In The Icarus Syndrome, Peter Beinart examines three examples from the past century where America overestimated its power- World War I, Vietnam, and Iraq. In each case, a new generation came about during eras of success with no memory of the nation's past mistakes. Every time the country suffered the same fate as Icarus, the mythological Greek figure who perished by flying too close to the sun. But in each instance, says Beinart, America gained new wisdom and learned to reconcile its ambitions with the realities of the world. He joins David Lazarus to discuss the history of American hubris and how an understanding of its risks can shape foreign policy.
Peter Beinart, author of The Icarus Syndrome: The History of American Hubris (Harper). He is an associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. Beinart is a former fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.