Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Bacevich’s dense text may not be ideal for an “Andrew Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who’s in power, which may be why those of both the left and right listen to him.”—Bill Moyers. “Andrew Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who’s in power, which may be why those of both the left and right listen to him.”—Bill Moyers An immediate. Andrew J. Bacevich, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism ( New York: Metropolitan Books, ), pp., $ Andrew Bacevich’s latest .

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Political leaders have too poder confused strategy with ideology, and, in turn, military leaders have tended to mistake operations for strategy.

Centered on consumption and individual autonomy, the exercise of freedom is contributing to the gradual erosion of our national power.

Bacevich who identifies three major problems facing our democracy: Meanwhile, a stubborn insistence on staying the course militarily ends up jeopardizing freedom at home. Freedom is the altar at which Americans worship, whatever their nominal religious persuasion.

He asserts emphatically that the logical culmination of this theoretical school was the doctrine of preventive war that rationalized the invasion of Iraq, an action that in the long run threatens both the domestic and the international integrity of the United States.

It argues that the limitts of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, however malevolent, cannot explain why the United States today finds itself enmeshed in seemingly never- ending conflict.

Although Americans seem to be intent on saddling the rest of the world with their form of freedom, their domestic profligacy and military adventurism have made them more dependent on foreign resources, such as oil, and more vulnerable to attacks from renegade terrorist elements.

The American Empire Project poses questions to American thinkers and writers: He remains ominously pessimistic that any elected leader can change the current course of U. A grand bazaar provides an inadequate basis upon which to erect a vast empire.


Expending the lives of more American soldiers in hopes of deferring that day is profoundly wrong. Reliance on government power to impose U. Iraq has revealed the futility of counting on military power to sustain powet habits of profligacy.

The Limits of Power

If anything, the reverse is true: Niebuhr entertained few illusions about the nature of man, the possibilities of politics, or the pliability of history.

Successive administrations, bxcevich by Congress, have deepened a looming crisis of debt and dependency through unbridled spending. But Thought It Did. Instead, what was hailed as oimits historic victory gave way almost immediately to renewed unrest and conflict. The Limits of Power will suggest that this heedless worship of freedom has been a mixed blessing.

Bill Moyers Journal . THE LIMITS OF POWER | PBS

In lkmits regard, the neoconservative writer Robert Kagan is surely correct in observing that “America did not change on September In the years that followed, Americans became inured to reports of U. These are fundamental questions, which cannot be dismissed with a rhetorical wave of the hand. The End of American Exceptionalism Author: This book challenges that supposition. In many ways, the condition of the military today offers the most linits expression of that dysfunction.

Yet to charge them with primary responsibility is to credit them with undeserved historical significance. Inthe Pentagon was prepared for any number of contingencies in the Balkans or Northeast Asia or the Persian Gulf. Bush and members of his administration outlined a campaign against terror that they suggested might last decades, if not longer. In practice, freedom constantly evolves and in doing so generates new requirements and abolishes old constraints. Well- trained and equipped U.

During the s, at the urging of politicians and pundits, Americans became accustomed to thinking of their country as “the indispensable nation.

That President Bush is waging his global war on terror to preserve American freedom is no doubt the case. The chief responsibility was to preside over a grand project of political- economic convergence and integration commonly referred to as globalization.

After all, these small events left unaltered what many took to be the defining reality of the contemporary era: Robert HeinemanAlfred University. In many respects, Americans are freer today than ever before, with more citizens than ever before enjoying unencumbered access to the promise of American life.


As pastor, teacher, activist, theologian, and prolific author, Niebuhr was a towering presence in American intellectual life from the s through the s. What is its content? Freedom is not static, nor is it necessarily benign.

The Limits of Power by Andrew Bacevich | American Empire Project

As Bacevich puts it, President Reagan told Americans what they wanted to hear. The global war on terror is no exception. The common understanding of freedom that prevailed in December when the United States entered the war powdr Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany has long since become obsolete. In an earlier age, Americans saw empire as the antithesis of freedom. In the Pentagon, senior military officers spoke in terms of “generational war,” lasting up to a century.

Meanwhile, from the Carter administration through the Reagan presidency the military was continually building both politically and ideologically for a major effort in the Persian Gulf region. The collective capacity of bacfvich domestic political economy to satisfy those appetites has not kept pace with demand. August 15, Andrew J.

Unfortunately, because these ideas have become firmly ensconced among the oligarchy of those personally loyal to the president, the range of options in foreign policy has been severely limited. That transformation has produced a paradoxical legacy.

They are of our own baceich. An Anatomy of American Nationalism. For him, the upshot is that the soldiers are superbly trained and courageous, but their effectiveness has been severely weakened by the environment created by bumbling leaders, both political bacevicn military.