Gloucester City Hall
American Interventionism: Its Roots, Branches and Future
More than a century ago, America’s most prominent politicians and intellectuals argued bitterly over whether to join the Europeans as a global imperial power. The expansionists won that round, but award-winning foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer says in his latest book that it’s time to revisit the debate. He will make his case at a Cape Ann Forum titled “American interventionism: Its roots, its branches and its future” on Sunday, May 7 at 7 p.m. at Gloucester City Hall. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing at the event, which will also feature the presentation of the Forum’s annual international awareness award to a Gloucester High School senior.
“How should the United States act in the world?” Kinzer asks in The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the birth of American Empire. “Should we defend our freedom, or turn inward and ignore growing threats? Put differently: Should we charge violently into faraway lands, or allow others to work out their own destinies?”
No matter how often we take up this question, none of what we say is original, according to Kinzer. “Every argument over America’s role in the world grows from this one. It all starts here.”
Stephen Kinzer should know. After reporting for The Boston Globe in the early 1980s he moved on to The New York Times to cover U.S. involvement in Central America’s interlocking wars and upheavals. Over the course of more than 20 years, he reported on 50 countries, during which he was shot at, jailed, beaten by police, tear-gassed and bombed from the air. Today, he is a senior fellow at the Brown University’s prestigious Watson Institute and writes commentary for The Boston Globe, the London Guardian, The New York Review of Books and other major media.
Kinzer’s other books include The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War (2013), Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future (2010), A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It (2008), Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (2006), All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (2003), Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds (2001), Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua (1991), and Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala (coauthor, 1982).
“In book after book, he’s sharpened the question: how did our country that was born in proud rebellion against the British Empire become the mightiest empire of them?,” says Radio Open Source commentator Christopher Lydon.
The Washington Post places him “among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling.” The Huffington Post describes him as “a journalist of a certain cheeky fearlessness and exquisite timing.”
This is the Cape Ann Forum‘s 98th public event since the community-based nonprofit was launched after 9/11 to increase public understanding of international issues. The Forum is an all-volunteer organization whose activities are supported solely by donations from those who participate in local events.
Forum organizers will take the occasion to present their annual scholarship to a Gloucester High School senior for outstanding efforts to build awareness on pressing global issues. This year the award will for the first time be accompanied by a grant to a student organization in which the recipient was active.