With vivid, incisive analysis, Bacevich assails and exposes the preconceptions, biases, and habits that underlie this pervasive faith in military might, especially the notion that overwhelming superiority will oblige others to accommodate America's needs and desires - whether for cheap oil, cheap credit, or cheap consumer goods. Instead, Bacevich argues that we must reconsider the principles which shape American policy in the world and acknowledge that fixing Afghanistan should not take precedence over fixing Detroit.
As we enter a period when our militarism has become both unaffordable and increasingly dangerous, replacing this Washington consensus is crucial to America's future and may yet offer the key to the country's salvation. Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. Show More Show Less. Any Condition Any Condition. See all Compare similar products. You Are Viewing. People who bought this also bought. Nonfiction Books.
No ratings or reviews yet. Be the first to write a review. Best Selling in Nonfiction See all. Putin : Operative in the Kremlin by Clifford G. Gaddy and Fiona Hill , Paperback, Revised. The Secret by Preiss et al. Blue Book of Gun Values 40 40th Edition Save on Nonfiction Trending price is based on prices over last 90 days. Extreme Ownership : How U. Strange Planet - Nathan W. You may also like. American Revolutionary War Nonfiction Books. Paperback Cookbook. I can fix its start date with precision: For me, education began in Berlin, on a winter's evening, at the Brandenburg Gate, not long after the Berlin Wall had fallen.
As an officer in the U.
Army I had spent considerable time in Germany. Until that moment, however, my family and I had never had occasion to visit this most famous of German cities, still littered with artifacts of a deeply repellent history. At the end of a long day of exploration, we found ourselves in what had, until just months before, been the communist East. It was late and we were hungry, but I insisted on walking the length of the Unter den Linden, from the River Spree to the gate itself. A cold rain was falling and the pavement glistened.
Washington Rules | Andrew J. Bacevich | Macmillan
The buildings lining the avenue, dating from the era of Prussian kings, were dark, dirty, and pitted. Few people were about. It was hardly a night for sightseeing. For as long as I could remember, the Brandenburg Gate had been the preeminent symbol of the age and Berlin the epicenter of contemporary history. Yet by the time I made it to the once and future German capital, history was already moving on.
The Cold War had abruptly ended. A divided city and a divided nation had re united. For Americans who had known Berlin only from a distance, the city existed primarily as a metaphor. Pick a date— , , , , , —and Berlin becomes an instructive symbol of power, depravity, tragedy, defiance, endurance, or vindication. For those inclined to view the past as a chronicle of parables, the modern history of Berlin offered an abundance of material. The greatest of those parables emerged from the events of to , an epic tale of evil ascendant, belatedly confronted, then heroically overthrown.
A second narrative, woven from events during the intense period immediately following World War II, saw hopes for peace dashed, yielding bitter antagonism but also great resolve. The ensuing stand-off—the "long twilight struggle," in John Kennedy's memorable phrase— formed the centerpiece of the third parable, its central theme stubborn courage in the face of looming peril. Finally came the exhilarating events of , with freedom ultimately prevailing, not only in Berlin, but throughout Eastern Europe.
What exactly was I looking for at the Brandenburg Gate? Perhaps confirmation that those parables, which I had absorbed and accepted as true, were just that. Whatever I expected, what I actually found was a cluster of shabby- looking young men, not German, hawking badges, medallions, hats, bits of uniforms, and other artifacts of the mighty Red Army. It was all junk, cheaply made and shoddy.
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For a handful of deutsche marks, I bought a wristwatch emblazoned with the symbol of the Soviet armored corps. Within days, it ceased to work. Huddling among the scarred columns, those peddlers— almost certainly off-duty Russian soldiers awaiting redeployment home—constituted a subversive presence. They were loose ends of a story that was supposed to have ended neatly when the Berlin Wall came down. As we hurried off to find warmth and a meal, this disconcerting encounter stuck with me, and I began to entertain this possibility: that the truths I had accumulated over the previous twenty years as a professional soldier—especially truths about the Cold War and U.
By temperament and upbringing, I had always taken comfort in orthodoxy. In a life spent subject to authority, deference had become a deeply ingrained habit. I found assurance in conventional wisdom. Now, I started, however hesitantly, to suspect that orthodoxy might be a sham. I began to appreciate that authentic truth is never simple and that any version of truth handed down from on high— whether by presidents, prime ministers, or archbishops— is inherently suspect. The powerful, I came to see, reveal truth only to the extent that it suits them.
Even then, the truths to which they testify come wrapped in a nearly invisible filament of dissembling, deception, and duplicity.
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The exercise of power necessarily involves manipulation and is antithetical to candor. I came to these obvious points embarrassingly late in life. And so, at age forty-one, I set out, in a halting and haphazard fashion, to acquire a genuine education. Twenty years later I've made only modest progress.
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This book provides an accounting of what I have learned thus far. In October , I'd gotten a preliminary hint that something might be amiss in my prior education. The outcome of that battle inspired the philosopher Hegel, then residing in Jena, to declare that the "end of history" was at hand. The conclusion of the Cold War had only recently elicited a similarly exuberant judgment from the American scholar Francis Fukuyama.
On this trip we did learn a lot about the conduct of that battle, although mainly inert facts possessing little real educational value. Inadvertently, we also gained insight into the reality of life on the far side of what Americans had habitually called the Iron Curtain, known in U. The educational content of this excursion would— for me—be difficult to exaggerate. As soon as our bus crossed the old Inner German Border, we entered a time warp. For U.
Now, we found ourselves face-to-face with an altogether different Germany.
Review: Washington Rules
Although commonly depicted as the most advanced and successful component of the Soviet Empire, East Germany more closely resembled part of the undeveloped world. The roads—even the main highways—were narrow and visibly crumbling. Traffic posed little problem.
Apart from a few sluggish Trabants and Wartburgs—East German automobiles that tended to a retro primitivism—and an occasional exhaust-spewing truck, the way was clear. The villages through which we passed were forlorn and the small farms down at the heels. For lunch we stopped at a roadside stand. The proprietor happily accepted our D-marks, offering us inedible sausages in exchange. Although the signs assured us that we remained in a land of German speakers, it was a country that had not yet recovered from World War II. It turned out to be a rundown fleabag.
As the senior officer present, I was privileged to have a room in which the plumbing functioned.
Others were not so lucky. Jena itself was a midsized university city, with its main academic complex immediately opposite our hotel.
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