Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security--from World War II to the War on Terrorism
It has long been a truism that prior to George W. Bush, politics stopped at the waterÕs edgeÑthat is, that partisanship had no place in national security. In Arsenal of Democracy, historian Julian E. Zelizer shows this to be demonstrably false: partisan fighting has always shaped American foreign policy and the issue of national security has always been part of our domestic conflicts. Based on original archival findings, Arsenal of Democracy offers new insights into nearly every major national security issue since the beginning of the cold war: from FDRÕs masterful management of World War II to the partisanship that scarred John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, from Ronald ReaganÕs fight against Communism to George W. BushÕs controversial War on Terror. A definitive account of the complex interaction between domestic politics and foreign affairs over the last six decades, Arsenal of Democracy is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics of national security.
What people are saying - Write a review
ARSENAL OF DEMOCRACY: The Politics of National Security--From World War II to the War on TerrorismUser Review - Kirkus
Wide-ranging examination of the nexus between domestic politics and foreign policy during the past 60 years.In 1940, Franklin Roosevelt urged his countrymen to turn America into "the great arsenal of ... Read full review
Julian Zelizer has compiled comprehensive scholarship of the politics of national security, since 1945. Arsenal of Democracy is not a debate over national security policy, but rather a description of how the hawks and doves reel in the air over Washington. This approach circumvents the pragmatic and ideological arguments behind various security strategies and focuses exclusively on the way those arguments are appropriated and marketed by politicians, specifically the interplay of power and rivalry between the White House and Congress.
The author chooses to present his findings in chronological, episodic order that plays to readers' existing knowledge of the national security narrative, from the long telegram through suspension of habeus corpus. Nothing in between is missed. Zelizer covers McCarthyism, Vietnam (and its attendants The Great Society and Watergate), detente, SDI ("Star Wars"), and 9-11 all in turn. In so doing, he demonstrates the unbroken partisan strife that connects the present through to the past, contending that the party who best owns the mantle of "tough on national security" will win power, despite the fact that such toughness tends to become a liability over time. Mr. Zelizer demonstrates how a tough stance on security leads to pursuit of extraordinary power, particularly within the White House.
It is a story of cyclical metamorphosis, as parties co-opt the potency of security as a brand to win elections, but fail to prevent the brand from being recast by the opposition. Rather than attack hawkishness as the problem, opposition typically styles its target as a betrayer of the trust. In this way, the mantle of security remains supernaturally charged and is continually chased as a prize. The cycle repeats, ad infinitum.
1 FOUR QUESTIONS
3 HOW THEDEMOCRATS WON WORLD WAR II
4 BUILDING THE NATIONAL SECURITY STATE
5 MAKING CHINA RIGHT
6 HIGH NOON AT MIDCENTURY
7 MAKE MISSILES NOT BUDGETS
8 THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS REVISITED
13 RAMBO MEETS THE DEER HUNTER
15 WHAT COMES NEXT?
16 FIGHTING CONSERVATISM ON CAPITOL HILL
18 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?
19 POLITICS AT THE WATERS EDGE