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And I thought we might start... Both of you are liberals, both of you are former editors of opinion magazines, so lets try to begin here. I would like each of you to describe the other, in terms of... The person or the magazine? ...You can stray a little into the magazine if you wish, how do you, Peter lets start with you, view Victor's role in the firmament of liberal figures and the nation as a voice in the same firmament? Well, I would start by saying that I view him as a role model and that's actually, and I mean that sincerely, in the sense that he's someone, its very evident from his most recent book, with someone who fell in love with small money losing magazines, although he actually managed, miraculously to turn The Nation a profit at some point, despite its anti- capitalism and I as someone... And a very faithful love affair too, i might add. That's right. And I as someone who also fell in love with small magazines, uh, would love to be able to have as fulfilling a career with them as he has. So, um, ideologically, I think The Nation has been described as a place where it is in conversation between liberals and radicals. And um, is, and I think that is always for me, helped to understand The Nations project as someone who reads it from a distance, which is to say it is ambivalent, it has part of debate about whether capitalism should be reformed, or fundamentally overthrown. It also has a fundamental debate about whether American power can be in service of a better world or whether in fact, American power can not be in service of a better world. And I think, it seems to me, those two, those two basic arguments define The Nation in the way it deals with domestic policy and in the way it deals with foreign policy. Now Victor, why don't you do the same conceit for Peter and then I'll let you have a little bit of footnoting of each others comments. You know when I was thinking about this evening, I've seen Peter on television, we don't really know each other and I was going to say, its not fair to give us equal time because he talks faster than I do, so I should have equal words is the... Well, you better get going. Um, well, I think he's very young. And uh, but somehow has the pragmatism of experience rather than the idealism of youth, although he has the idealism, but in his book, he's always trying to be practical in his advice and I don't know if there has ever been a younger editor of the New Republic, has there Peter? Um, you know Michael Kinsley and Andrew Sullivan were all the same area of age. Very Young, ok well there it is, underage, very it, editor. Washed up at thirty-five Ok, you know the problem is that the New Republic editors that I've gotten to know a little bit, we don't know each other yet, Rich Hurtsberg, former editors, Kinsley among them, that somehow in print, the magazine is very nasty to The Nation and when you meet them they are very nice in person and so we have to discount his niceness when we think about his magazine. You know when I first came to The Nation, people said, "what do you do?" and I said, "I'm at The Nation" and they'd say, "Oh The Nation and The New Republic, I used to get those." And first you want to punch them in the nose cause, and secondly you want to sell them a subscription, but uh, they used to appear, when I grew up, to be joined at the hip and they had very similar politics in the period of World War I and immediately thereafter and then they started going in separate directions and um, You know the joke about the New Republic is that it oughta change its name to Even the New Republic because for many years people would say, "well even the New Republic has raised questions about affirmative action, even the New Republic doesn't like choice, even the...", and finally it was even the New Republic. So uh, it prides itself on being unpredictable, I don't think its that unpredictable, I think it is a liberal journal on domestic, economic affairs and a lot of the articles you print could easily appear in the nation. Its got a brilliant back of the book editor who I'm interested what its like to work with (unidentified) if one works with him or if one works sort of in the same office he works, and it uh, upfront it, it, um, again my image is that you have these very bright and brilliant occasionally, young editors who come in there and then somehow or another they've got an owner who calls himself the Editor in Chief and he is and therefore he has editorial prerogatives. Now that may be changing with the new structure of owners and I'd be interested in hearing about that, but I think of the magazine as, on foreign policy, I don't think of it as a classically liberal magazine anymore, I think of it as something else, especially in its coverage of the Middle East and I think on issues of race relations, it has very different perspectives than the Nation, for example, and is um, more suspicious of the kind of liberal orthodoxy on questions like so called quotas, affirmative action and from there, I look forward to the rest of the conversation. And I read it (unidentified), always have, always will. All that matters. Yeah. Does that sound like you and The New Republic, Peter? Well, there's a lot there, um. I first of all, I'm not aware that I myself have written anything personally nasty about The Nation, but if I have, I will, can be held to account for. I think, um, I think that one of the difficulties of answering these questions is that both magazines, as Victor said, evolve over time, ideologically as in response to new events that you could not have foreseen and in response to individual people who come along and both magazines are not totally unified. Both magazines have an idea that there are some issues in which the staff should be unified, perhaps, but there are some issues on which you can have a very heated debate, and those change, so um, so for instance on this question of um, race, um,um I think that describing the New Republic that as a magazine that is quite far from the center of liberal orthodox on race is not nearly as true today as it probably was under my predecessor, Andrew Sullivan and Michael Kelly, for instance, you know um, I think now the New Republic um, on questions of race don't play as kind of large public role in our politics at this particular moment as they did in the 1980's and 90's, but I think you would find the New Republic, by in large, more comfortable with affirmative action, perhaps than it was a couple decades ago and that may just be the product of the individuals who come through. I think that the cleavages in, the arguments within the magazine are different and um, I think that the um, on foreign policy, I think the um, again, The New Republic's argument, essentially is about how America projects its power around the world in service of American ideals with a fairly optimistic belief in that possibility. And then I think there is quite an active debate about how that was done. And I think that a particularly important part of that debate is the degree to which American power needs to be embedded within international institutions, which is the view that I would take more. Or that in fact, international institutions can be a constraint on America's power, America's ability to do good, which is perhaps a little bit closer to Martin Peretz's view, but um, I think the debate of the nation, in my sense, would be more about The Nation has not been a magazine that has, in terms of military interventions, I think until Afghanistan supported any American military interventions that I'm aware of starting with sentence, I mean, didn't support Kosovo, was divided, I guess on Bosnia, so I think the debate to oppose the Gulf War, so the debate there, it seems to me is really more about whether, in fact, particularly, at least American military power can enforce in fact, the in service of American ideals. You know, I think as you said, The Nation is in part a journal of debate between the radicals and the liberals and the rap against all these magazines is that they preach to the choir and I always say if anyone who reads The Nation's letters page knows that if that's true its the least harmonious choir in the history of choral music and our writers always attacking each other, our readers are attacking our writers, our columnists are attacking the editor, its uh, you know... But uh, the interesting thing to me is that, take Afghanistan, we ran a piece by Richard Faulk, on Afghanistan when we went in there and then, and he was supportive of, he was against our going in there, and then he, a few weeks later, he looked at what was going on and he had a second thought about it and he wrote a second piece, in which he was supportive of our being there, not the way, not the rhetoric that surrounded it, but the action. And then he thought about it some more and he got a lot of criticism from friends of the magazine for supporting this adventure and uh, and he came out against it. And I think part of the way that, the things he said the third time were sort of prophetic of what's happening now there in some ways. But, in any event, to be, and then, one of our colleagues called and said, "I've an idea for the new column." I said, "What's it called?" He said, " Richard Faulk Changes His Mind." He said you should run this (unidentified), and but the fact is to me, it sort of symbolizes the ideal of a magazine like this, that you should be open to an arrange of ideas and when you have someone of that quality of intellect and whose able to mobilize the information to support his position, its remarkable to behold and exciting to behold. I don't, Peter, think that you, I don't know, maybe you have, attacked The Nation. But I did notice in your book that you left The Nation out of the index, even though you keep quoting from it, and, but you did the same thing to The New Republic, there are none of the magazines that you talk about are listed in your index, which I think is That was probably outsourced. In fact, I wasn't even, i'm embarrassed, i wasn't even aware of that until you mentioned it. We remedied the paperback. Well do it, because its unpatriotic of you. These are key sources.. That's right. ...for the argument. And, but you do always quote The Nation to prove some point to point how naÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¯ve the left is on this or that, but you don't criticize, if that, you just say, The Nation said... and then you do this and with all the brilliant things that we write about on the Iraq war for example, we don't get credit for it. You very courageously and forthrightly, I don't know if its courageous because you changed your mind, you said so, and you said it in a very direct way about the war. And uh, its, I think these places are places where one ought to be accountable and its part of a continuing conversation with the culture and that's what democracy is all about and their democracy at its best, if their doing their job s... I think I did, by the way, also praise The Nation for speaking out about the Taliban at a time when very few people were paying attention in the late '90's and early years of the Bush administration before 9/11. But true, there are criticisms as well, no question. So, I mean, if you are both liberals, and I believe you are, you do represent slightly different polls within that general category. You, Peter, really do believe that as United States did after the second World War that we should project our power wisely towards democratic goals. Victor, how would you characterize your sense of what America should do with its power in regard to promoting democracy, development, whatever around the world. Yeah, well, first of all, I'm a sort of old fashion believer in the United Nations. So the first thing that we shouldn't do is threaten to withhold our dues if we don't like what's happening there next week. And anything you can do to support the United Nations, to me, is critical, because in a globalized world, you need global agencies to deal with the problem. So if you think terrorism is the number one problem on the planet, which I don't happen to, you need an international agency to deal with it. So to me, the first thing that was wrong with what Bush had to say about Iraq is, and the act of the World Trade Center, forget Iraq, before we went into Iraq, he said its us versus them. And its not us versus them, its the international community that has to deal with this problem as I see it. The second thing I'd say with regard to Peter's world view as I understand it from his elegantly written book is that, you know, he thinks the model of what we oughta do is what he calls the Cold War liberal and uses Harry Truman and half of the time, Peter, you talk about it, as I read it, as, its the right thing to do and the other half, it'll look good and we can win the democrats can win the election that way. And to me you know the original founding perspectives of the nation said we are not gonna be the organ of any political party sector or movement and so the business of advising the democrats of how to win the next election is a useful thing to do, but its a sideline task, not that the book is a sideline, but for, you know, for general opinion, or of at least, our sort. To me the Cold War liberals were sort of the enemy and not the model and there is a kind of dismissal of those to the left of the Cold War liberals in, and its not that you dismiss them that way, but they are dismissed by their absence in part. And during the Cold War years, you had this phenomenon, to me, where people like (unidentified), who knew, as I see it, keeps getting wiser as he gets older and he keeps moving left as he gets older. But during the Cold War years, I remember when I was writing about the Hollywood blacklist and naming names, I went and reread all of his columns in the New Your Post. He had a column called "History of the Week" and in one of those columns, he said, of Carey McWilliams, who was the editor of The Nation during this period, and a great editor, and um, one of my old Yale law professors, Thomas Emerson, who was the leading scholar on the first amendment and again, from my point of view, a great man who ran for governor of Connecticut on the progressive party ticket, and then withdrew as a candidate when Chester Bowles got the democratic nomination, because he had respect for Chester Bowles and didn't want to interfere with his electability. And Arthur Schlesinger said of uh. Carey and Tom Emerson and a string full of (unidentified), it was announced that they were behind a new civil liberties conference to discuss the plight of civil liberties in the United States. He said, "they are not communists, but they carry germ of communism, they are the typhoid marys of the left." And to which Carey in the New Statesman wrote, "Arthur Schlesinger Jr. speaks the language of McCarthyism with a Harvard accent." And I always thought that that was true back then and I thought that was part of the Cold War liberal mindset and when you point out in you book that Hubert Humphrey supported a law which would ban the Communist party, that wasn't an exception to, that was part of it, and that they were in the business in part of disassociating themselves from those to the left of them and that had very dire, domestic consequences for freedom and liberty in this country, even though it was true as they say, we were against McCarthyism, uh on one hand. On the other hand, the McWilliams and Emerson and folks in the progressive party were very slow to understand what was happening under Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union. But, this was nothing that they control and so, I have a different view of whether the Cold War liberals are any model for us and even on the question of win ability, I have to say. You know, Harry Truman won the election, but then the next two elections Eisenhower won, so what, so not even un-electability grounds am I enthusiastic about that. And having said all that, I have to confess that I'm someone who thought that Adderly Stevenson was going to be president. And so I thought that twice, so that shows what I know. So... Peter, I mean, in effect, wasn't it the Cold War liberals of the fifties that ended up putting us in Indochina and I wonder, how do you look back at Indochina now? There was a very muscular projection of American power that came a cropper. Absolutely. You know, what I tried, in the book, to do was to look at the Cold War liberals as a practical models which seem to me to look much better than the kind of foreign policy that had emerged since the kind of right took ascendancy in America foreign policy. But to do so, um, as much as possible without illusions and not to skip over these problems. And that is why I do mention that I think um, as Victor said, I think Humphrey's 1954 to outlaw the Communist Party, yes, it came under pressure from the right, yes he was trying to actually subvert a Republican, conservative legislation that would have basically weakened labor unions. There was a larger context of pressure from the right, but that was a great failure. Um, on the domestic front as to a lesser degree, was Harry Truman's loyalty program. Um, and I think that the, in, from the very beginning, it seems to me, as I read it, Cold War liberalism had this, this, ambivalence or this debate within it about how you dealt with Communist movements that were also nationalist movements in the third world, the debate that goes back, really, to the beginning of the Truman administration, when (unidentified) is more likely to imagine. And in fact, there are communist movements that are not controlled from Moscow and that in fact, and that in fact, do not necessarily represent a threat and cannot be contained in the same way that you could contain the Soviets in Greece or Turkey, or Soviet, communists back rebels in Greece or Turkey. But (unidentified) in 1958 to go into more of a global model and even someone like Kennedy gives a quite eloquent anti-Imperialist speech on Algeria in 1957 saying basically that we can't oppose the on rush of nationalism through force of arms, we have to be on the side of nationalism. And in, you know, and in some places, maybe Laos has a better record, um then in Vietnam, stumbles terribly, partly because of the ignorance of that society, of the people who are making policy in his administration. Um, and in fact leads to a fundamental misunderstanding that in fact, this is a national, a communist party is taking control of a nationalist movement trying to reunify the country that was never meant to have been split apart again with and it leads to these terrible tragedies. Um, so I would like to think that my book does not offer a white washed portrait of Cold War liberalism, but it does deal with practical. But first, it tries to look at some of the thinkers, particularly Reinhold Niebuhr , who were very important to Cold War liberals, who themselves had very big anxieties about Vietnam pretty early on. I think Niebuhr as early as '65. And actually to his credit, Schlesinger as well, pretty early on. But also to recognize that, and maybe this is the product of a magazine that is in Washington, that practical politics do play in. That the ability of, you know, that the ability of Henry Wallace and those kinds of liberals to in fact resist McCarthyism politically, um, was dramatically undermined by the fact that they did not have the trust of the American people and being willing to oppose Soviet power at a time when it was a great sort of, source of concern for Americans across the political spectrum. I think, I'm not trying to be a political consultant to tell democrats how to run advertising, but I did feel a need to write a book that could deal with the political reality of liberals in foreign policy, which has been a lack of trust of the American people, at the same time I try to talk about what they should believe. Well, I'd like to get into, into, into, what both of your advice might be to the democrats as to what they can do to find some new (unidentified) voice. But let me just, before that, um, as we're mired down in Iraq and we look back at the last great projection of American power and trying to, what occurs to you all? Do you both accept parallels as being deep or do you think they are sort of epiphenomenal, epiphenomenal in terms of.. I mean, I think first of all, Reinhold Niebuhr is misused if you use him to say that I, he never would have gone into Iraq in my view and... That's an interesting vision of Reinhold Niebuhr riding into Iraq. ...uh, and uh, you know, the difference between Vietnam and Iraq, to me is, in every, you know in America, there are two great themes in American history and one is the one we taught in civics about the first amendment and freedom and liberty and Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine and all the Bill of Rights and all the great things. The other is the theme of repression and intolerance and starting with the alien and sedition acts and going up through the pomerades and before, during World War one, the raids on radicals and the (unidentified) act, the internment of the Japanese, the McCarthy period itself and what happens is that twenty or thirty years later, you always, um, historians say hey, you know we were wrong, we shouldn't have done that and we went off our mooring and we lost our moorings and um, and life goes on. And sometimes the organization itself, like the ACLU, which kicked Elizabeth Gurley Flynn off its board during the McCarthy years, posthumously reinstated her thirty years later. The difference between what happened after the Vietnam War and during, and now, it is that, to me, that you know you have this, I would say unprecedences suspension of civil liberties, the right to council, picking people up off the street and depositing them in Guantanamo, whether or not they're tortured. The surveillance of hundreds of thousands of people, probably in violation of the constitution, definitely in violation of the law, you go down the list. Now, we are told by the administration, that this is part of the war, this is the war on terror. I don't like to use the word, "war on terror" because I don't think of it as a war because wars are something that you win and lose and if Saddam Hussein is convicted and executed tomorrow and Bin Laden is picked up the day after that, I believe the day after that, there will be car bombings. And which means that, that the suspension of the Bill of Rights is perpetual, because as long as there is terrorism, there is the excuse being given by this administration. So I think that's very, so that's where I start in thinking about the current situation. Um, well there is a lot there, both in your question and in your response. Let me start by saying that I agree that I don't think that Reinhold Niebuhr would have brought us into Vietnam and, I mean into Iraq and I think that's, that's one, although perhaps not the dominant reason that I came to the conclusion that I had been wrong about the Iraq war. Um, I think that its also worth saying that, um, the apologies, the getting of things wrong, don't only work in that direction, I think there are many people who in retrospect might look back and say for instance that the um, that America was right to fight the Gulf War. That was a reasonable, it wasn't a perfect use of American military power, but the Kosovo and, that the world is a better place because we had gone in Kosovo, um and the Gulf War and that in fact, so we can, the learning process, even the apology process, does not only go in the direction of the further left position, having always been right, to put it in that kind of crude terms. Um, I, uh, on the war on terror point, I um, I also agree that the sins that have been committed in the name of the war on terror have been very grave since 9/11. And I also find the term problematic partly because terrorism is a tactic, when it seems to me America is really struggling against a certain kind of ideology. But I don't think that, to suggest that America is in a, is in a conflict in which war is used to suggest a kind of national mobilization, um as it has been in another context, seems to me something I can live with and I don't think this necessarily will go on forever. I mean the Cold War did not go on forever. This is an ideology that has taken hold for a complex series of reasons in the Islamic world in recent decades and it will have probably some kind of life cycle, it will probably not have the prestige and appeal today that it always has, that it always does an I think the question for liberals in particular is how in fact to diminish its appeal in, because in the Islamic world, I think it is a serious threat to liberal values, um, values that liberals in particular care about the rights of women, the rights of gays and lesbians, the rights of non-Sunni Muslims, the rights of non-Muslims, the rights of Sunni Muslims who don't want to have their lives dictated by, by, by a very, very intrusive religious orthodoxy and it is also a threat to civil liberties at home, because it seems to me that the threat of civil liberties at home is yes, it is, it comes from the way that the Bush Administration has exploited the war on terror, but also comes from the fact that, its societies that are attacked, tend to be societies that do not cherish civil liberties as much. Societies that are radically unsafe, you can see this in Israel, tend to move to the right, I mean the diminishing of civil liberties in the United States really started after Oklahoma City with Bill Clinton. I mean not to the degree that it did with George W. Bush, but Howard Dean could be president and I think if we are hit with a dirty bomb attack or a contagious biological attack, there will be some diminishing of civil liberties because there is a very powerful political reaction that all of the best liberal efforts will not be able to withstand. Um, let me just say something about Iraq in Vietnam. Um, where they are similar is um, is in a kind of American hubris saddle to an American arrogance about a society about which we knew very little and that we thought we could remake very easily. Um, where I think there are important differences is that I think you now have in Iraq, um, I think the Iraqi state is more of a legitimate entity than the south Vietnamese state was. Um, there is, I think there is more of an Iraqi national identity as far as I can tell, there is a South Vietnamese national identity and you now have in Iraq a government that is more legitimate than the governments of south Vietnam. The government that was a product of one of the most free elections in recent times in the middle east. And in a election which all three major communities anticipated at significant levels and all three communities are represented in the government. Obviously, with the Sunnis, there is a very large group of that population that still sees the government as hostile and is fighting against it. But I think that is an important difference between where the United States is in Iraq and in South Vietnam. So while, I think there are some analogies, the analogy can also be overdrawn and you can learn the wrong lessons from it. But I think the history shows that you cannot command to another culture and impose democracy. And in Vietnam, we inherited an ongoing war. In Iraq, we preemptively began a war and uh, the, I mean everything that's happening now seems to be, to me anyway, not the result, as you occasionally suggest in your book Peter, of we didn't have enough troops there, we should have kept their army in place, if you had done all those things right, I don't think you can impose democracy on especially another culture. And this triple culture makes it that much harder and occupying power can't do that. And when you are going down your list before of using the Cold War examples and you do it in the book as well and you cite Greece. I went to Athens as a guest of the journalist union before 9/11 and there was a luncheon of twenty-five journalists. And the first question I was asked at this lunch was, Mr. Navasky, would you say civil liberties have suffered under George Bush, are they worse than ever? And I said look, when I was writing about Kennedy justice, Chuck Morgan whose a great civil liberties lawyer down south told me a joke. And this was his joke. Two farmers meet on the road and one says to the other, "how's your wife?" And the other says, "compared to whose?" And I said, "compared to any other country in the world." Civil liberties are great and I don't want you to get the wrong idea, but compared to what they should be, compared to what they were before Bush came in, they are awful. Now there were twenty-five anti-Americans in that room and this came partly as a result of our intervention during the Cold War years. And it wasn't an issue for them of communism, these people in the room. We saw it as an issue of communism and that was part of the wrong mistake that we made throughout the Cold War years, I think. And as you point out, that sometimes it had to do with national movements and I think it was reflected in what we did in Korea, its reflected in what we did in Vietnam and Steve Cohen argues in the upcoming issue of The Nation, that the Cold War think is still going on with what we're doing with regard both to Russia and to a degree in Iraq as well and so to me, its a counter, an anti-model, not a model. Well, let me just, briefly. I don't think its a fair characterization of the book to say that in the book I argue that only if we had had more troops,