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

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...

Deceptively Dangerous

How does George W. Bush get away with it? His trademark is the use of liberal-sounding rhetoric -- on health care, education, jobs, tax fairness, the environment -- while his policies do the opposite. To watch his recent address on Medicare and Medicaid (which he wants to gut), you would think you were listening to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.). Presumably, Bush resorts to liberal rhetoric because these are the policies the country wants. Don't the voters care when he does the opposite? Bush's march to war has also been marked by one misrepresentation after another. Seymour Hersh, writing in The New Yorker , recently exposed as a forgery the administration's claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. The war is not the cakewalk Bush forecast. Ordinary Iraqis are not greeting American troops with flowers, while U.S. casualties mount. The recriminations -- generals versus Rumsfeld, Pentagon versus State Department -- are already leaking into the...

Offensive Interference

The war in Iraq might not be going quite as smoothly as the Bush administration hoped, but the war at home is going just swimmingly. War is silencing debate not just on the wisdom of Bush's foreign policy but on a host of other issues that would normally be front-page news. You might have missed it, but this is budget season. Thanks to the distractions of war, bizarre budget resolutions are swiftly moving through Congress and will be law by mid-April. For the first time ever in the United States, we are rushing through an immense tax cut in the midst of a war that the president admits will cost at least $74.7 billion just in its first phase. The consequence of this, not surprisingly, is massive cuts in popular outlays. The budget enacted by the Republican House on a straight-line party vote (with just 12 GOP dissenters) is astonishing. It not only gives Bush his entire tax cut but proposes to balance the budget within six years. The casualties of that process would be monumentally...

Two Movements

What does an antiwar movement do with a war likely to be over in a matter of weeks? Plenty, it turns out. The antiwar movement is actually two rather different movements that partly overlap. One movement is in the streets and on the internet -- often led by radicals, sometimes joined uneasily by liberals. The other is pragmatic and mainstream. Both were nonplussed but only temporarily by the outbreak of war, and neither has gone away. The radical antiwar movement opposes war in general and particularly resists the projection of American military and corporate power globally. A minority of this minority, like the group International A.N.S.W.E.R., can fairly be described as Marxist. Many others, with varying degrees of pacifism, simply reject Bush administration plans for global dominion. It was this wing of the antiwar movement that organized the stunning demonstrations three weekends ago, the largest in the history of the world. A great many ordinary non-radicals also joined in,...

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