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Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. He writes columns for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times international edition. 

Recent Articles

Redefining Democracy

"Freedom's untidy," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld airily explained, referring to the anarchy and looting in Baghdad, which closed all but one hospital, sacked one of the world's most treasured archeological museums and plundered the homes and shops of ordinary Iraqis. Untidy? Untidy is when your 15-year-old leaves his room a mess. Untidy is letting the dinner dishes stack up in the sink. Rumsfeld added that "free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes." By way of further clarification, retired lieutenant general Jay Garner, Bush's newly appointed American viceroy in Baghdad, told a New York Times reporter, "I don't think they had a love-in when they had Philadelphia." Garner was referring to the American Constitutional Convention. What these people understand about freedom could fit in a thimble. If they are democracy's emissaries, God help us all. You may recall that the whole point of the Constitutional Convention was to reconcile liberty with order, and the will of...

Sharing America's Wealth

The Bush administration settled the argument about whether inspections could ever contain Saddam Hussein by making the issue moot. But the next phase of a broader debate continues. The Iraq War is the first step in a new and alarming policy, which we might call the Wolfowitz Doctrine. On the issue of unilateralism, the doctrine holds that multilateral institutions such as the United Nations are distractions at best and that European allies are weak sisters who put their own parochial interests ahead of global security. Both sets of associations require strong U.S. leadership to be useful at all; and when the United Nations or our allies resist, they are to be overridden. We do this because we need to, and because we can. On the issue of preemption, the doctrine considers preemptive war a straightforward calculus of costs and benefits, not of international law or global public opinion. Saddam Hussein could be deposed with relatively light loss of American and Iraqi civilian life. The...

Sharing America's Wealth

The necessary role of government in broadening the middle class.

The Bush administration settled the argument about whether inspections could ever contain Saddam Hussein by making the issue moot. But the next phase of a broader debate continues. The Iraq War is the first step in a new and alarming policy, which we might call the Wolfowitz Doctrine. On the issue of unilateralism, the doctrine holds that multilateral institutions such as the United Nations are distractions at best and that European allies are weak sisters who put their own parochial interests ahead of global security. Both sets of associations require strong U.S. leadership to be useful at all; and when the United Nations or our allies resist, they are to be overridden. We do this because we need to, and because we can. On the issue of preemption, the doctrine considers preemptive war a straightforward calculus of costs and benefits, not of international law or global public opinion. Saddam Hussein could be deposed with relatively light loss of American and Iraqi civilian life. The...

Were We Wrong?

The Bush administration settled the argument about whether inspections could ever contain Saddam Hussein by making the issue moot. But the next phase of a broader debate continues. The Iraq War is the first step in a new and alarming policy, which we might call the Wolfowitz Doctrine. On the issue of unilateralism, the doctrine holds that multilateral institutions such as the United Nations are distractions at best and that European allies are weak sisters who put their own parochial interests ahead of global security. Both sets of associations require strong U.S. leadership to be useful at all; and when the United Nations or our allies resist, they are to be overridden. We do this because we need to, and because we can. On the issue of preemption, the doctrine considers preemptive war a straightforward calculus of costs and benefits, not of international law or global public opinion. Saddam Hussein could be deposed with relatively light loss of American and Iraqi civilian life. The...

Ugly Americanism

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, have had a good week. Ten days ago, when American supply lines appeared dangerously strung out and Iraqi resistance formidable, criticism of the administration's Iraq war became almost respectable. In last week's New Yorker , Seymour Hersh quoted several generals accusing Rumsfeld of having bungled the war. The Washington Post reported that senior advisers to Bush I had warned Bush II that Rumsfeld and company were giving him bum advice. The New York Times 's Maureen Dowd ridiculed ultra-hawks who pronounced themselves surprised at outbreaks of guerrilla warfare. ''I know our hawks avoided serving in Vietnam,'' she wrote wickedly, ''but didn't they, like, read about it?'' What a difference a week makes. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz seem poised to roll over their critics just as surely as American troops are poised for the final assault on Baghdad. Wolfowitz was all over the Sunday talk shows basking in his apparent...

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