The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by Andrew Bacevich
Host: Bill B.
Date: October 23, 2008
Food & Drink:
Terri Gross interviews the author on Fresh Air:
Despite having a sometimes lumpy flow to its writing, The Limits of Power was roundly well-received by Fight Club members, as it makes points with which each fighter seems to have identified. Lessons learned: modern American foreign policy may be more about feeding an insatiable American consumer appetite than about liberating or protecting subjugated peoples; much of the subjugation those people suffer actually is caused directly and indirectly by those serving our appetites; said another way, the force behind our foreign policies and thus our military excursions is classic imperialism, not altruism; it’s not the fault of our combat forces, however, our general and admiral corps should take more responsibility for seeing the bigger picture; people of the world would probably respect us more if we set a good example of how a fortunate nation acts; we need to rid the world of nukes, including our own; the Bush Doctrine of pursuing preventive war is realistically and morally untenable; and finally, the belief is false that we are exceptional by some divine right – the truth is that our nation was founded upon exceptional ideals toward which we have struggled and toward which we ought to aspire with renewed effort.
Col. Bacevich is truly insightful. His credibility is obvious as a veteran, a military academic and an American who has found part of his family and soul sacrificed on the altar of our indulgence. In addition, he is courageous in expressing his insights with bold language into the faces of lauded men in powerful positions and to Americans themselves. Unfortunately for all of us, solutions to the problems he points out, as he admits, would require changes within Americans themselves and could be brought about only by leaders the likes of which we have not seen since different eras in our nation’s history.