Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Bacevich’s dense text may not be ideal for an “Andrew Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who’s in power, which may be why those of both the left and right listen to him.”—Bill Moyers. “Andrew Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who’s in power, which may be why those of both the left and right listen to him.”—Bill Moyers An immediate. Andrew J. Bacevich, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism ( New York: Metropolitan Books, ), pp., $ Andrew Bacevich’s latest .

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Hubris and sanctimony have become the paramount expressions of American statecraft.

It argues that the actions of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, however malevolent, cannot explain why the United States today finds itself enmeshed in seemingly never- ending conflict. Certainly, the president and his advisers, along with neocons always looking for opportunities to flex American military muscle, bear considerable culpability for our current predicament. For him, the upshot is that the soldiers are superbly trained and courageous, but their effectiveness has ilmits severely weakened by the environment created by bumbling leaders, both political and military.

The Realities and Consequences of U. See more from this Author. Of perhaps bacevihc greater significance, it is both counterproductive and unsustainable.


Although critics of U.

Bill Moyers Journal . THE LIMITS OF POWER | PBS

Reprinted with kind permission from Henry Holt. Nor will it view with favor an electorate that delivers political power into the hands of leaders unable to envision any alternative to perpetual war. Bacevich charges that the overwhelming thrust toward military solutions bacdvich imperial ambitions undercuts the very successes these people limitz attained.

The first of these crises is economic and cultural, the second political, and the third military. In the Pentagon, senior military officers spoke in terms of “generational war,” lasting up to a century.

There is a further paradox: This book challenges that supposition. Bacevich identifies James Forrestal, the first U. Today, as illustrated above all by the Bush administration’s efforts to dominate the energy- rich Persian Gulf, empire has seemingly become a prerequisite of freedom. For the average American tuning in to the nightly news, reports of U.

The collapse of the Soviet Union appeared to offer an opportunity to expand and perpetuate that empire, creating something akin to a global Pax Americana. This conviction finds expression in a determination to remake the world in what we imagine to be America’s image.

Today, we ignore that warning at our peril. How did we get to this point? Writing de cades ago, Reinhold Niebuhr anticipated that predicament with uncanny accuracy and astonishing prescience.

For the United States, the ongoing war makes plain the imperative of putting America’s house in order. Centered on consumption and individual autonomy, the exercise of freedom is contributing to the gradual erosion of our national power.


In an earlier age, Americans saw empire as the antithesis of freedom. Indispensable reading for every citizen. Expectations that the world beyond our borders should accommodate the American way of life are hardly new.

In this sense, the Long War genuinely qualifies as a war to preserve the American way of life centered on a specific conception of liberty and simultaneously as a war to extend the American imperium centered on dreams of a world remade in America’s imagethe former widely assumed to require the latter.

He reminds us that we can destroy all that we cherish by pursuing an illusion of indestructibility. The collective capacity of our domestic political economy to satisfy those appetites has not kept pace with demand.

The Limits of Power

And what lies down the road? The End of American Exceptionalism Author: Yet that commitment, however well intentioned, begs several larger questions: The Limits of Power will suggest that this heedless worship of freedom has been a mixed blessing. Yesterday’s civic obligations have become today’s civic options.