State vs. Defense: The Battle to Define America's Empire

State vs. Defense: The Battle to Define America's Empire

by Stephen Glain
     
 

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A masterful account of how sixty years of American militarism created the Cold War, fanned decades of conflict, helped fuel Islamist terror, and now threatens to bankrupt the nation.

For most of the twentieth century, the sword has led before the olive branch in American foreign policy, and the United States can no longer afford the dangers provoked.

Overview

A masterful account of how sixty years of American militarism created the Cold War, fanned decades of conflict, helped fuel Islamist terror, and now threatens to bankrupt the nation.

For most of the twentieth century, the sword has led before the olive branch in American foreign policy, and the United States can no longer afford the dangers provoked. With a struggling economy biting at heels and international affairs in a precarious state of unprecedented scope, American citizens have to wonder; what’s happened? State vs. Defense characterizes figures who crafted American foreign policy, from George Marshall to Robert McNamara to Henry Kissinger to Don Rumsfeld with this underlying theme: America has become increasingly imperial and militaristic.
 
In the tradition of classics such as The Wise Men, and The Best and the Brightest, State vs. Defense explores how and why American leaders succumbed to the sirens of militarism, how the republic has been lost to an empire, and how the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower so famously forewarned has set us on a stark path of financial peril.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In crisp, authoritative writing, the author sets down some scathing portraits, from MacArthur to Rumsfeld, and in a powerful conclusion, exposes the disequilibrium between the U.S. civilian versus military resources throughout the world and the continued “appeasement” by President Obama to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A work of smoldering focus and marshaled evidence."—Kirkus Reviews

"Stephen Glain has written and important and thought-provoking book on the growing militarizing of our foreign policy.  It is a hot issue that is getting a great deal of attention in Washington.  Steve has done a masterful job of researching ths subject and presenting a compelling case.  State vs. Defense is a must-read for all those developing our foreign policy and for those who are interested in this critical issue."—Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Retired)

"The United States remains committed to a mindless pursuit of military supresmacy, regardless of cost or consequences.  Stephen Glain has got the goods on the militarists who spooked and stampeded the American pople into supporting this bizarre enterprise.  His is an urgently important tale, vividly told."—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War

“Stephen Glain's State vs. Defense enters the battle as a battering ram at the Pentagon's gates.”—The Wall Street Journal

Library Journal
Since the early years of the Cold War, the U.S. State and Defense Departments have been locked in a bitter fight over making foreign policy—a battle in which Defense has dominated to the extent that the national security budget is now 20 percent of the total federal budget (i.e., rather than there being a greater percentage for diplomacy or foreign aid). So writes journalist Glain (Wall Street Journal; Mullahs, Merchants, and Militants: The Economic Collapse of the Arab World) in his fascinating account of the making of modern foreign policy. This is not a comprehensive Cold War history, but it skillfully investigates each presidential administration since Truman's to show how militarists—often wealthy corporation heads and elected officials—have created the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned against. Readers will be familiar with many of the militarists and diplomatists who fill these pages but will likely be angered about the extent to which the former went to distort the truth about the former Soviet Union and, later, Asian and Muslim nations' strength and intentions toward the United States. VERDICT This frank and absorbing interpretation offers a well-constructed framework for viewing foreign policy; it will interest general readers, scholars, and appointed and elected officials. [See Prepub Alert, 2/21/11.]—Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Kirkus Reviews

The perils of an expanding American hegemony by military means rather than diplomacy, as skillfully tracked by an American journalist.

In this timely, pointed study, Glain (Mullahs, Merchants and Militants: The Economic Collapse of the Muslim World, 2004, etc.) challenges the efficacy and wisdom of continuing an enormous, costly U.S. defense buildup abroad in the face of the flimsiest excuse for an enemy and where statesmanship would better be served. Since after World War II, American leaders, much like republican Rome, writes the author, "realized their founders' dread by succumbing to the sirens of militarism and the costs of their rapture." During the same timer period, the hawks have held sway over national leaders. Examples include: General MacArthur's hyperbolic pronouncements of communist incursions, which neutralized the restraint preached by George Marshall; the co-opting of George Kennan's theory of containment by Dean Acheson and others in forging the Truman Doctrine; the pernicious fear-mongering of Senator Joseph McCarthy that effectively cowed the Department of State. The Soviet threat (and communist China) would keep alarmists and neoconservatives frothing at the mouth through wars in Korea and Vietnam, fed by defense contractors, RAND Corporation analysts and nuclear-bomb fears—despite ample evidence that the Soviet Union was "sclerotic" and incapable of posing a serious existential threat to the U.S. The myth of Soviet superiority was barked by the White House, swallowed by the press, cheered by the Pentagon and carried the country through the pitiful collapse of the Soviet Union. However, our "enemy deprivation syndrome" was later filled by the Islamist terrorist threat. Desert Shield and consummate generals such as Colin Powell brought the "romance with the military" to primetime. The momentum of militarization has become unstoppable, Glain writes gloomily. In crisp, authoritative writing, the author sets down some scathing portraits, from MacArthur to Rumsfeld, and in a powerful conclusion, exposes the disequilibrium between the U.S. civilian versus military resources throughout the world and the continued "appeasement" by President Obama to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A work of smoldering focus and marshaled evidence that just might have found its publishing moment.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307408426
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
11/13/2012
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
1,146,895
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Glain has been a journalist for twenty years. He spent four years in Hong Kong writing for the local South China Morning Post before joining the Wall Street Journal in 1991 with stints in Tokyo, Seoul, and then Tel Aviv and Amman. His book Mullahs, Merchants, and Militants was named the best book of 2004 by online magazine The Globalist. His articles on U.S. foreign policy, East Asia, and the Arab world have appeared in The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Nation, the Financial Times, Gourmet, Smithsonian, Newsweek, The National, and elsewhere. Visit his website at www.StephenGlain.com.

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