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The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project)

The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism American Empire Project From an acclaimed conservative historian and former military officer a bracing call for a pragmatic confrontation with the nation s problemsThe Limits of Power identifies a profound triple crisis fac

  • Title: The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project)
  • Author: Andrew J. Bacevich
  • ISBN: 9780805088151
  • Page: 422
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From an acclaimed conservative historian and former military officer, a bracing call for a pragmatic confrontation with the nation s problemsThe 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 democracyFrom an acclaimed conservative historian and former military officer, a bracing call for a pragmatic confrontation with the nation s problemsThe 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.

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      Published :2019-02-23T19:11:56+00:00

    1 thought on “The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (American Empire Project)

    1. Brilliant insight into current distortion of Jefferson's claim for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Bacevich, a conservative, can reach across the isle to unite both parties into realizing that limitless consumption and consumerism is not going to have a happy ending.

    2. Excellent read if you are interested in US politics as it relates to the US' place in the world. The author is a former military officer, and not really "liberal" nor "conservative." The viewpoint expounded in the book might be considered radical by the woefully uninformed average American citizen. However, I found it to be not so radical compared to another of my favorite political authors, Noam Chomsky. The main point of the book is that the US as a nation has been consuming more than we can a [...]

    3. This is not the easiest book to read because Bacevich aims a magnifying glass at the current status quo in the United States and deconstructs the historic context that explains how we have become a people so accustomed to living beyond our means who refuse to make sacrifices or do without. He introduces the teaching of the theologian Reinhold Neibuhr who had the foresight during the Cold War to see that America's love of excess would eventually be her undoing.Throughout this book, Bacevich weave [...]

    4. America has unrealistic foreign policy objectives, and is relying far too much on military power to achieve them. While this idea is not new, this book avoids the usual conspiracy theories such as the evil people in charge, or the Capitalism is the Problem, that normally ride along with this type of analysis. Ultimate responsibility is instead placed on the American people and their culture. That is the meaning of “American Exceptionalism” in the sub-title.The book examines three pillars of [...]

    5. Extraordinary. Brilliant. 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.

    6. 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. He also shows how the need for both power and abundance has undermined people's a [...]

    7. Just read in the LA Times today that the US spends more on defense that the next ten countries combined. Reading Bacevich's book gives almost encylopedic litany of reasons why this expenditure does not ensure our safety nor provide us with the mechanism to enforce the will of our government around the world.Bacevich points out that the price of our excessive use of oil is undervalued. The price for a gallon of gas should include our military involvement in the Middle East. The sad fact is that o [...]

    8. Bacevich wrote this book as G. W. Bush was just completing his presidency. His main thesis is that the history of the US is that freedom and abundance go together. He asserts that since the founding of our country, we have associated freedom with at least the hope of having abundant goods.In 1979 Jimmy Carter suggested that the US was in a crisis due to a growing self-indulgence and consumption. Carter called on Americans to consume less, use less oil, and be prepared to sacrifice to get our cou [...]

    9. Retiring a Colonel after 23 years in the Army, Andrew Bacevich is well acquainted with the political nature of projecting American military power abroad. His work in this volume goes far beyond the present administration's doctrine of preemptive war to the heart of the American illusion of indestructibility and how military solutions are overly relied upon to solve national security threats. The stunning conclusion is America's war on terror is disproportionately falling on a small segment of th [...]

    10. I'm about a third into this book, my second of Andrew Bacevich's, whose conservative bona fides, knowledge of military subjects and grasp of The Big Picture are unassailable, IMHO. And I am once again amazed by his dead-on, sobering assessments of not only where we're going as a nation but who we are as a people at this point in world history. Although this book was written in the Shrub's 2nd term, the criticisms of that administration are as applicable to BHO (albeit we are out of Iraq for now) [...]

    11. A conservative historian’s frank, searing analysis Author Andrew J. Bacevich dedicates this book to his son, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Bacevich has long been a strong conservative critic of U.S. policy in Iraq, but it’s difficult to escape the impression that the impassioned indictment set forth here draws on a deep reservoir of personal anguish. With unblinking, unwavering directness, he attacks the illusions, self-deceptions and hypocrit [...]

    12. Every American needs to read this book, and read it soon. Bacevich, a retired Army Colonel and now History Prof in Boston, puts forth the case that we, the American people, have allowed our present economic, military and political status to come about through our own non-involvement and obsession with consumption at any price. It is a convincing argument and although I was somewhat dismayed that the conclusion settled for hopelessness with a touch of condescension, the book as a whole is a grand [...]

    13. Bacevich, West Pointer, Vietnam veteran, conservative, rips Congress and all our recent presidents (especially George the Lesser) and we, the people, for having concocted a foreign policy designed to feed our self indulgence.

    14. This is a serious, balanced commentary on the recent history of American wars, with a focus on the war in Iraq. Bacevich is considered a conservative historian and is an ex-member of our military, which makes his critique of America’s hunger for political and economic power abroad and the price we pay for it at home all the more compelling. One could argue that part of what informs him is his personal tragedy --- he lost a son in Iraq --- but he does not strike me as someone with an agenda and [...]

    15. Andrew Bacevich is one of the great influential critics of American foreign policy today. His critiques of American consumerism and foreign policy are not too distant from those of leftie giants like Chalmers Johnson, so the left-leaning find it easy to like him. On the other hand, he says out front that he is a conservative and revives an older tradition of conservatism that opposes growing government power and entangling overseas adventures, so the right can be comfortable with him as well. To [...]

    16. This is an old-school conservative view on America's foreign policy and its direct connection to our economic self-interest. Bacevich attributes blame for our failed and costly national security strategies on Republican presidents, Democratic presidents, Congress, Special Interests, military leadership, but most of all to the American people for being unwilling to sacrifice excessive consumption.Bacevich provides an easy-to-understand summary of American economic and foreign policy since WWII to [...]

    17. I learned some things about what has led to recent American military and foreign policy decisions, things that have been brewing for a lot longer than I ever realised. However, much of the book served to simply reinforce my already cynical suspicions about American society, the federal government, and "preventive war." I wish, though, that after Bacevich pointed out all that is wrong, he might've provided more concrete suggestions for how we can make things better.

    18. This book could've been done 80 pages into it. While I found Bacevich's perspective interesting, I also found his writing repetitive, using 160+ pages to make the same point over and over again. My advice, read the first 80 or so pages and then the last 12 and you'll have a great sense of the author's point.

    19. This is the most succinctly informative book I've ever read about America's foreign policy faux pas. It's the ideal introduction for anyone skeptical about our current military and political trajectory. In the Trump era, all the problems detailed here are ballooning to even more alarming proportions. The empire is stretching to a point where more and more people are waking up to the reality this sort of behavior and ideology cannot go on much longer without collapsing. This book will tell you ex [...]

    20. Definitely worth reading (or listening to audio version, as I did). I recommend the first and last CDs if you are not interested to listen to the entire book. The introduction and the conclusion offer a good analysis of the whole, our nation's problems and potential solutions in a nutshell. Bacevich refers often to the writings of American pastor, teacher, activist, theologian, and prolific author, Reinhold Niebuhr. The following excerpt is a perfect explanation of what our country/government/le [...]

    21. Bacevich is a retired Army Colonel and a conservative who is not afraid to criticize conservatives. This book urges a rethinking of American policy. Our consumption and willingness to force ourselves on the world while being unwilling to sacrifice anything are hurting us. It's slightly dated as it was written prior to Obama's election, but still relevant.

    22. The Limits of Power is a fascinating deconstruction of the ideology that drives US political and military institutions. Though short, it's a very dense read, with a lot of hard hitting information packed into a relatively small amount of text. Bacevich challenges the US self image of a freedom and peace loving country, always possessed of benign intentions, which constantly finds itself involved in conflicts created by 'evil' figures intent on denying us the peace we seek. Observating the religi [...]

    23. Despite this book being almost 10 years old, it is a must read for everyone! I found almost all of Bacevich's observations applicable to our current political and social structure. The idea that American idealism, thinking we are an omnipotent power, and the scary ramifications are just as true today as they were in 2010. I now understand the history behind why our current president does not trust the intelligence community as well as the power of the American military complex. Bacevich writes i [...]

    24. This book is a concise condemnation of the move to empire by the United States.The author makes the case that American Exceptionalism, the idea that the U.S. system (of government, of economy, of culture) is superior and should be spread across the globe, is nothing new. Those who criticized it (Lincoln, Twain, LaFollette) "scored points but lost the argument".It reached a crescendo with the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war, implemented disastrously in Iraq. At the base of it is the idea that un [...]

    25. I wanted to like this book more, but I couldn't. The first half contains a great deal of moralization about America's wanting too much. But that is a function of economic policy and politics that applies to Greece as much as the US. Bacevich seems confused here. At one point he mentions plunging savings rates, but never mentions intentional monetary policies that have discouraged saving and encouraged debt. How these are related to war is unclear.One probable link in Bacevich's mind is "energy i [...]

    26. I saw Andrew Bacevich's interview with Bill Moyers on PBS last week and was impressed enough by his demeanor, verve, and intelligence to go out and buy the book off right away.Andrew Bacevich is a conservative academic with a distinguished military career, who teaches International Affairs at Boston University. He is a real conservative, not one of those 'I worship triple the size of government, Ronald Reagan Conservatives.' From his writings I actually believe he thinks government should be de [...]

    27. Bacevich argues that the impulses which have led America to wars that seem to have no exit and no deadline have come from within our country, from our own "domestic ambitions, urges and fears" (5). The problem is that we Americans expect the rest of the world to accommodate our way of life, a way of life rooted in consumption. We want "more"! This has led us to a point, as individuals and a country, when we are unable to live within our means. When a president (Carter) dared say we try to live w [...]

    28. Andrew Bacevich's The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2008) has been very widely reviewed (there was a good review in the NYT). I found it a thought-provoking jumble, a book that is perhaps most interesting for the discussions that can ensue from examining its virtues and shortcomings together.The book's primary virtue is its hard-hitting examination of failure, combined with the utter refusal in the U.S. to accept failures as such. Americans want more and more, and are will [...]

    29. American exceptionalism is the idea that the United States is unique and different from other countries and should be an example for other places in the world. This idea has become something of legends through global politics. Andrew Bacevich points out that this idea of exceptionalism along with our expansionist history and the idea of wanting instant gratification have hurt our country (full disclosure: I tend to agree with him). Bacevich runs through some American history (focusing mostly on [...]

    30. If you've ever wondered "what's wrong with America?", this book might be the place to begin. It doesn't matter if you consider yourself on the left or the right; Bacevich's message applies to all. This book is far more academic (though written in clear, accessible language) than political. He writes not to convert Americans, but to awaken them.American Exceptionalism is the idea that America has been created with a special mission, that it has a higher purpose in the world than other nations. Th [...]

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