Hirsh, Michael 1957–
Hirsh, Michael 1957–
CAREER: Journalist and author. Lecturer and commentator on television and radio networks such as Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. Associated Press, Tokyo, Japan, correspondent covering trade issues, national security, politics, and business; Associated Press, New York, NY, national editor; Institutional Investor, Tokyo, Japan, Asia bureau chief, 1992–94; Newsweek, New York, NY, senior writer, 1994–97; Newsweek International, senior editor in New York, NY, 1994–97, Washington, DC, bureau correspondent, 1997, diplomatic correspondent covering foreign policy, U.S. State Department, and U.S. Treasury, 1998–99, senior editor and chief diplomatic correspondent, 1999–2000, managing editor of Issues 2001; Newsweek USA, Washington, DC, foreign editor of international news coverage, 2001–02, senior editor of business and economics, 2002–.
AWARDS, HONORS: Deadline Club Award, 1997, for investigative reporting exposing IRS's abusive practices; Overseas Press Club Award for best magazine reporting from abroad, 2001, for Newsweek's coverage of terrorism; Ed Cunningham Award (with others) for best magazine reporting from abroad, 2002, for Newsweek's coverage of terrorism; National Magazine Award, for Newsweek's coverage of the war on terror.
At War with Ourselves: Why America Is Squandering Its Chance to Build a Better World, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including Foreign Affairs, Harper's, Washington Monthly, and Newsweek's Issues 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: American journalist Michael Hirsh has worked as a foreign editor, chief diplomatic correspondent, and senior editor for Newsweek magazine. A former trade and business correspondent in Japan for the Associated Press and the Institutional Investor, Hirsh played an important role in Newsweek's award-winning coverage of the September 11, 2001, attacks and the war on terror. Hirsh also won an award for his work in identifying the al Qaeda threat to the United States six months before the attacks occured.
In his book At War with Ourselves: Why America Is Squandering Its Chance to Build a Better World Hirsh provides his insight into U.S. foreign policy during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, citing reasons for the nation's failure to make the most of its unique and powerful position in the world. Rather than isolate itself and try to go it alone, argues Hirsh, the United States should strive to make a better world by relying on the international organizations it played a chief role in creating: the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. Hirsh uses the term Uberpower to describe the United States as the world's ultimate superpower, a power that could create a better world.
Many reviewers called Hirsh's book a voice of reason and moderation, based solidly on facts. In a review for the Boston Globe, however, Rich Barlow commented that Hirsh's moderation "initially comes off as the Sybil of foreign policy, split by multiple personalities…. Hirsh's ideal president would be a composite: George W. Clinton, where 'W.' stands for Wilson." Barlow concluded that the book is ultimately "a coherent and humane approach to this confusing, war-torn world in which the most dangerous war … is the philosophical battle over America's role."
Also commenting on Hirsh's discussion of President Woodrow Wilson's accomplishments, Foreign Affairs contributor Walter Russell Mead wrote, "This Wilsonian foreign policy leads the United States toward infinite engagements and the danger of overstretch." Jay Pawlowski, writing in the Rocky Mountain News, found that Hirsh's detailed study of the Clinton and Bush administrations "makes for a concise and coherent synthesis of the past decade's headlines into a narrative that illuminates our present situation."
At War with Ourselves also discusses the U.S. support of Osama bin Laden and the Afghan mujahadeen during the Russian invasion of the early 1980s and America's subsequent abandonment of Afghanistan. As Pawlowski explained, "Hirsh argues [that] … it is crucial to rebuild the societies of our 'enemies' into nations that can participate in the international community rather than fester on their own, seething in contempt." Hirsh states that contempt is the root cause of both the formation of al Qaeda and the September 11 attacks. This reasoning led Bill Keller of the New York Times Book Review to conclude that Hirsh's book includes "well informed, historically literate, nonideological common sense."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2003, Bryce Christensen, review of At War with Ourselves: Why America Is Squandering Its Chance to Build a Better World, p. 1716.
Boston Globe, September 3, 2003, Rich Barlow, review of At War with Ourselves, p. D2.
Economist, August 9, 2003, "Good Intentions, American Power," p. 70.
Foreign Affairs, November-December, 2003, Walter Russell Mead, review of At War with Ourselves.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of At War with Ourselves, p. 658.
New American, February 11, 2002, "'Conspiracy Theorists' Take Note!," p. 5.
New York Times Book Review, June 22, 2003, Bill Keller, "Does Not Play Well with Others," section 7, p. 9.
Publishers Weekly, May 19, 2003, review of At War with Ourselves, p. 65.
Rocky Mountain News, June 27, 2003, Jay Pawlowski, "Making Case for U.S. as Global Nanny," p. D29.
Globalist Online, http://www.theglobalist.com/ (May 28, 2004), "Michael Hirsh."
Michael Hirsh Home Page, http://www.mhirsh.com (May 28, 2004).
MSNBC Web site, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ (May 14, 2004), "Michael Hirsh, Senior Editor."
World Economic Forum Web site, http://www.weforum.org/ (May 28, 2004), "Michael Hirsh."