'Cheap Grace' and the American Way of War


Location: Andrews Auditorium in Geddes Hall


Dr. Andrew Bacevich

Professor of International Relations and History, Boston University;

2012/13 Visiting Research Fellow, Kroc Institure for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame


Download the script of his talk.

"Cheap grace," wrote Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the 1930s, "is the grace we bestow on ourselves" unearned, granting redemption without repentance. Cheap grace also describes the present-day American way of war, which asks of citizens merely that they "support the troops" without actually accepting risk or making sacrifices. The consequences of this approach are profound and entirely pernicious. In addition to embroiling the nation in protracted conflicts that U.S. forces can't win, it eviscerates the concept of citizenship and further hollows out American democracy.

Dr. Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and History, Boston University; 2012-13 Visiting Research Fellow at Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
Andrew Bacevich (Fall 2012) is a leading public intellectual and analyst of U.S. foreign policy and military policy. Bacevich is professor of international relations and history at Boston University. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his Ph.D. in American diplomatic history from Princeton University. Before joining the Boston University faculty, he taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins.
Bacevich is the author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. His previous books include The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism; The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy since World War II (editor); The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War; and American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy. His essays and reviews have appeared in numerous scholarly and general interest publications. In 2004, Bacevich was a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. He also has held fellowships at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
The Kroc Institute is collaborating with Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters to bring Professor Bacevich to campus this semester. He is teaching the seminar course “Ideas and American Foreign Policy” to students in history, peace studies, and political science.
Notre Dame International Security Program
Department of History
Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies