May's Reviews > The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War

The New American Militarism by Andrew J. Bacevich
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Jun 13, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: political-science
Read in January, 2009

Bacevich's work is a compelling argument American Militarism. It does a good job of showing how the "Militarism" which is taken for granted as "the way it is" is actually an oddity given the history of this nation and it's founding forefathers.

Some notes:
1) Weinburger Doctrine - Specified tests as preconditions for putting American troops in harms way. He would have this test be put toward all military action post-cold war in the middle east
2) The thematic of War as ugly or as a last resort vs pre-emptive war. In chapter three he speaks about one of the latter's larger advocates Norman Podhoretz's 6 neoconservatives truths
- Evil is real
- For evil to prevail, those confronted by it must be flinching from duty. (Suggests that Hilter's legacy is a permanent standing army in the US).
- America must alone be the global leader.
- There is a relationship between stability at home and abroad (i.e. in this regard, he was reacting against the civil rights movement during his time).
- Felt a crisis existed post-Vietnam for which the US must take action (i.e. the loss showed a failure in leadership and the US needed to re-establish it's military might).
- The antidote to crisis is leadership. (i.e. Reagan, etc...)
3) In Chapter 3: California Dreaming, he discusses how popular press has changed since WW2 from being anti-war to pro-military making claims that the film industry played a major role through movies which romanticized war.
4) Discusses oil issues which have served to justify and frustrate the ability to not take action. Hints at the close relationship between oil, economy, and US prosperity. Suggests that Carter may have missed it by thinking that the US would be ok, with belt tightening.

My thoughts are:
1) How do we think about President Obama's recent activity in the middle east? Does it look like his policies will fall in line with the past?
2) While the author feels that no president since Reagan has been particularly good at reducing oil dependence, are there potentially seeds of change that have been planted?
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04/20/2016 marked as: read

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message 1: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Divertie He doesn't like Reagan much either. If you want to know what he thinks of Obama's contributions read his newest book America's War For the Middle East, copyright 2016. By the last paragraph of the book he is calling for a third party in America, an anti-war one explicitly! I spent 33 years working in or for the military and he sounds like a Bernie kinda guy to me. I know others from the same background as Mr. Bacevich and myself and there are a lot of Bernie supporters amongst them. Its what he sounds like to me in his newest book and sharing his background as part of our military. We don't like war, we are there so there won't be war at all. Well, that changed and it all got very complicated when WE got so aggressive. Makes you sad...


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