alternative text for graphic

Home | Intellectuals  |  Politics  |  Education

sample alt text
Chester Bowles, Diary Entry, “Some Personal Notes on the Debacle of 1961,” 1961.
Chester Bowles Papers. Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University.

Habib Moody ’10, Chester Bowles on Expertise

previous button next button
Bowles skewers his direct superior, the brilliant but aloof Secretary of State Dean Rusk. A troubled relationship with Rusk was his greatest challenge as Under Secretary, and ultimately the reason for his dismissal. A Rhodes Scholar, Rusk had previously served as a college professor and as President of the Rockefeller Foundation. For Bowles, Rusk’s personality is poorly equipped for his new position. As a leader, Rusk’s pedantic, inhibited style is inadequate for the task of inspiring and shaping the unwieldy Foreign Service. As a policymaker, his reliance on his tremendous intellect and technical proficiency leads him to exercise power on the basis of abstractions rather than the human factors that ultimately drive international affairs, like anger, history, and religion. Bowles argues instead for prolonged efforts to grasp the underlying political texture of culture and passion that he is familiar with from his long experience overseas, thus promoting constructive empathy, rather than useless exasperation.