BACEVICH THE LIMITS OF POWER PDF

Prophetic indictment of the house of cards and hubris that is American exceptionalism. Unflinching and stunningly articulate analysis of the structural flaws in the dominant American narrative. Oct 10, Ed rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to understand How we, the U. Recommended to Ed by: PBS Shelves: essays-politics-science-religion , reviewed , non-fiction Written by a true conservative, ex-military officer and current Boston University professor, this book concisely explains how the actions of citizens, government and the military over the last 45 years have pushed the U.

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Prophetic indictment of the house of cards and hubris that is American exceptionalism. Unflinching and stunningly articulate analysis of the structural flaws in the dominant American narrative. Oct 10, Ed rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to understand How we, the U. Recommended to Ed by: PBS Shelves: essays-politics-science-religion , reviewed , non-fiction Written by a true conservative, ex-military officer and current Boston University professor, this book concisely explains how the actions of citizens, government and the military over the last 45 years have pushed the U.

S into the position it finds itself in today. In the Chapter titled "The Crisis of Profligacy", Bacevich skewers Americans for surrendering their true freedom for the illusory freedom of materialism. As he puts it at the end of the Chapter: "Long accustomed to thinking of the United States as a superpower, Americans have yet to realize that they have forfeited command of their own destiny.

The reciprocal relationship between expansionism, abundance and freedom - each reinforcing the other - no longer exists. The reverse is true: Expansionism squanders American wealth and power while putting freedom at risk. He faults Congress for willingly ceding authority to the Executive Branch, especially when it comes to National Security. All they seem to care about is getting re-elected. He also critiques the ideology of National Security and demonstrates how this ideology actually creates less security.

All politicians and most Americans have accepted this ideology without question. It has given rise to a power elite in Washington that is more interested in protecting its turf than serving the American people. He is particularly critical of the Bush doctrine of preventive war and sees it as both morally and politically corrupt. He also effectively skewers the idea that it is a sacred mission of the U. As he points out at the end of the chapter: "The Wise Men They have forfeited any further claim to trust.

Politicians and military leaders have illusions about our ability to exercise our military power that lead them to expectations that are completely out of line with reality. He discusses the enduring nature of war and its cruel realities, that confound not only those who we choose to govern us but also the Generals who are charged with war operations.

He is particularly harsh on the expertise and leadership of most of the military leaders who have risen to the top since the Vietnam War. He is particularly critical of the lack of strategic thinking on the part of those in charge.

Supporting our troops is not affixing a plastic emblem on a vehicle bumper but rather reining in the illusions of grandeur of our political and military leaders. In his conclusion, Bacevich helps us realize that no matter who we elect as President the illusions and conditions we have created will continue.

There is no easy fix. Promising to restore the status quo of power, abundance and exceptionalism will not give us the results we need to change things. We have created a condition of dependence on imported goods, imported oil, and credit. This is not a good thing. We have somehow built a society based on material expectations where wants have become needs and needs have become rights. Somehow we must accept that there are limits, limits to our power, to our financial strength and limits to seeing Americans as exceptional.

As Reinhold Niebuhr once wrote, "To the end of history, social orders will probably destroy themselves in an effort to prove they are indestructible".

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Andrew Bacevich

Bacevich thinks our political system is busted. To accommodate this hunger, pandering politicians have created an informal empire of supply, maintaining it through constant brush-fire wars. Yet the foreign-policy apparatus meant to manage that empire has grown hideously bloated and has led the nation into one disaster after another. In the dog days of the George W. The nation does seem to be in serious trouble. Figuring out how it got that way is important, and a root-and-branch rethink may be necessary to set things right.

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