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The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed Hardcover – October 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A sober, hard-hitting critique and a cogent brief for why liberals and conservatives should reject an imperial role for America." -- Richard Betts, Director, Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University

"Deserves the thoughtful attention of all Americans disturbed by the imperial pretensions evident in Washington since the Cold War." -- Andrew J. Bacevich, Professor of International Relations, Boston University

"Dr. Eland makes a persuasive case that current U.S. national security policy is actually undermining our security and civil liberties." -- Lawrence J. Korb, former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Defense

"Impressively lucid, filled with careful research and highly insightful commentary, certain to satisfy concerned readers across the political spectrum." -- Ambassador Edward L. Peck, former Chief of U.S. Mission in Iraq

"The sobering antidote for the imperial wine that has impaired the judgment of American politicians since the Cold War." -- Harvey M. Sapolsky, Director of Security Studies, MIT

"Think a U.S. empire is desirable and viable? Read Ivan Eland’s insightful, essential book, and you will change your mind." -- Edward A. Olsen, Professor of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School

"[This] should greatly influence the debate in this country about how to restore a Constitutional foreign policy. Read this book." -- Chalmers Johnson, Author,

About the Author

IVAN ELAND is recognized as one of the leading experts in U.S. defense studies and foreign policy. He is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute in Oakland, California.

He received his M.B.A. in applied economics and Ph.D. in national security policy from George Washington University. He has been Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office, Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and Investigator for National Security and Intelligence at the U.S. General Accounting Office and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Dr. Eland is the author of "Putting 'Defense' Back into U.S. Defense Policy" and forty-five in-depth studies on national security. His written word has appeared in numerous publications, including Arms Control Today, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Mediterranean Quarterly, Middle East Policy, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, and Chicago Sun-Times. He has also appeared on ABC, NPR, PBS, Fox News, CNN, CNBC, and BBC.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Independent Institute; First edition. edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0945999984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945999980
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,237,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 55 people found the following review helpful By book reader on November 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Eland challenges conventional wisdom about why so many people around the world dislike Americans--it's not who we are or what we believe, but how our government behaves. With specific chapters directed at both conservatives and liberals explaining how over-reaching US interventionism goes against their principles, there is something in this book for everyone.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David M. Dougherty VINE VOICE on December 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author presents his position that the best U.S. government is the one that governs least and does not spend its resources building an empire. Presidents like Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, FDR, Kennedy, Johnson, and Bush who spent a great deal of effort to expand the American Empire become the worst presidents in our history. The idea that we need an empire to push the battle lines farther from our shores is exposed as a hoax for the aggrandizement of the president in power. As the author so eloquently states, there is no reason for the U.S. to maintain its "great power" status, especially at the expense of its economy. Should we not learn from the case of the Soviet Union which fell because the obligations of its military empire were too great for its economy. The author posits; can it not happen to us?

The U.S. now has more than 700 military bases throughout the world, and maintains a significant position in NATO, an organization centered in Europe where the EU has the world's 2nd largest economy, but uses the US military as its security shield. Nice. And Japan uses us as their defense force while penetrating our economy and buying American domestic assets to our great detriment. Gee, the only thing made in America any more are its women and then increasingly by foreigners. But in the meantime we become the world's mercenary police force unfortunately paid by ourselves on behalf of others.

So the argument goes: we need Hawaii to protect the West Coast. Then Okinawa and Guam to protect Hawaii. Then Japanese bases to protect Okinawa. Then troops in South Korea to protect Japan and South Korea. Is there no end to this lunacy? I guess so -- only when we have troops all over the world to isolate any seemingly hostile country at its own borders.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A direct, educated antithesis to the imperial warmongering of Kaplan and the like. A read that will interest anyone who is interested in preserving our declining democratic republic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By the brown hornet on May 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
eland does a unique thing with this book - he deconstructs the imperialism argument from every perspective. so it really feels like he's not preaching to the choir. by doing so, he strengthens his argument. no matter what your political philosophy is, this book finds a way to address you and dissuade you from supporting the american empire (it may or may not technically be one, depending on how you define it, but you know what he's talking about here). admittedly, eland is a bit more of an isolationist than i'd like, but hey, people with different political views coming to similar conclusions is a good thing! it's also a pretty easy read - you don't need to have coursework in international security or international political economy to get what he's saying.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Aaron on June 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a book that members of Congress definitely need to read or perhaps listen to the warnings of the courageous Ron Paul. With over 700 military bases stationed in over 130 countries and a decades-long bipartisan foreign policy of relentless intervention, Ivan Eland traces how our republic has strayed away from its constitutional roots and evolved into the very thing it rebelled against, Empire. He shows how a interventionist foreign policy ultimately does not serve genuine American interests and most importantly, is making us less safe. He correctly links terrorism to "blowback", the unintended consequences of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. With a chapter for liberals, conservatives, and all Americans, Eland gives strong arguments that empire goes against what each group cherishes most. More importantly than ever, it is time for the United States to heed the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and return to a non-interventionist foreign policy. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Ward on November 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Mr. Eland lays out persuasive arguments showing that the U.S. has been acting as an empire, particularity since 1950, rather than as the republic established in the U.S. Constitution. He presents separate chapters addressing the reasons that conservatives, liberals, and all citizens should be against empire. His point is that most foreign entanglements do us more harm than good, leaving him open to criticism for being isolationist, but the point is that even if foreign threats to the U.S. arise, it will be decades in the making, during which we stay abreast of events, rather than continually funding security for other countries while they use their savings for their own economic development.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Mayo on October 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
[...]

Eland is Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in California. Though his political philosophy differs significantly from mine, this book provides sound arguments against American imperialism that he manages to justify from both sides of American party politics. The general thrust of his writing is similar to Chalmers Johnson's (in fact, he references Johnson frequently), though the book focuses less on militarism and the loss of freedom and more on the general - and frighteningly, now commonly accepted - idea of an American Empire. A must-read for anyone looking for justification to forge a strong political movement for the dismantling of our empire.
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