America's Path to Permanent War
By Andrew Bacevich
(Metropolitan Books, Paperback, 9780805094220, 304pp.)
Publication Date: March 29, 2011
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"Tough-minded, bracing, and intelligent . . . the country is lucky to have a fierce, smart peacemonger like Bacevich."—The New York Times Book Review
Hailed as "brilliant" (The Washington Post), Washington Rules is Andrew J. Bacevich's bestselling challenge to the conventional wisdom that 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. Adopted by administrations on both sides of the political spectrum during the past half century, this Washington consensus on national security has become foreign policy gospel when, according to Bacevich, it has outlasted its usefulness.
With vivid, incisive analysis, Bacevich assails and exposes the preconceptions, biases, and habits that underlie this 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. Instead, Bacevich argues that we must reconsider the principles which shape American policy in the world and acknowledge that fixing Afghanistan should not take precedence over fixing Detroit. As we enter a period when our militarism has become both unaffordable and increasingly dangerous, replacing this Washington consensus is crucial to America's future and may yet offer the key to the country's salvation.
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 Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War and The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism and The New American Militarism. 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 holds a Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University, and taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins University prior to joining the faculty at Boston University in 1998. He is the recipient of a Lannan Award and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.