Andrew J. Bacevich thinks our political system is busted. In “The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism,” he argues that the. An immediate New York Times bestseller, The Limits of Power offers an unparalleled examination of the profound triple crisis facing America. Bacevich – The Limits of Power () – Synopsis – Free download as Word Doc ( .doc), PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online for free.

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Bacevich charges that the overwhelming thrust toward military solutions and imperial ambitions undercuts the very successes these people have attained.

The Limits of Power by Andrew Bacevich | American Empire Project

This is an old-school conservative view on America’s foreign policy and its direct connection to our economic self-interest. This is a serious, balanced commentary on the recent history of American wars, with a focus on the war in Iraq.

While our military interventionism supports the materialistic freedom he describes, he does not deeply examine the role of corporate profiteering and influence in either the formation of limots policy or the rise of consumerism.

If the nation is to solve its predicament, it will need the revival of a distinctly American approach: It’s time for some humility and reality. Explanations offered are well-reasoned, clear, and often insightful.

The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, by Andrew J. Bacevich | Mises Institute

But if that war had a godfather, it was Ronald Reagan … [whose] real achievement in the Persian Gulf was to make a down payment on an enterprise destined to consume tens of thousands of lives, many American, many others not, along with hundreds of billions of dollars — to date, at least, the ultimate expression of American profligacy.

Since the positions are somewhat self-selecting, only people who have stupid and nationally degrading ideas about national security want or are allowed into those positions in the national [in]security apparatus. He denies powef Reagan was a genuine conservative. No one is spared, least of all the American people. At the base of it is the idea that un This book is a concise condemnation of the move to bacebich by the United States.

He is a real conservative, not one of those ‘I worship triple the size of government, Ronald Reagan Limigs.

And then he ends with a call for saving the planet from climate change. At the base of it is the idea that unlimited consumption is a right requiring the United States to reach out and capture the world in one way or another to provide the endless cornucopia. Bacevich takes a cleaver and cuts through the BS of the past 50 years, making it clear that, as the hourglass on the cover of the book indicates, time is running out for America to redirect itself.


As a Christian I was intrigued that Bacevich quoted Reinhold Niebuhr throughout, clearly Niebuhr’s thought is central to Bacevich’s diagnosis. The institution nominally referred to as the Department of Defense didn’t actually do defense; ilmits specialized in power projection.

Oct 03, Nicholas rated it really liked it Recommends it for: No doubt Washington did hope for enhanced American power, but it hardly follows from this that insulation from European struggles was intended as a temporary expedient. Bacevich includes this quote which really gets at the point by Winston Churchill: Bacevich argues that the impulses which have led America to wars that seem to have no exit limita no deadline have come from within our country, from our own “domestic ambitions, urges and fears” 5.

The maintenance of military supremacy enriches those who are in positions of power, not just monetarily but by way of career advancement and prestige within the system. Observating the religious like fanaticism with which the concept of liberty likits treated in public discourse, he argues that we have defined ‘freedom’ in terms of consumerism and capitalism, and our pursuit of this type of freedom forces us to rely on military power to maintain an empire from which we can draw the resources, credit, and labor necessary to pursue our brand of freedom.

While the armed forces are capable, most campaigns fail to achieve their objectives. Retiring a Colonel after 23 years in the Army, Andrew Bacevich is well acquainted with the political nature of liimits American military power abroad.

Reliance on government power to impose U. We should look within before concluding that our problems can be solved with external intervention. This book urges a rethinking of American policy.

Bacevich wrote this book as G. Throughout this book, Bacevich weave This is not the easiest book to read because Bacevich aims a magnifying glass at the current status quo in the United States bzcevich deconstructs the historic context that explains how we have become a people so accustomed to living beyond our means who refuse to make sacrifices or do without.

He also shows how the need for both power and abundance has undermined people’s a Written by a true conservative, ex-military officer and current Boston University professor, this book concisely explains how the actions of citizens, government and the military over the last 45 years have pushed the U.

Mises Review

This leads to favoring consumption over production cheap importsand increasing debt. For the abused wife, a condition of dependence condemns her to continuing torment. 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 and military. Unflinching and stunningly articulate analysis of the structural flaws in the dominant American narrative.

Four core conditions inform this ideology of national security … [1] history has an identifiable and indisputable purpose … [2] the United States has always embodied, and continues to embody, freedom. We went to Iraq “on the cheap” in terms of troop numbers and generated a power vacuum that the insurgency used to its advantage. This is a measured, well-reasoned and cogently argued statement of how we, as a nation, are eating ourselves alive, ironically destroying our democratic and economic institutions and strength, with our delusions of “destiny” and empire and the projections of military and political force to maintain these self-destructive notions.


Bacevich says that in order for the US to get back on a sound economical basis we must give up the view that the US is exceptional. One probable link in Bacevich’s mind is “energy i I wanted to like this book more, but I couldn’t. He is harsh towards both Bush presidents and especially to Reagan, but he also criticizes Clinton harshly, and though Obama was still a senator with presidential aspirations when the book was released, our current president is shown to be spewing the same rhetoric of America’s right to superiority.

Yet we cannot fault Bacevich for limiting his scope to America, after all, that’s pretty much the point of the book. But nothing is really feasible about any of his “solutions. Among the latter were James Forrestal and Paul Nitze. Bacevich refers often to the writings of American pastor, teacher, activist, theologian, and prolific author, Reinhold Niebuhr. He also points to a self-pertuating national security infrastructure kf culture that fails to serve the American people and an Empire of consumption that requires a huge share of the world’s enegy to be sustained.

What is wrong with the foreign policy of the national security state? He points out that we don’t need a bigger army but rather a focus bacevkch a more modest foreign policy so the soldiers are given tasks consistent with their capabilities.

As Reinhold Niebuhr once wrote, “To the end poaer history, social orders will probably destroy themselves in an effort to prove they are indestructible”.

He vigorously opposes the argument that high-ranking military commanders should be given more latitude in the field. This book will tell you exactly how we got to this point and why, alongside making a few suggestions for a change of course too sane for our crazy politicians. Bacevich writes in a way that makes the insights in this book approachable and unfortunately, plausible to those who pay attention to current national and world politics.

Bacevich argues that America is not learning the lessons it bcevich to learn from these wars. Political leaders have too often confused strategy with ideology, and, in turn, military leaders have tended to mistake operations for strategy.