The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism

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Macmillan, Aug 5, 2008 - Political Science - 224 pages
39 Reviews

From an acclaimed conservative historian and former military officer, a bracing call for a pragmatic confrontation with the nation's problems

The 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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User Review  - Chris_El - LibraryThing

This book contains some good questions about where we are as a nation and what we are making priorities by how we spend our money and how we excercise force with our military might. This was written ... Read full review

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User Review  - bke - LibraryThing

We Americans are in denial. as long as they insist that the power of the USA is without limits, they will continue to guzzle imported oil, binge on imports, dream imperial dreams. We will ignore the ... Read full review

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Contents

War Without Exits
1
1 The Crisis of Profligacy
15
2 The Political Crisis
67
3 The Military Crisis
124
The Limits of Power
170
Afterword
183
Notes
190
Acknowledgments
202
Index
204
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of colonel. He is the author of The New American Militarism, among other books. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the recipient of a Lannan award and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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