Forgive us if, before diving into our sneak peek of this week’s guest, we take a moment to take stock of some footage of John Bolton discussing the emotional labor of planning a coup:
Credit where credit’s due: apparently, overthrowing foreign governments isn’t the cake walk we all assume it is (???). Bolton’s statement is galling, mask-off villainy — a political posture that has served him well in the State Department, as well as in the Reagan and Trump admins. It’s also important to remember that this is the logical conclusion of the idea of leaving governance to the “experts,” people who position themselves as the competent managers of our domestic and foreign affairs. To hear Bolton tell it, sometimes you just need to destabilize the governments of other countries, because after all, you yourself know best.
We, on the other hand, know that this destabilization in places like Iran, Yemen, and Syria — all places where Bolton called for for regime change — did nothing to improve quality of life for the residents of those countries, and did everything to entrench Bolton’s own power and prestige. And we also know that the treatment of American domestic and foreign policy as a matter to be handled by elite, managerial experts has proved disastrous for working people across the world. This week, we’ll be joined by Gary Gerstle, Paul Mellon Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge. Our focus is whether or not neoliberalism has met its end. If it has, what’s next? If it hasn’t, how do we get out?