Over sodas and sparkling water, he asks his questions: What is the nature of good and evil in the post-Sept. 11 world? What lessons does history have for a president facing the turmoil I’m facing? How will history judge what we’ve done? Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?If he really is asking those kinds of questions and paying attention to the answers, then I have to give him credit where it’s due. Way late and way short, but I just hope the fuckers tell truth to power.
Bush won’t be able to bully, cajole, or glad-hand history like he did the media. I read this as Bush peeking outside the bubble to get intel on how best to promote a heroic myth of his presidency while still in office. Maybe something like a Pyrrhic defeat: we lost the battle of Iraq, but in so doing we firmly, decisively, overwhelmingly disemboldened the terrorists from following us home.
Well, we can only hope. Like Brain Glutton said, there aren’t any extreme Lefties being consulted (and I can understand why he wouldn’t) but you’d like to think that the historians sat him down and rolled up a newspaper and smacked him across the nose.
If that limited list is any indication, Bush is not going to hear anything he doesn’t already want to hear. The American Enterprise Institute is a the neocon hiveship. The Hudson Institute is the granddaddy of right-wing thinktanks. Andrew Roberts is a conservative Brit who was vigorously pro-Iraq-war. Alastair Horne may be the odd man out of that quartet…he’s a British historian who specializes in French history. Bush probably picked him because his book about the French-Algerian war was a very popular read within the American military (and their civilian overseers) back around 2003 or so…
There’s serious speculation to be done here – no more than speculation, this Admin being as cagey as it is, but it’s very interesting that Bush, at this stage of his life and career, is starting to listen to intellectuals, even if it’s just a few carefully selected and ideologically compatible intellectuals. Historians in the future will devote a lot of attention to this, and float competing theories about whether his Admin changed course in any respect as a result. (Historians, I’m sure, want to believe that historians who have a powerful person’s ear can change the course of history.)