The Limits of Power

The Limits of Power

The End of American Exceptionalism

Paperback - 2009
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The Limits of Power identifies a profound triple crisis facing America: the economy, in remarkable disarray, can no longer be fixed by relying on expansion abroad; the government, transformed by an imperial presidency, is a democracy in form only; U.S. involvement in endless wars, driven by a deep infatuation with military power, has been a catastrophe for the body politic. These pressing problems threaten all of us, Republicans and Democrats. If the nation is to solve its predicament, it will need the revival of a distinctly American approach: the neglected tradition of realism. Andrew J. Bacevich, uniquely respected across the political spectrum, offers a historical perspective on the illusions that have governed American policy since 1945. The realism he proposes includes respect for power and its limits; sensitivity to unintended consequences; aversion to claims of exceptionalism; skepticism of easy solutions, especially those involving force; and a conviction that the books will have to balance. Only a return to such principles, Bacevich argues, can provide common ground for fixing America's urgent problems before the damage becomes irreparable.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, 2009.
Edition: 1st paperback ed.
ISBN: 9780805090161
0805090169
Characteristics: 213 p. ; 21 cm.

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kpelish
Apr 15, 2017

A well-written book by a man who has many trenchant observations to share about the U.S. and how our culture has evolved from active "citizen" to passive "consumer". He is esp. good at sketching history, military and governmental infighting, and how we came to accept perpetual war as our bargain to keep a lifestyle once called "non-negotiable". However, the constant harping on how stupid Americans are is a weakness. There are green shoots of change. It may be that the pointless death of his son--to whom he lovingly dedicates this book--has influenced his dark vision of and for the U.S.

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seaxfamx
Sep 15, 2014

If you are wondering how we got into the situation we're in as a country, especially internationally in Iraq and Afghanistan, this book explains it. Vast segments of the American people are betraying their country by settling for being consumers instead of citizens. This book is a devastating indictment of the imperial presidency of George W. Bush and his administration and by implication provides insight into how and why Obama is doing some of the things he is internationally.

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StarGladiator
Apr 10, 2014

This guy, Bacevich, really, really, really needs to carefully read and study the WTO's Financial Services Agreement, paying close attention to its Fifth Protocol.

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Blue_Ox_22 Mar 19, 2012

In the wake of 9/11, these puerile expectations—that armed force wielded by a strong-willed chief executive could do just about anything—reached an apotheosis of sorts. Having manifestly failed to anticipate or prevent a devastating attack on American soil, President Bush proceeded to use his ensuing global war on terror as a pretext for advancing grandiose new military ambitions married to claims of unbounded executive authority—all under the guise of keeping Americans "safe." With the president denying any connection between the events of September 11 and past U.S. policies, his declaration of a global war nipped in the bud whatever inclination the public might have entertained to reconsider those policies. In essence, Bush counted on war both to concentrate greater power in his own hands and to divert attention from the political, economic, and cultural bind in which the United States found itself as a result of its own past behavior. (p.132)

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