Washington Rules by Andrew Bacevich
America's Path to Permanent War (American Empire Project)

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The bestselling author of The Limits of Power critically examines the Washington consensus on national security and why it must change

For the last half century, as administrations have come and gone, the fundamental assumptions about America's military policy have remained unchanged: American security requires the United States (and us alone) to maintain a permanent armed presence around the globe, to prepare our forces for military operations in far-flung regions, and to be ready to intervene anywhere at any time. In the Obama era, just as in the Bush years, these beliefs remain unquestioned gospel.

In a vivid, incisive analysis, Andrew J. Bacevich succinctly presents the origins of this consensus, forged at a moment when American power was at its height. He exposes the preconceptions, biases, and habits that underlie our pervasive faith in military might, especially the notion that overwhelming superiority will oblige others to accommodate America's needs and desires--whether for cheap oil, cheap credit, or cheap consumer goods. And he challenges the usefulness of our militarism as it has become both unaffordable and increasingly dangerous.

Though our politicians deny it, American global might is faltering. This is the moment, Bacevich argues, to reconsider the principles which shape American policy in the world--to acknowledge that fixing Afghanistan should not take precedence over fixing Detroit. Replacing this Washington consensus is crucial to America's future, and may yet offer the key to the country's salvation.


About Andrew Bacevich

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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.
Published August 3, 2010 by Metropolitan Books. 304 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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The defeatism of the war was repudiated, and Ronald Reagan was elected to reassert “America’s calling.” The lack of deep reflection on America’s failure in Vietnam invited continued military interventions throughout the Reagan, Bush I and II and Clinton administrations, while Gen.

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The New York Times

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Truman’s presidency to today, Bacevich argues, Americans have trumpeted the credo that they alone must “lead, save, liberate and ultimately transform the world.” That crusading mission is implemented by what Bacevich caustically calls “the sacred trinity”: “U.S. military power, the Pentagon’s glo...

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The Washington Times

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He contends, for example, that the Department of Defense is misnamed and should be called the “Ministry of Global Policing.” Mr. Bacevich, a retired U.S. Army colonel whose son was killed in the Iraq War, challenges the approach to military policy that administrations of both parties have pursued...

Aug 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Washington Rules: America's P...


What the pugnacious Podhoretz called — get ready for it — “the new isolationism” was, in his words, “hard to distinguish from simple anti-Americanism.” Isolationists — anyone who had opposed the Vietnam War on whatever grounds — believed that the United States was “a force for evil, a menace, a ...

Oct 24 2013 | Read Full Review of Washington Rules: America's P...

The Christian Century

No one has anatomized the misadventures of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with greater historical perspective or critical acuity than Andrew Bacevich.

Oct 05 2010 | Read Full Review of Washington Rules: America's P...

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