-War world 8:09 The moment US foreign policy went off track 14:19 Why didn’t the West invest in Russia’s post-Cold War recovery? 22:18 The foreign policy Blob’s continuity across presidential administrations 30:01 Has the American journalism gotten worse in recent decades? Robert Wright (Bloggingheads.tv, The Evolution of God, Nonzero, Why Buddhism Is True) and Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia, The End of Poverty, The Ages of Globalization). Recorded May 01, 2023.
A great conversation, I hope you're able to have another one with him in the near future!
Mr. Sachs involvement with Poland and the contrast with the response to Russia was quite interesting and sad to hear.
Wow! Excellent conversation. My favorite part is when you asked Sachs generally when it all went wrong with US foreign policy, and he gave such a detailed and specific answer. Nonzero gets the best guests, so many excellent ones in the last few weeks.
I'm 64, and share all of Jeffrey Sachs's regrets about the dismal state of US media and journalism's dereliction of its duty to challenge official narratives instead of parroting them.
I am curious about the role of what President Eisenhower warned us about, i.e., the military industrial complex, https://www.archives.gov/milestone-documents/president-dwight-d-eisenhowers-farewell-address and its "deep" role in the need to keep the US in a constant state of war.
Thank you, great as usual ! I loved especially the part about the media in the end !
I disagree with Sachs on one point--his contention that the US media have gotten a lot worse in recent years in their coverage of US foreign policy. They were always bad. Sachs is evidently unfamiliar with the small mountain of academic research, going back to the 1970s, that demonstrates that the media were generally loyal adjuncts to American foreign policy. The first big case study, by the political scientist Daniel Hallin, was Vietnam. With a few admirable exceptions the media didn't critically scrutinize the government's rationale for war until the war started going badly.
I got so much out of this conversation as well! Sachs's experiences are sad and disturbing.
Through Bob's many valuable conversations with guests about the situation with Russia, part of his project to think through how to apply cognitive empathy, I've found myself moving away from focusing on arguments about causation. The main one that comes up a lot is something like this: if NATO had not expanded eastward after the fall of the USSR, Russia wouldn't have felt threatened and made to feel it needed to take aggressive actions in places like Ukraine. The problem I have here is that there are a lot of possible causes of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This gets very confusing: it's hard to sort out which causes were the but-for causes and to discern which were necessary vs. sufficient, for example. A focus on causation gets too complex too fast. To me, it's more helpful to think in terms of counterfactuals. If we had, at the end of the Cold War, really embraced Russia in the ways Sachs tried to get done--to make them part of the fold in a non-condescending way--it would have been a much better world today.