In his address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Trump turned to a slogan he trumpeted during his campaign and his inaugural address to describe American trade policy. “America First”. Host Neal Conan asks whether the slogan more accurately describes a nationalist revision of American foreign policy that threatens to make the world more chaotic and more dangerous. Plus we revisit interviews on the original AmericaFirst movement, when the famous aviator Charles Lindberghcampaigned to keep the US on the sidelines of the Second World War and on the issue that underlies much debate on US foreign Policy since the 1890s – intervention.
Stephen Kinzer is a Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute at Brown University. He has also taught at Northwestern University and Boston University. He currently writes a column on World Affairs for the Boston Globe. Kinzer is the author of several books on U.S. foreign policy. He spent more than 20 years as a correspondent for the New York Times, mostly reporting from foreign bureaus.
Paul Miller is the Associate Director of the Clements Center for History, Strategy & Statecraft at The University of Texas at Austin. From 2007 – September 2009, Miller served on the National Security Council staff as Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was also a CIA analyst in the Office of South Asian Analysis, and served in Afghanistan as a military intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army.
Lynne Olson is the author of Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941 and several other books that deal with the second world war. Olson is a former correspondent for AP and White House reporter for the Baltimore Sun.
How should the United States act in the world? Americans cannot decide. Sometimes we burn with righteous anger, launching foreign wars and deposing governments. Then we retreat―until the cycle begins again.
Revealing a piece of forgotten history, Stephen Kinzer transports us to the dawn of the twentieth century, when the United States first found itself with the chance to dominate faraway lands. That prospect thrilled some Americans. It horrified others. Their debate gripped the nation.