Masters of Illusion: American Leadership in the Media Age

Masters of Illusion: American Leadership in the Media Age

by Steven Rosefielde, D. Quinn Mills

ISBN-10: 0521857449

ISBN-13: 9780521857444

Pub. Date: 10/31/2006

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

The United States will confront a series of fundamental challenges through the middle of the twenty-first century. Using a theory of economic systems to gauge present and future global conflicts, Steven Rosefielde and D. Quinn Mills see the challenges as posed sequentially by terrorism, Russia, China, and the European Union. In the cases of terrorism, Russia, and


The United States will confront a series of fundamental challenges through the middle of the twenty-first century. Using a theory of economic systems to gauge present and future global conflicts, Steven Rosefielde and D. Quinn Mills see the challenges as posed sequentially by terrorism, Russia, China, and the European Union. In the cases of terrorism, Russia, and China, Western leaders appreciate aspects of these perils, but they are crafting unduly soft policies to deal with the challenges. The authors believe that 'globalists' notwithstanding, such views are myopic in an era where nuclear proliferation has invalidated the concept of mutually assured destruction. What America requires is a new security concept that the authors call 'strategic independence' to enable keeping the peace in dangerous times and foster new generations of leaders capable of acting sanely despite a current public culture addicted to wishful thinking.

Product Details

Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
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5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.46(d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures     xiv
Preface     xvii
Acronyms     xxi
Executive Summary     xxv
Acknowledgments     xxvii
National Security in the New Age
A World Wounded     3
The Post-Cold War Security Environment     3
The Need to Adjust Illusion to Reality     7
Public Culture Distorts Reality     10
Antiterrorism Measures Are Not Enough     12
Mastering the Illusions of the Public Culture     15
Key Points     17
Long-Term Economic Realism     18
Vortexes of Danger     18
Why Economic Realism and Scientific Objectivity Are Sorely Needed     20
Our Country Has Changed     22
The Coming Threats to American Security     23
Strategic Independence     25
The Need for the International Order to Adapt to Changes among Nations and Regions of the World     28
Presidential Candor     30
Key Points     33
American Public Culture and the World     35
"Smooth Comforts False" - The Illusions That Confuse Us     37
Ways in Which Public Culture Influences Thinking about the World     41
Harmonism     42
Convergence     47
Unjustified Optimism     52
The Persistence of Public Culture     55
Public Culture: A Formal Expression     58
Key Points     62
Towers of Illusion: Dysfunctional Behaviors     63
Simplification     64
Naive Motivations     64
Either/Or Choices     65
Overemphasis on Relationships     66
How Simplification Misleads     67
Hype     68
Distortion     76
Mastering the Illusions of Public Culture     80
Key Points     81
Mythomaniacs: The Sources of Our Illusions     82
The American Public's Wishful Thinking     83
A Glaring Dishonesty of Wishful Thinking     84
The Delusions of Wishful Thinking     86
Political Partisanship     88
The Media     91
Journalists     93
Commercial Enterprises     95
Presidents and Media     96
Key Points     99
American Public Culture and Ourselves
Champions of Freedom or Imperialists: How We're Perceived     103
How We and Others See Us     103
President Bush's Image of Americans versus the View from Abroad     104
What Polls Say     106
The Complex Character of America     108
Self-Deceptive Duplicity     109
Accusations of Imperialism     111
America's Changed Message     115
Key Points     116
We're Different Now     117
Going Where We Didn't Seek to Go     118
How We Americans Have Changed     119
A Change in Direction     121
After World War I     123
After World War II     124
After the Vietnam War     124
Changes after September 11     124
Iraq - The First Big Test     124
Hidden Motivations     126
Our Fatal Flaw     128
Key Points     130
The Reconfiguration of National Wealth and Power
The Economic Roots of American Power     133
American Economic Success     133
The American Economic Culture     135
The American Economic Creed     137
How National Economic Cultures Differ     139
How Different Economic Cultures Yield Different Results     141
The Economic Cultures of the Great Powers     142
China     142
Russia      146
Japan     151
Key Points - Japan's Unique Role     161
European Union     161
Key Points     168
Economic Disparities among Nations     170
The Consequences of Differing Economic Cultures     170
The Statistical Record     173
The Increasing Gap between Developed and Underdeveloped Nations     182
Key Points     183
Geopolitical Aspirations of the Nations     185
Nationalist Fervor in China     185
Chinese-American Rivalry     185
The Trend of the Political Climate in China     188
The Growth and Modernization of China's Military     195
China in the Future     197
Will China Be an Enemy?     199
Reviving Superpower: Russia     204
Rose-Colored Glasses about Russia     205
Why the Soviet Union Imploded: Back to the Future     207
Russia - A False Democracy     212
Russia Will Rearm     214
Rose-Colored Glasses Again     215
Russia in the Distant Future     217
The European Union: Nation-Building on a Super Scale     218
How Europeans Seek to Bind America     223
Britain's Special Situation      226
The American Response to European Nation-Building     228
Key Points     229
Vortexes of Danger     233
A Witch's Brew of Troubles: The Next Big Wars     235
Present and Looming Dangers     236
Dangers of Many Sorts     237
The Biggest Dangers Facing Us     238
Terrorism     240
Russian Military Resurgence: Rising from the Ashes - From Weakness to Strength Overnight     240
Chinese Nationalism     244
European Union Unification and Rivalry     246
Interactions     246
Lessons from Experience     248
The MAD World - The Risk of Nuclear War     248
Able Archer - 1983     252
Nuclear Missile Defense (NMD)     254
The Dynamics of World Disorder     257
What Our Leaders Should Do     259
Key Points     262
The Middle East     264
The Crescent of Fire     264
Ummah     267
Muslim Terrorism and Autocracy     267
The Causes of Terrorism     270
The Contest in the Middle East     277
Palestine     279
The Israeli-Palestinian Smokescreen      283
The Broader Issues     285
Justifying Terrorism     286
Why We Invaded Iraq     288
How the Administration Confused Us about the Purpose of the War in Iraq     291
The Ongoing Battle in Iraq     294
Satans Great and Small     298
Containment     299
Key Points     301
The American Response     303
Strategic Independence: An Ounce of Prevention     305
An Alternative to Multilateralism     305
Strategic Independence and Engagement     306
National Missile Defense     308
The Bush Doctrine     316
Defense Policy Should Not be Tied to an Overreaching Foreign Policy     317
A Window of Opportunity     318
Preemption: An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure     320
World War II Was Avoidable     322
Preemption Could Have Prevented 9/11     323
When to Preempt     325
Calculating the Risk     326
Successful Preemptions     328
Napoleon     328
Grenada, 1983     328
Preemption and Nuclear Weapons     328
The Soviet Union, 1948     329
Soviet Union, Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962     329
Soviet Union, President Johnson, 1963 and Beyond     329
Iraq, President George W. Bush, 2003     329
Key Points     330
America as Mature Superpower     332
American Military Effectiveness     332
Revolution in Military Affairs     333
The Myth of War without Casualties     335
A Full-Range Military     336
The Case against Strategic Independence     337
Why Strategic Independence Should Now Displace the Current American National Security Strategy     338
Key Points     340
Leading Toward Peace
The Dangers of Overreach     343
Overreach     343
America as a Model for the World     343
America's System Is Too Good to Transfer     344
America's System Isn't Good Enough to Transfer     347
Beyond Self-Affirming Sloganeering     350
Democracy as the Wellspring of Peace     352
The Danger of American Overreach     354
Key Points     357
The Transatlantic Trap     359
The Multilateralist Vision     360
Forecasts of a Declining America     362
Collective Security Doesn't Work     363
The Limits to Being a Team Player     366
All the Way via Multilateralism to a World Government     371
Multilateralism as an End     373
Unilateral Partial Disarmament     375
An Independent America     378
Key Points     382
The Middle Course     384
Adjusting to Major Changes in the World     384
Finding a Grand Strategy     387
Responding to Russia     390
Responding to China     391
Shoulder or Shed: Are We Suited to Be a Hyperpower?     396
Overreliance on Our Military     398
An Inappropriate Public Culture     400
Key Points     402
American Presidential Leadership     403
How Public Culture Inhibits Presidential Leadership     405
Poor Choices for President     405
Weak Presidential Leadership     406
The Geopolitics of Presidential Personalities     409
Harry Truman     409
John F. Kennedy as "a Little Boy"     410
Vietnam     411
The Cuban Missile Crisis     412
Domestic Focus in Leadership Selection     414
Weak Leadership in Foreign Affairs     415
Misjudging Foreign Leaders      416
American Presidents' Questionable Skills at War     418
President Wilson     418
President Franklin Roosevelt     419
President Truman     420
President Kennedy     420
President Johnson     421
President Nixon     421
President Carter     421
President Reagan     421
President Bush, Senior     422
President Clinton     422
Grading President George W. Bush     423
Don't Rely on Advisors     429
The Greatest Presidential Challenges     432
Key Points     435
Choosing a Great President     436
A Leadership Deficiency     436
Preparation for the Presidency     439
Qualifications for the Presidency     441
Experience     441
Demonstrated Personal Qualifications     442
Key Points     444
Master of Illusions     446
A Strong Tide of Truth     447
Truth Used to Be the First Casualty of War     449
George W. Bush and Our Public Culture     453
A Tactical Response versus a Strategic Objective     456
A Game Played with Other People's Lives     460
The Next Steps     461
The Key Arguments of This Book     465
Brief Key Points of This Book     470
Notes     473
Glossary     503
Bibliography     509
Index     525

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