American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U. S. Diplomacy

Paperback (Print)
Rent
Rent from BN.com
$8.37
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 10/26/2014
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$20.27
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$15.30
(Save 40%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (23) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $18.05   
  • Used (17) from $1.99   

Overview

In a challenging, provocative book, Andrew Bacevich reconsiders the assumptions and purposes governing the exercise of American global power. Examining the presidencies of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton--as well as George W. Bush's first year in office--he demolishes the view that the United States has failed to devise a replacement for containment as a basis for foreign policy. He finds instead that successive post-Cold War administrations have adhered to a well-defined "strategy of openness." Motivated by the imperative of economic expansionism, that strategy aims to foster an open and integrated international order, thereby perpetuating the undisputed primacy of the world's sole remaining superpower. Moreover, openness is not a new strategy, but has been an abiding preoccupation of policymakers as far back as Woodrow Wilson.

Although based on expectations that eliminating barriers to the movement of trade, capital, and ideas nurtures not only affluence but also democracy, the aggressive pursuit of openness has met considerable resistance. To overcome that resistance, U.S. policymakers have with increasing frequency resorted to force, and military power has emerged as never before as the preferred instrument of American statecraft, resulting in the progressive militarization of U.S. foreign policy.

Neither indictment nor celebration, American Empire sees the drive for openness for what it is--a breathtakingly ambitious project aimed at erecting a global imperium. Large questions remain about that project's feasibility and about the human, financial, and moral costs that it will entail. By penetrating the illusions obscuring the reality of U.S. policy, this book marks an essential first step toward finding the answers.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe

[A] straightforward "critical interpretation of American statecraft in the 1990s"...he is straightforward, too, in establishing where he stands on the political spectrum about US foreign policy...Bacevich insists that there are no differences in the key assumptions governing the foreign policy of the administrations of Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II—and this will certainly be the subject of passionate debate...Bacevich's argument persuades...by means of engaging prose as well as the compelling and relentless accumulation of detail...Bring[s] badly needed [perspective] to troubled times.
— James A. Miller

The Guardian

For everyone there's Andrew Bacevich's American Empire, an intelligent, elegantly written, highly convincing polemic that demonstrates how the motor of US foreign policy since independence has been the need to guarantee economic growth.
— Dominick Donald

Across the Board

Andrew Bacevich's remarkably clear, cool-headed, and enlightening book is an expression of the United States' unadmitted imperial primacy. It's as bracing as a plunge into a clear mountain lake after exposure to the soporific internationalist conventional wisdom...Bacevich performs an invaluable service by restoring missing historical context and perspective to today's shallow, hand-wringing discussion of Sept. 11...Bacevich's brave, intelligent book restores our vocabulary to debate anew the United States' purpose in the world.
— Richard J. Whalen

Washington Monthly

To say that Andrew Bacevich's American Empire is a truly realistic work of realism is therefore to declare it not only a very good book, but also a pretty rare one. The author, a distinguished former soldier, combines a tough-minded approach to the uses of military force with a grasp of American history that is both extremely knowledgeable and exceptionally clear-sighted. This book is indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the background to U.S. world hegemony at the start of the 21st century; and it is also a most valuable warning about the dangers into which the pursuit and maintenance of this hegemony may lead America.
— Anatol Levin

Political Studies Review

American Empire is an immensely thoughtful book. Its reflections go beyond the narrow realm of U.S. security policy and demonstrate a deep understanding of American history and culture.
— David Hastings Dunn

Walter A. McDougall
I have long suspected our nation's triumphs and trials owed much to the American genius for solipsism and self-deception. Bacevich has convinced me of it by holding up a mirror to self-styled idealists and realists alike. Read all the books you want about the post-Cold War, post-9/11 world, just be sure American Empire is one of them.
Michael S. Sherry
This deeply informed, impressive polemical book is precisely what Americans, in and outside of the academy, needed before 9/11 and need now even more. Crisp, lively, biting prose will help them enjoy it. Among its many themes are hubris, hegemony, and the fatuousness of claims by the American military that they can now achieve 'transparency' in war-making.
Ronald Steel
The United States could not possibly have an empire, Americans think. But we do. And with verve and telling insight Andrew Bacevich shows how it works and what it means.
Boston Globe - James A. Miller
[A] straightforward "critical interpretation of American statecraft in the 1990s"...he is straightforward, too, in establishing where he stands on the political spectrum about US foreign policy...Bacevich insists that there are no differences in the key assumptions governing the foreign policy of the administrations of Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II--and this will certainly be the subject of passionate debate...Bacevich's argument persuades...by means of engaging prose as well as the compelling and relentless accumulation of detail...Bring[s] badly needed [perspective] to troubled times.
The Guardian - Dominick Donald
For everyone there's Andrew Bacevich's American Empire, an intelligent, elegantly written, highly convincing polemic that demonstrates how the motor of US foreign policy since independence has been the need to guarantee economic growth.
Across the Board - Richard J. Whalen
Andrew Bacevich's remarkably clear, cool-headed, and enlightening book is an expression of the United States' unadmitted imperial primacy. It's as bracing as a plunge into a clear mountain lake after exposure to the soporific internationalist conventional wisdom...Bacevich performs an invaluable service by restoring missing historical context and perspective to today's shallow, hand-wringing discussion of Sept. 11...Bacevich's brave, intelligent book restores our vocabulary to debate anew the United States' purpose in the world.
Washington Monthly - Anatol Levin
To say that Andrew Bacevich's American Empire is a truly realistic work of realism is therefore to declare it not only a very good book, but also a pretty rare one. The author, a distinguished former soldier, combines a tough-minded approach to the uses of military force with a grasp of American history that is both extremely knowledgeable and exceptionally clear-sighted. This book is indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the background to U.S. world hegemony at the start of the 21st century; and it is also a most valuable warning about the dangers into which the pursuit and maintenance of this hegemony may lead America.
Political Studies Review - David Hastings Dunn
American Empire is an immensely thoughtful book. Its reflections go beyond the narrow realm of U.S. security policy and demonstrate a deep understanding of American history and culture.
The Guardian
For everyone there's Andrew Bacevich's American Empire, an intelligent, elegantly written, highly convincing polemic that demonstrates how the motor of US foreign policy since independence has been the need to guarantee economic growth.
— Dominick Donald
Boston Globe
[A] straightforward "critical interpretation of American statecraft in the 1990s"...he is straightforward, too, in establishing where he stands on the political spectrum about US foreign policy...Bacevich insists that there are no differences in the key assumptions governing the foreign policy of the administrations of Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II--and this will certainly be the subject of passionate debate...Bacevich's argument persuades...by means of engaging prose as well as the compelling and relentless accumulation of detail...Bring[s] badly needed [perspective] to troubled times.
— James A. Miller
Washington Monthly
To say that Andrew Bacevich's American Empire is a truly realistic work of realism is therefore to declare it not only a very good book, but also a pretty rare one. The author, a distinguished former soldier, combines a tough-minded approach to the uses of military force with a grasp of American history that is both extremely knowledgeable and exceptionally clear-sighted. This book is indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the background to U.S. world hegemony at the start of the 21st century; and it is also a most valuable warning about the dangers into which the pursuit and maintenance of this hegemony may lead America.
— Anatol Levin
Across the Board
Andrew Bacevich's remarkably clear, cool-headed, and enlightening book is an expression of the United States' unadmitted imperial primacy. It's as bracing as a plunge into a clear mountain lake after exposure to the soporific internationalist conventional wisdom...Bacevich performs an invaluable service by restoring missing historical context and perspective to today's shallow, hand-wringing discussion of Sept. 11...Bacevich's brave, intelligent book restores our vocabulary to debate anew the United States' purpose in the world.
— Richard J. Whalen
Political Studies Review
American Empire is an immensely thoughtful book. Its reflections go beyond the narrow realm of U.S. security policy and demonstrate a deep understanding of American history and culture.
— David Hastings Dunn
Publishers Weekly
This small book's analysis of America's foreign policy in the post-Cold War era is unfortunately being eclipsed by current events. Bacevich, professor of international relations at Boston University, interprets America as the new Rome: committed to maintaining and expanding an empire acquired by design, not accident. He argues persuasively that the foreign policies of Clinton and Bush 41 reflected an essential continuity because all three administrations had essentially the same view of America's vital interests and how best to secure them. They accepted an American mission as the guardian of history, responsible for changing the world by making it more open and more integrated. They accepted an American global leadership, manifested by maintaining preeminence in the world's strategically significant regions. They accepted the necessity of permanent global military supremacy. While Bacevich finds no purpose is served by denying the empire, the important thing is that America behave wisely. Doing so, he argues, demands foresight, consistency and self-awareness. Bacevich derives his view from two long-neglected intellectual figures: Charles Beard and William Appleman Williams. Between them they developed the insight that American well-being depends on the effective functioning of a global economy, and simultaneous global adherence to certain behavior. Harmony of conviction and consistency of purpose has characterized overt American strategy from the days of Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman, and Bacevich asserts that the Bush 41 and Clinton administrations maintained an empire built less on coercion than on persuasion. When something more is necessary, "gunboats and Gurkhas" suffice-e.g., cruise missiles and similar long-range precision weapons systems, used in cooperation with local forces enhanced by American expertise and material. That does not seem to describe the war the U.S. is preparing for now. (Nov. 15) Forecast: The trope of American empire is a familiar one by now, and the fact that this book was completed before Bush 43's shift in foreign policy toward preemptive action and possible full-scale occupation should limit its usefulness to its historical analyses. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
This systematic, well-argued work reprises the classic Jeffersonian approach to American foreign policy. The core Jeffersonian concerns are all here: America's activist global policy is primarily driven by corporate interests; it undercuts democracy at home and abroad; it involves ruinous expenditures; and it increases the risks to national security. These ideas, of course, are not new, having been brought forward at virtually every juncture in American foreign policy from the wars of the French Revolution in the 1790s to the aftermath of September 11. But Bacevich does more than just restate a venerable set of beliefs. By contrasting the foreign policies of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton against the ideas of the "Jeffersonian" historians Charles Beard and William Appleton Williams, Bacevich subjects the records of Bush and Clinton to a scorching critique. At the same time, he examines the two historians' strengths and weaknesses to explain why they were both celebrated and frustrated in their respective eras — and largely (if unjustly) forgotten soon after. As Bacevich notes, Beard and Williams were right about all kinds of things, but both were dead wrong about the central foreign policy questions of the day. Beard (like Pat Buchanan) thought World War II an unnecessary war, brought on by Franklin Roosevelt's imperial scheming. And neither Williams' revisionist history of the Cold War nor his sympathy for communism has held up well. Arguing that two drivers who ended up in such spectacular crashes had better road maps than anybody else is a tough but not impossible job, and Bacevich pulls it off reasonably well. He ends this thoughtful book by noting that the question is nolonger whether the United States should become an imperial power, but what kind of empire it should be. Although Beard and Williams would resist being drawn into this debate, Bacevich is right to insist that their views will greatly enrich it.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674013759
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2004
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 1,385,713
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew J. Bacevich is Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction

1. The Myth of the Reluctant Superpower

2. Globalization and Its Conceits

3. Policy by Default

4. Strategy of Openness

5. Full Spectrum Dominance

6. Gunboats and Gurkhas

7. Rise of the Proconsuls

8. Different Drummers, Same Drum

9. War for the Imperium

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2004

    Useful, though idealistic, account of US empire

    The author is an American academic, an ex-officer of the US Army. Chapter One, `The myth of the reluctant superpower¿, exposes the nonsense that the US state just responds to events, improvising as it goes, containing others¿ aggressions, going to war only in necessary self-defence. Bacevich notes that the US state¿s ¿purpose is to preserve and, where both feasible and conducive to U.S. interests, to expand an American imperium.¿ He shows the basic continuity of US foreign policy, ¿the unflagging self-interest and large ambitions underlying all U.S. policy.¿ Globalisation expresses US economic, political, military and cultural supremacy, maintained by unilateral aggressive wars, through military proconsuls, gunboats and Gurkhas. The US state claims that its `internationalism¿ is progressive and `isolationism¿ is backward, that the USA is the vanguard of history, the pioneer, leading the world to the future of peace and prosperity. But a single dominant power brings not peace but perpetual war: the Pax Britannica involved Britain in war every single year while the Empire lasted. The same holds for the USA, ever since 1898. Since the Soviet Union¿s suicide, US warmongering has speeded up: since 1989, the USA has made 47 overseas military interventions, following a consistent strategy for US empire. Clinton¿s war in Somalia killed between 6,000 and 10,000 civilians, two-thirds of them women and children, according to a senior US officer. The illegal war against Kosovo, ostensibly humanitarian, became a full-blooded war against Serbian civilians, killing at least 1,500. In Afghanistan, US forces have so far killed between 1,000 and 4,000 civilians. US forces are now stuck in Iraq, where they have killed more than 13,000 civilians. The US naval victory at Manila Bay in 1898 led to forty years of occupying and `pacifying¿ the Philippines. How long will we tolerate this increasingly genocidal war against the Iraqi people? Bacevich calls for honestly recognising that the USA is an empire, so it can be run morally and realistically. But empire, founded on exploitation and repression, denies democracy, abroad and at home. It is reactionary, not progressive, and can no more be run morally than slavery can.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)