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Political Economy of U.S. Militarism Hardcover – July 20, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


'Ismael Hossein-zadeh's penetrating analysis of the role of the military-industrial complex in driving U.S. foreign policy and rearranging domestic priorities could not be more timely. With U.S. military spending at levels higher than the peak years of the Vietnam War, Hossein-zadeh provides the most cogent explanation yet of how we got to this point.'

- William D. Hartung, Senior Research Fellow, World Policy Institute at the New School

'America has been overrun not by military force, but by the force of militarism. Using statistics, analysis and historical references, Hossein-zadeh reveals the troubling picture that America may have succumbed to militarism despite the warnings of Washington, Eisenhower and Butler. Hossein-zadeh reveals the true cost of Pentagon programs by adjusting the federal budget for Social Security and unmasking the insatiable, consuming maw of spending run amok. He reveals how budgetary militarism is defeating the New Deal, even as it musters a long term assault on the Bill of Rights and other foundations of American democracy. The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism is a must-read for patriots concerned about the future of the United States.' - Grant F. Smith, Director of Research, Institute for Research, Middle Eastern Policy

'Writing in a scholarly but accessible manner, Ismael Hossein-zadeh provides an impressive overview of policy trends, their historical background and their political and economic influences. In examining the recent tendencies towards war and militaristic responses to foreign policy issues, the author looks past the now dominant neo-conservative justifications, focusing on the powerful interests that lie beneath.' - David Gold, Associate Professor, International Affairs Program, The New School

'Ismael Hossein-zadeh has produced an original and powerful synthesis of previous explanations of contemporary U.S. militarism. He locates the relevant economic, political, and ideological forces within a power-elite military-industrial complex framework firmly grounded in a structural analysis of capital accumulation. By steering past the twin dangers of conspiracy theory and economic reductionism, this framework clearly reveals the parasitic, class-biased, and systemic character of the Bush administration's unilateralism. Along the way, Hossein-zadeh provides a challenging analysis of the cyclical fluctuations of U.S. military spending since World War II.' - Paul Burkett, Professor of Economics, Indiana State University

'This is an interesting and timely book...a fine mixture of analysis and detailed research, as well as being an entertaining read.' - Lobster

About the Author

Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor of Economics at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He has previously published one book, Soviet Non-Capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser's Egypt (1989), and a number of papers on significant topics. Those topics include long waves of economic expansion and decline, economic crises and restructuring policies, currency-trade relations, NAFTA and labor, Third World debt, determinants of presidential economic policies, the political economy of war and military spending, and the roots of conflict between the Muslim world and the West.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2006 edition (August 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403972850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403972859
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,550,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It is a difficult task to write a succinct review of a book such as Ismael Hossein-Zadeh has produced, and do justice to its critical pertinence in the daily lives of every American. But its relevance even to each occupant of planet Earth cannot, and should not, be dismissed or underestimated, for to do so is an invitation to the disaster so eloquently implied and presaged by its content.

This immensely well documented and compiled work embodies a compendium of facts, brilliant writing and logical assumptions that will indeed lend credence to Chicken Little's exclamation - but not, however, that the sky is falling; rather that it indeed already has.

The one misfortune of its publication is that it is priced at a level that seems to aim at academics with university expense accounts. If the publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, desires to best serve its readers beyond academia, they and the public would be very well served by its reprint in a paperback edition. To not do so would be akin to pricing smoke alarms beyond the budget of the average home owner.

In this work, Mr. Hossein-Zadeh tracks the pre-WWII norm of antimilitarism that unofficially mandated the reduction of manpower to its prewar size after each conflict, to the emergence of current policy which established a doctrine supporting "1.5 million military personnel in 6,000 domestic bases and 702 bases in 130 countries." Including "about a dozen carrier task forces in the oceans and seas of the world." In this, he clearly describes the militarist's economic principle that peace is a curse that must have the stake of war driven through its heart - and not just once, but on a regularly recurring basis.
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Format: Hardcover
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh's The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism will greatly surprise readers who imagine that what lies between its covers is an abstruse economics argument or a rant against the war in Iraq. This accessible, lucid, and generously documented approach to the history of military engagement by the United States since World War II clearly is written with a mainstream audience in mind although its hardcover price of $80 is out of the average reader's ballpark. Hopefully libraries will pick up the title since every taxpayer deserves the chance to consider Hossein-Zadeh's thesis. In short, he demonstrates that although the economic gains of imperialism might have supported required military outlays for a period, there comes a time in every empire's life when further expansion no longer is cost-effective for the metropole and becomes a drain on the national economy. At this point, the war industry becomes "parasitic" as the dividends of empire fall more and more disproportionately into the laps of those associated with military efforts. Hossein-Zadeh considers the current period in U.S. history such a time.

Readers may have heard this claim before. But few if any will have met such a persuasive presentation of it. The book is extremely helpful in how it identifies and then dismantles what Hossein-Zadeh considers weak explanations for why the United States continues to engage in military intervention and expansion abroad. The first is the widespread theory among liberals that the neoconservative element of the U.S. political scene is attempting to take advantage of the absence of a comparable world power in order to spread American values and free market economics.
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Format: Hardcover
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh's book is a finely written historical critique of US militarism, focusing on its roots, its growth, and its current manifestations. One of the primary hurdles that observers of history and political participants must overcome is historical amnesia. Often current policies are thought to have sprung up as fully formed, articulated, and accepted. This book makes great strides in showing the historical roots of militarism in the US, taking shape largely during the perpetual arms race of the cold war era, and continuing with the escalation of the Pentagon spending after the fall of the Soviet Union.

One of the book's great strengths is showing how policy and public perception in the United States are often shaped by the powerful special interests that wish to continue military buildup in order to appropriate an ever-increasing share of our tax dollars. Viewed in this light, militaristic tendencies to wars abroad can be seen, according to Hossein-zadeh, as reflections of the metaphorical fights over allocation of the public finance at home, of a subtle or insidious strategy to redistribute national resources in favor of the wealthy, to cut public spending on socio-economic infrastructure, and to reverse the New Deal and other social safety net programs by expanding military spending.

Another valuable insight of Hossein-Zadeh's book is the recounting of the rise of the military-industrial complex. While a topic already well researched, Hossein-zadeh explores in detail the connections between the military industrial complex, the Israeli lobby, the neo-conservative political think-tanks, and the rising militarization of U.S. foreign policy. The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism provides a valuable tool in analyzing the distinctly American brand of imperialism.
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