October 27, 2011


Guest: Jeremi Suri, Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Global Leadership, History, and Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin; former E. Gordon Fox Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

"Nation-building is in America's DNA." states Jeremi Suri in his latest book, Liberty's Surest Guardian: AMERICAN NATION-BUILDING FROM THE FOUNDERS TO OBAMA. On this program, Professor Suri explains nation-building as not conquering other countries but helping local citizens build stable, self-governed societies that they "own" and do not feel are forced upon them. He then walks us through specific successes and failures that have marked America's history. From the examples that Jeremi Suri describes, key people emerge who had the experience and skills to take George Washington's revolutionary vision of a Union of politically-empowered citizens and apply it to Reconstruction after the Civil War, the Philippines, and Western Europe. Our subsequent failure in Vietnam is an equally strong lesson in what doesn't work.

We now have an opportunity to have a dramatic impact on international stability in the Middle East says Jeremi Suri. He asserts that the lessons from history can provide guidance for America's leaders as we define our role in helping to build stable, representative societies in an increasingly complex world. Named one of Smithsonian magazine's "Top Young Innovators," Jeremi Suri blogs on global affairs at globalbrief.ca. His professional webpage is: jeremisuri.net.