The Day of Reckoning

This blog is dedicated to second hand books, but I confess I went to a bookstore and ordered The Limits to Power by Andrew Bacevich.

You may know him. He was the guy being interviewed on Bill Moyers on PBS saying our country was nearing a day of reckoning because of our profligate way of life, just before everything went crash bang boom.

This is really a most remarkable book — hard to summarize in a blog, hard also to excerpt. There’s just this unrelenting flow of reasoning. This is a book that was finished before the financial crisis began, but Bacevich has scripted the whole thing perfectly.

He is a scathing critic of the Us intervention in Iraq, and his patriotism is not open to question since his son was killed there and he himself served in Vietnam.

But he goes beyond criticism of the current administration to a fundamental questioning of the American Way of Life.

In order to preserve our idea of freedom, cheap stuff and cheap gas, he notes, we are obliged to project the power of empire, which we had always regarded as the antithesis of freedom. Oh well.

As a conservative, and a military man, he demonstrates how stupid it is to try to remake the world in our image.

He demonstates in a few paragraphs how US foreign policy has always been directed toward our own interest, while we have always deluded ourselves that it was some divine mission to spread freedom around the world.

He shows how this disastrous delusion has brought us to our present straits.

I’m a used book guy, but this is a new book that I hope everyone reads:

Limits to Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by Andrew Bacevich