From Publishers Weekly
A former naval officer, Ullman is afraid that bureaucracy, rampant partisanship and a crusading foreign policy have rendered the United States government completely dysfunctional. He also worries that the rise of al-Qaeda and other organizations run by "Jihadist Extremists" constitutes a threat to the United States on par with that once posed by Nazi Germany. As a result, he says, "the United States may be in the gravest danger... since the Civil War." Taking aim at special interest groups, both political parties, the Bush administration and even the Constitution itself, Ullman worries that the American system of government might not be able to adapt to today's mounting challenges. This is an ambitious contention, and one the book doesn't support very well. While providing solid historical background for the "War on Terrorism" and other major foreign policy issues, the book's sprawling structure occasionally dilutes the force of its arguments. However, the author does propose some governmental reforms that might appeal to public policy buffs. The most novel of these is a call for mandatory universal voting, in the belief that higher voter participation will lead to greater government accountability. (July)
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About the Author
Harlan K. Ullman, Ph.D., is a senior adviser to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a prominent Washington, DC, think tank, and a senior fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses. He is a columnist for the WASHINGTON TIMES and a commentator on Fox News, the BBC, and Al Jazeera. His military background includes skippering swift boats during the Vietnam War and commanding a destroyer in the Persian Gulf. He is the author of OWLS AND EAGLES: ENDING THE FOREIGN POLICY FLIGHT OF FANCY OF HAWKS, DOVES, AND NEO-CONS; FINISHING BUSINESS: TEN STEPS TO DEFEAT GLOBAL TERROR; and UNFINISHED BUSINESS: AFGHANISTAN, THE MIDDLE EAST, AND BEYOND—DEFUSING THE DANGERS THAT THREATEN AMERICA'S SECURITY. Ullman is credited with being the principal architect of the "shock and awe" doctrine that was adopted by the Pentagon. He lives in Washington, DC.