Sunday, August 31, 2008

Andrew Bacevich's Important New Book "The Limits of Power"

Posted by Jack Hunter on Sun, Aug 31, 2008 at 10:27 PM

I have just begun reading retired Army Col. and foreign affairs expert Andrew Bacevich's new book "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism," which is a serious and comprehensive indictment of current U.S. foreign policy and the damage it causes, both abroad and at home. Here's a video excerpt from Bacevich's recent interview with Bill Moyers:

The Left Conservative author/editor and Takimag.com contributor Dylan Hales has an interesting take on Bacevich's book. Courtesy of the always interesting ConservativeTimes.org:

"Reading the excellent new book The Limits of Power by Andrew J. Bacevich, I was reminded of why, for years, I refused to call myself a conservative, despite my many sympathies and philosophical commonalities with its founders and later prominent figures. Though the book’s primary focus is the nature of the warfare state both at home and abroad, it could just as easily be read as an indictment of post-war conservatism; particularly it’s consistent failure to confront hard truths, despite its allegedly “realist” rhetoric.

As a self-described conservative, Bacevich is no stranger to the Right. Though he was an early “Obamacon,” his tepid endorsement of the Illinois Senator (”The Conservative Case for Barack Obama“, The American Conservative, March 24, 2008) included one of the better descriptions of conservatism in recent memory, in which Bacevich cited six principles as the cornerstones of the anti-ideology:

  • a commitment to individual liberty, tempered by the conviction that

    genuine freedom entails more than simply an absence of restraint;

  • a belief in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the rule of law;
  • veneration for our cultural inheritance combined with a sense of

    stewardship for Creation;

  • a reluctance to discard or tamper with traditional social arrangements;
  • respect for the market as the generator of wealth combined with a

    wariness of the market’s corrosive impact on humane values;

  • a deep suspicion of utopian promises, rooted in an appreciation of the sinfulness of man and the recalcitrance of history.

    While one might quibble with some of the implications that could be drawn from these points, it is hard to imagine that Russell Kirk or Richard Weaver would find much of the above disagreeable. In fact, most self-professed men of the traditional Right have claimed most of the above as heartfelt convictions.With that in mind, it is interesting that Bacevich relies almost exclusively upon the words, critiques and sentiments of Leftist opponents of militarism and the managerial state."Read the entire article

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