Sunday, April 17, 2011

Patterson School of Diplomacy, University of Kentucky, Screens Steven Soderbergh's Che to Commemorate Fiftieth Anniversary of Bay of Pigs

According to Robert Farley, who is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Patterson School, University of Kentucky.

See his entry at Lawyers, Guns and Murder: "Happy Bay of Pigs Day!"

Seriously. This is not a joke.

Farley indicates that watching the Che movie is "In support of my COIN seminar this semester..." Farley's seminar spends a week reading books on "the other side," including two on Che Guevara. I'm looking over the assigned readings, and it's "assumed" that students will read David Petraeus', U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which is arguably the most important work on counter-insurgency published in the post-Vietnam period. Hopefully they'll have read it in time for its "deconstruction" in Week 4: Time for the Deconstruction of Field Manual 3-24. But better to "assume," since Farley wouldn't want to overload the students. In Week 12 they have to wade through "The Runaway General," at Rolling Stone, the article that helped bring the early retirement of General Stanley McChrystal, former Commander of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Some former uniformed personnel had only the warmest thanks for McChrystal's service, and no doubt McChrystal wasn't thrilled that President Obama was handing out medals to troops who did not kill the enemy. Now that's important! So I'm sure Professor Farley has students spend extra time studying the administration's debilitating Rules of Engagement (ROE) that have placed American lives at risk. And that's not all! Farley features Firedoglake's Spencer Ackerman as a guest speaker during that same week. Ackerman, who's also a military affairs writer at Wired, infamously quipped on Christmas 2009 that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempted airline bombing was "a joke" about how some guy was trying to "set off firecrackers" on a plane in a "failed bid for relevance." Boy, that's one crack seminar!

But hey, rejoice! Our future diplomats are in the best of hands! As I note at Farley's post:

The Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce is a propaganda outlet for the Cuban Revolution? Hey, way to train America’s next generation of diplomats! No doubt students get target practice as well, so they’ll be prepared to put the bullet in the next generation of counter-revolutionaries — just like Che!!

Whooo heee!!!!
RELATED: Some alternative readings for Farley's next "counter-insurgency" seminar. See Adam Hassner, "Why The 50th Anniversary of The Bay of Pigs Should Matter To All Who Cherish Freedom." And Babal├║ Blog, "April 17, 1961."

BONUS: From Ron Radosh, "Marx in the American Academy: When Will its High Priests Ever Learn?"

EXTRA: At ABC News, "Cubans Mark 50th Anniversary of Failed Bay of Pigs Invasion: Country Celebrates 50 Years of Staying Power and Standing up to America."


Dana said...

[sigh] I was a graduate student at the Patterson School in 1980-81, and I can assure you that, under the then Director, Dr Vincent Davis, there'd never have been any question about the loyalties of teh Director.

However, reading Dr Farley's syllabus doesn't make me believe that much has changed. When you wrote, "I'm looking over the assigned readings, and it's 'assumed' that students will read David Petraeus', U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which is arguably the most important work on counter-insurgency published in the post-Vietnam period. Hopefully they'll have read it in time for it's "deconstruction" in Week 4: Time for the Deconstruction of Field Manual 3-24," it doesn't appear that you followed the links through to their conclusion: the "deconstruction" is to be done by Colonel Gian P. Gentile, a History Professor at West Point.

The Patterson School was always reasonably conservative when I lived in Kentucky, and a large part of that is because the school's mission was more in the International Commerce area than in Diplomacy. Real world economics was stressed, not the pablum theories of Marxism.

Anonymous said...

This article is either a funny joke or the product of someone with way too much free time on their hands.

Viva la Revoluci├│n!

EComCon said...
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EComCon said...

I am a current student of the Patterson School concentrating in National Security and Intelligence. I am also a staunch small government, Barry Goldwater-button-wearing, card carrying conservative.

Dr Farley certainly has his opinions outside the classroom, but while class in in session he is nothing less than a consummate professional who encourages a robust debate.

The film Che was shown over a three week period (during 2 viewings) as a fully optional supplement to a course being offered this semester on Counter-Insurgency. I myself did not attend these showings due to work-commitments as well as due to my personal distaste for the piece of filth that was Mr Guevara.

The film was not shown as a commemoration of JFK's failed foreign policy venture at the Bay of Pigs, the timing is coincidental regarding the anniversary, and is instead due to the hectic nature of our academic calendar this time of year. Our course on COIN has seen a great share of debate regarding the restrictive ROE that you refer to, and I am sure you would be more than pleasure with the nature of discussion within said class.

The Patterson school has its share of frustrations. There is a lot of rotgut in academia, I've seen it first hand. The Patterson school, however, is host to the only type of diversity of any import, intellectual diversity. This is represented by our student body, and encouraged by a plurality of our faculty. A year into my time at the Patterson School, this Gadsden flag-owning, Tea Party attending conservative is content with his decision to study at such a fine program.

You get a lot of stuff right on this blog, but this isn't on target my friend.

Matthew Longacre said...

I also currently attends the Patterson School.

Unlike you and your blog, the Patterson School prides itself in the ability to show a diversity of world perspectives, analyze them from a dispassionate lens, and discuss their pros and cons like professional political analysts. The tools and skills obtained after even a short time in the Patterson School lead to such a level of acumen and professionalism that I, who you would probably inaccurately describe as a Communist wacko, can sit in the same space as a proud Tea Party member and discuss people, policy, and politics without bursting into expletives.

We are not a people of strict partisanship; our political savvy allows us to comfortably formulate our own opinions based upon thorough research and careful deliberation. We are comfortable in our own skin.

I've developed a very simple rule of thumb in the past year of Patterson classes; I respect your opinion if you've put in the leg work. You are clearly so insecure of even considering an opinion outside the narrow margins of your own that you convict without even building up the courage to do something as frightening as make a phone call for clarification.

Also, you don't understand satire.

The Social Secretary said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I am also a student currently attending the Patterson School and you assume incorrectly. I agree with EComCon. The COIN class looks at both sides of the counterinsurgency debate and is one of the best classes I have taken so far. Sure, there's a lot of reading, but as I am in the military myself, I thoroughly enjoy the debate that reading opposing material from my own political worldview presents.

The Patterson School presents the facts and lets you lean to the direction in which you want to go-left, right or independent. That's the mark of a good school.

Shaft (He's a Bad Mutha' Shut Yo' Mouth) said...

I'm a current Patterson School student and a conservative Republican. Your blog post is way off the mark and you're an idiot.