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Arts & Culture

American Umpire

Airs Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV


"American Umpire," a thought-provoking documentary about U.S. foreign policy, chronicles how the United States became the world's policeman and questions how long the U.S. must continue to play this role.

Narrated by Jim Lehrer, formerly of "The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour," and written by award-winning historian Elizabeth Cobbs, the film explores the history of American military intervention and the future of America's military commitment abroad.

After detailing the principles that guided U.S. foreign policy for 150 years and the sea change that followed WWII, the latter half of the one-hour documentary examines America's contemporary role on the international stage.


The film concludes by asking whether it's time to rethink our current policies, scale down military spending, and bring our allies back into the game as fellow umpires.

"American Umpire" combines archival footage with candid interviews from former secretaries of state George Shultz, Madeleine Albright and Condoleeza Rice; General Jim Mattis and Lt. General Karl Eikenberry, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan; Nobel Prize winner Michael Spence; Pulitzer Prize winner David Kennedy; and eight scholars from around the world.

"American Umpire is on Facebook.

Distributed by American Public Television