David's Reviews > The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism

The Limits of Power by Andrew J. Bacevich
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's review
Mar 29, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: political-science
Read in March, 2009

As I read this book, I thought some people could see Bacevich as a conspiriacy theorist. He begins with WWII and shows how the American government starting with Nitze in the Truman administration put forth propaganda to keep American afraid. He then draws a line from Nitze to Rumsfield to show fear has been used to build up the military and start wars when threats weren't real. Remember Iraq's WMD's? Our foreign policy is more driven by egos than any practical purpose.

He also shows the foolishness of starting war, mainly because, if you start a war, you have in the next instant have last control of it. Very scary and depressing.

The other point he makes, one that I've heard Ron Suskind make as well, at the end of Jimmy Carter's administration, Carter made a speech in which he tried to make the point that American's should live within our means and not be so consumer inclined. Carter was criticized by the press and when Reagan ran for office, he said basically, "We are Americans, we have the right to be happy, and happiness means consuming." Bacevich says our consumption has contributed to our decline of a nation.

Bacevich is a former army colonel whose son died in Iraq, teaches at Boston University. He comes across as a moral compassionate man.
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