October 22, 2009
Hosted by College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Howard Zinn, a College of Arts & Sciences professor emeritus of political science, joins novelist Mary Gordon, author James Carroll, and Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman for a discussion of the Obama administration’s successes and disappointments as part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series. The event, which kicks off Alumni Weekend 2009, focuses on Obama’s foreign policy promises, his actions thus far, and whether he can live up to the public’s high expectations.
Zinn speaks first, offering the harshest criticisms of Obama’s “many compromises” on foreign policy issues. He faults the president for keeping the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan and blames a political culture in which Democratic presidents historically have been just as aggressive as Republicans. Carroll follows Zinn, putting Obama’s young presidency into the historical context of a nation often obsessed by military growth. He applauds Obama’s early efforts, saying, “I think the Nobel Prize went to the right person.” Goodman then argues that the president is almost doomed to fail in the eyes of America’s polarized public, which seems to want both a peacemaker and a strong commander-in-chief. Gordon concludes the discussion optimistically, noting that Obama, like FDR and JFK, has already “changed the American imagination.” Like his visionary predecessors, she says, Obama has already altered our perception of the role of “America in the world.”
The Howard Zinn Lecture Series, supported by a gift from Alex MacDonald (CGS’70, CAS’72) and Maureen A. Strafford (MED’76), is an annual talk on contemporary issues from a historical point of view.
October 22, 2009, 7 p.m.
Tsai Performance Center
Video length is 01:43:20.
About the Speakers: