Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Bacevich’s dense text may not be ideal for an “Andrew Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who’s in power, which may be why those of both the left and right listen to him.”—Bill Moyers. “Andrew Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who’s in power, which may be why those of both the left and right listen to him.”—Bill Moyers An immediate. Andrew J. Bacevich, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism ( New York: Metropolitan Books, ), pp., $ Andrew Bacevich’s latest .
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Yet ironically Iraq may yet prove to be the source of our salvation.
In practice, freedom constantly evolves and in doing so generates new requirements and abolishes old constraints. The indispensable nation’s chief prerogative, self assigned, was to establish and enforce the norms governing the post-Cold War international order. Meanwhile, a stubborn insistence on staying the course militarily ends up jeopardizing freedom at home.
We teeter on the edge of insolvency, desperately trying to balance accounts by relying on our presumably invincible armed forces. The enemy of humility is sanctimony, which gives rise to the conviction that American values and beliefs are andrrew and that the nation itself serves providentially assigned purposes.
Expectations that the world beyond our borders should accommodate the American way of life are hardly new. Bush and members of his administration outlined a campaign against terror that they suggested might last decades, if not longer.
Certain of our own benign intentions, we reflexively assign responsibility for war to others, typically malignant Hitler like figures inexplicably bent on denying us the peace that is our fondest wish. The impulses that have landed us in a war of no exits and no deadlines come from within.
In an immediate sense, it is the soldier who bears the burden of such folly. It only became more itself. The chief responsibility was to preside over a grand project of political- economic convergence and integration commonly referred to as globalization.
But Thought It Did. The first of these crises is economic and cultural, the second political, and the third military. That President Bush is waging his global war on terror to preserve American freedom is no doubt the case. Expending the lives of more American soldiers in hopes of deferring that day is profoundly wrong. In many ways, the condition of the military today offers the most urgent expression of that dysfunction.
American power has limits and is inadequate to the ambitions to which hubris and sanctimony have given rise. Recent events have confirmed much of his argument, often tragically, especially his identification of growing reliance on military action for the solution to international problems.
The Limits of Power
After all, these small events left unaltered what many took to be the defining reality of the contemporary era: During the s, at the urging of politicians and pundits, Americans became accustomed to thinking of their country as “the indispensable nation.
Yet even as they celebrate freedom, Americans exempt the object of their veneration from critical examination. Successive administrations, abetted by Congress, have deepened a looming crisis of debt and dependency through unbridled spending.
Indispensable reading for every citizen. In an earlier age, Americans saw empire as the antithesis of freedom. Bacevich charges that the overwhelming thrust toward military solutions and imperial ambitions undercuts the very successes these people have attained.
Moreover, a state of perpetual national security emergency aggravates the disorders afflicting our political system, allowing the executive branch to accrue ever more authority at the expense of the Congress and disfiguring the Constitution. In the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, few questioned that assumption.
Reliance on government power to impose U. America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror. He reminds us that we can destroy all that we cherish by pursuing an illusion of indestructibility.
He vigorously opposes the argument that high-ranking military commanders should be given more latitude in the field. The connection between these two tendencies is a causal one. The status of the United States as “sole superpower” appeared unassailable.
He offers the options of containment and selective engagement as promising strategic approaches. For the United States, the ongoing war makes plain the imperative of putting America’s house in order.
Robert HeinemanAlfred University Amazon: How did we get to this point? As Vice President Dick Cheney, a self- described conservative, announced when told that cutting taxes might be at odds with invading Iraq, “Deficits don’t matter. Bacevihc site published August 15, When President Bush declared in his second inaugural that the “survival of anrrew in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands,” he was in effect claiming bacevicch the United States as freedom’s chief agent the prerogative of waging war when and where it sees fit, those wars by definition being fought on freedom’s behalf.
The enemy of realism is hubris, which in Niebuhr’s day, and in our own, finds expression in an outsized confidence in nacevich efficacy of American power as an instrument to reshape the global order. Hubris and sanctimony have become the paramount expressions of American statecraft. Humility imposes an obligation of a different sort. History will not judge kindly a people who find nothing amiss in the prospect of endless armed conflict so long as they themselves are spared the effects.
War Without Exits For the United States, the passing of the Cold War yielded neither a “peace dividend” nor anything remotely resembling peace. Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at Boston University and retired U. Simply put, baccevich the American appetite for freedom has grown, so too has our penchant for empire. As members of a community, especially as members of a national community, they choose to contribute less.
Except in the eyes of the deluded and the disingenuous, it has long since become a fool’s errand. As a result, sustaining our pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness at home requires increasingly bacvich Americans look beyond our borders.
The Limits of Power by Andrew Bacevich | American Empire Project
Freedom is the altar at which Americans worship, whatever their nominal religious persuasion. With Americans, even in war time, refusing to curb their appetites, the Long War aggravates the economic contradictions that continue to produce debt and dependency. The Realities and Consequences of U. Meanwhile, from the Carter administration through the Reagan presidency the military was continually building both politically and ideologically baceevich a major effort in the Persian Gulf region.