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Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest Hardcover – January 9, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Davidson (Islamic Fundamentalism) forms a pithy, well supported argument based primarily on two case studies—a historical review of the Cuban-American and Jewish-American lobbies, and their respective impacts on the formation of U.S. foreign policy. The author maintains that localism, the primary symptom of which is popular disregard for foreign policy issues, results in the formation of factionalized interest groups with varying degrees of organization and effectiveness. Coining the term factocracy—rule by factions—Davidson discusses how foreign policy issues enter local consciousness as a reflection and extension of the interests of certain national, ethnic and religious groups abroad. He discusses examples of this sociopolitical phenomenon as far back as the 18th century and brings his argument right up to the recent past, suggesting in his conclusion that the terrorist attacks of September 11 had everything to do with U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, which he argues is heavily influenced by America's Zionist lobby. It is compact, articulate and cogently written, but fails to present any version of a counterargument. (Jan.)
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"This is a comprehensive, well-developed, extensively documented study illuminating the fallacies in American foreign policy. It represents a major contribution to our knowledge and understanding of one of the most important aspects of foreign policy, i.e. the historical role of domestic lobbies in the policy making process."―Cheryl Rubenberg, author of Israel and the American National Interest: A Critical Examination

"One sees why this book is scheduled for January. Otherwise the tsunami of public indignation at this revelation could well disrupt the election."―Inside Higher Ed

"In this well-researched and highly-readable work, Professor Davidson has drawn from a wide variety of historical sources and examples to demonstrate how a vast network of private interests, mostly tied to larger corporate structures, has succeeded in hijacking U.S. foreign and military policy to the detriment of any rational public agenda. This tragic state of affairs has been made possible, Davidson argues, because public apathy regarding global issues has been steadily increasing. Foreign Policy, Inc. is strongly recommended reading for scholars, politicians, journalists, and others interested in the American role in world politics today."―Carl Boggs, author of Imperial Delusions and coauthor of The Hollywood War Machine

"Serves as a useful corrective to conservative mythmaking regarding US foreign policy, past and present. Recommended."―Choice

"Davidson takes it a step further...his conclusions he lays directly in front of the doors of all of us."―Steve Goddard's History Wire


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky (January 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813125243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813125244
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,414,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Americans do not understand foreign policy and Lawrence Davidson knows why. Davidson is a "dangerous professor," according to David Horrowitz. In other words, Davidson tells the historical truth found in the public record of lobbies, something very threatening to the status quo. In a brilliant and clever concise work called: Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest is yet another outstanding contribution to the field of history. Davidson asserts that we live in a democracy of competing interest groups, not a democracy of individuals. He uses Madisonian thought as his evidence for the constitutional basis of his claims. Davidson also argues that the general public usually takes little interest outside their own locality, here, and elsewhere. The consequence is powerful interest groups frame issues to suit elite interests (votes) by a default process. What constitutes the national interest to average citizens is not aligned with the aspirations of elected officials. Democracy, security, safety have actually been compromised within our government system through the overall policy design. Davidson has a way of breaking down these historical forces, pertinent current events, widespread public opinions, and dangerous policy formations, with clarity and tells us how the American people are willing to suppress their own interests and vote for people who carry out massive crimes in the name of patriotism. Specifically, he deals with the Cuban and Zionist lobbies. He literally explains how foreign policy is made in this country so the book is extremely worthwhile. Davidson explains how neo-cons do not protect people, neo-conservatism is really a form of global terror itself. I loved the book, I give it 5 out 5 stars in review. Dan Falcone, West Chester, PA
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Format: Hardcover
Davidson lays out his argument in succinct, clear prose. He explains that foreign policy in the US (and elsewhere as well) is generally neglected by the average citizen who focuses on more local issues in his or her own sphere of life. This leaves lobbysts much more room to shape foreign policy than is the case even with domestic policy. Where there is little countervailing forces, such lobbysts can write the legislation for Congressional representatiaves and Senators, who see no reason to refuse the lobbysts suggestions or their campaign contributions. Davidson gives us an interesting history of US cases where lobbysts were able to push through policies which clearly contradicted national interests. Then he offers two case studies of anti-Castro Cubans and Zionists (Christian and Jewish) who have very effectively defined our "national Interests".
I would have liked to see more examples and perhaps some discussion of the Mearsheimer book as well, but this is a brief book. Certainly worth the read for those who wonder why our new administration has not made more serious inroads in our often counterproductive foreign policy practices.
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Format: Hardcover
It is a good book, though not adding much to Mearsheimer and Walt's "Israel Lobby". Judging from the cover, I expected to find information about the military industry lobby, aka military-industrial complex, undoubtedly a major player in America's foreign policy. Disappointingly, no such topic is treated here.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book gives a clear account, with two examples (the Cuba and Israel lobbies) of how the national interest of all American individuals in a favorable, rather than a hostile opinion of America, is co-opted and subordinated to special interests in trade and military policy. To Americans of 2016, sickened by endless war against little people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and forceful meddling in Syria, Libya, Egypt, etc. the book, while true and documented, may be depressing, if not galling or infuriating. Will Americans ever become sufficiently motivated to stop our rulers from treating our military as if they had a divine right to use our military to slaughter people anywhere else in the world they are corrupted by special interests to choose?
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