- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 5, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521674603
- ISBN-13: 978-0521674607
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 32 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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America Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order
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'An in-depth survey of the intellectual development of neo-conservative thought over the last quarter century. Whether or not you agree with the book's conclusions, it is a must-read for anyone interested in the making of U.S. foreign policy in the 21st century.' C. Boyden Gray, White House General Counsel to President George H. W. Bush, 1988-1992
'This book dissects the American neo-conservatives and their ideology. It traces their intellectual and political connections; their rise to influence and then to power in Washington and passes judgement on their effects on US domestic politics and US foreign policy. You do not need to agree with the authors' every word to find this powerful critique of an important contemporary stream in American thinking enlightening and thought provoking.' Baroness Pauline Neville Jones, Former Political Director of the British Foreign Office
'Most critics of the war on Iraq belong to liberal, internationalist, American Democrat or European traditions. This book is a damning indictment by mainstream U.S. Republicans with long experience in government. It traces the rise of the neo-conservatives, their influence through think-tanks and the media, their obsession with Israel and the Middle East and their conversion of the Pentagon and President George W. Bush to a Manichaean unilateralist foreign policy in which force is the preferred option. 'Know your enemy' is always good policy; 'know your friends' is also a good principle and there is much in this book that should give supporters of British and American policy in Iraq pause for thought.' Sir Roger Tomkys, British Ambassador to Bahrain (1981-84) and Syria (1984-86)
'... An important and timely analysis of how a political movement succeeded in pushing the current administration to pursue the boldest American foreign policy program since Theodore Roosevelt while, at the same time, dismantling the internal review processes within the executive branch which, for over 50 years, had mitigated pressures to make reckless moves on the international stage. The jury is still out on whether or not the resulting American actions have been successes or failures. The outlook in early 2004, however, is not promising.' Frank R. Anderson, Chief, Near East and Southeast Asia Division, CIA, 1991-1995, and Chief of the Afghan Task Force, 1987-1989
'The pre-existing neo-conservative agenda to invade Iraq has inspired hundreds of new terrorists to attack our troops, and further endangered the homeland. America Alone is a splendid account of how we got into this pickle.' Thomas Twetten, Former Deputy Director of CIA for Operations
'America Alone is an important book ... it is a canary in a coalmine, informing the world that the Bush administration is now deemed unsound even by some who might be assumed to support it.' Financial Times Magazine
'... fascinating book ...' Sunday Times
'... a comprehensive, cogently argued history of neoconservatism from the 1970s to the present, and a forceful expression of political advocacy.' Journal of American Studies
'... by far the best study of the neo-con movement and its relevance to Bush's 'war on terror' in the flood of critical books that have poured forth during the second Iraq war.' Carribean Life
'Halper and Clarke are insiders who know the players and the sources. Their thoughtful, insightful work spans ideological and partisan differences, a rare phenomenon these days.' Washington Post
America's immense military power is of concern to all. Used wisely, it can preserve freedom; used unwisely, it will fracture global stability. We argue that so long as neo-conservatives radicals dominate the nation's national security process, fracture is more likely. These means Americans will see increasing threats in the future. The book is important because it identifies, clearly and for the first time, who these people are and what their agenda is. Itsets out an alternative approach based on a return to the mainstream principles that have successfully guided American diplomacy for half a century.
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The authors further suggest that Europe was unable to control the collapse of Yugoslavia, and unable to defy the “aggression” of the Serbian army. In fact it was Europe that caused the collapse of Yugoslavia. The EU, at the insistence of Germany, recognized Croatia with arbitrary borders with a Serbian minority in it. As if that was not enough the U.S. then recognized Bosnia, a “country” that had never existed, and which the Serbs did not want to have anything to do with. The allegation of Serbian “aggression” is absurd. The Serbs resisted to be torn out of Yugoslavia and forcefully incorporated into a Muslim state.
The Kosovo war was a serious violation of international law - a war crime. And it was fought under a false pretext. Ostensibly the purpose of the Rambouillet negotiations was to obtain autonomy for the Kosovo Albanians. The Serbs agreed to it. But Serbia was bombed anyway. Why? Because when the autonomy negotiations were concluded, Madeleine Albright inserted Appendix B, which amounted to Serbia’s unconditional capitulation, and occupation by foreign troops. The document has been removed from the State Department web page, but the text can still be found on-line. Are the authors unaware of it?
Why do the authors tell us these lies? They may have themselves provided the answer by what they have to say about the Iraq crisis. “The problem is found in the network of overlapping interests within the center that made it difficult to break ranks and to ask disquieting questions.” (p. 304)
“… this process had the effect of diminishing and marginalizing dissenting voices arising from other sections of the policy community.”
“Anyone who might wish to question the policy was now on the wrong side of rationality, morality, and patriotism.” (p. 218)
”critics branded disloyal or defeatist, often subsumed by robotic supporters parroting the official line.” (p. 300)
This puts us just one step short of totalitarianism.
“senior neo-conservative officials have orchestrated a sustained program of deception toward the American people … In doing this, they have, at various ties, directly or indirectly co-opted certain institutions of government, the media, the academy, and foreign allies, making them complicit in their deceit.” (p. 297)
“Thus, by the time … the administration began to construct the notional discourse, half of the task had already been completed by the overwhelming and sensational coverage from much of the American media.” (p. 195)
The neo-conservatives in Washington … created an entirely new reality. … It suspended ordinary judgment across the American polity. (p. 203)
“The process, which anthropologists call the “discursive construction of reality.” uses language to create a reality different from that which existed prior to the use of the language. In this case, prominent neo-conservatives fashioned a dialogue, a linguistic environment, that caused many to believe that the claims were rooted in fact, which was no the case. Thus a set of subjective interpretations, repeated in various fora and presented as fact, emerged as the only valid way to comprehend the choices” (p. 307)
The neo-conservatives may have not been as prominent during the Yugoslav conflict as they were around the Iraq war, but the pattern is clearly the same: disinformation, demonization, war. And nowadays it is being replicated again with respect to Russia. There have been attempts to apply it to Syria.
“the neo-conservative “discourse” was remarkably effective. Seemingly out of nowhere, Iraq was represented as an immediate danger to America.” (p. 203)
Similarly out of nowhere, Serbia became a villain on par with Nazi Germany. Within a few weeks of sustained media barrage our ally of two world wars became a perverted nation, totally dehumanized. Suddenly we discovered that Yugoslavia was “Serb dominated.” The respected SFRY, the inheritor of the partisan struggle against the Nazis, in which Randolph Churchill participated, the most liberal of the communist states, which preserved its independence in spite of Stalin’s temper tantrums, country that prided itself on equal treatment of its nationalities and providing for full cultural development of its minorities suddenly became “Serb dominated”!
The authors quote an anonymous military officer: “This is the most information intensive war you can imagine … we are going to lie” (p. 194) The full spectrum dominance doctrine requires superiority in the entire battlespace including psychological and “information” domains. Any form of deception is fair game. The U.S. oligarchy and particularly the neocons strive for “benevolent global hegemony.” That requires elimination of potential rivals (p. 145) and indeed any entity that does not comply. The designated adversary is first subjected to massive demonization. When dominance in the “information” domain is achieved the other domains follow. That is, the victim is first injected with venom and then subjected to military invasion. With Russia and China it will be more difficult than with Serbia and Iraq.
“the United States runs the risk of resembling the dragons against which it is fighting. A development of this kind would be an appalling tragedy both for Americans and the world, undercutting as it would America’s historic capacity to act as a force for good.” (p. 274) There is no “would”!
Halper and Clarke write many sensible things to me, and I am coming from a Center-Left viewpoint. This may be one of the most incredible parts of the book. I have come of age in my foreign policy thinking since just before 9/11, and while I would take a more liberal perspective many of the criticisms of the Bush Administration foreign policy than Clarke and Halper have, they are still the same as my own thoughts. This may also be one of the book's demonstrated weaknesses. The authors quote heavily from liberal thinkers but cite only scarcely from their fellow conservative intellectuals. This seems to be because other, more serious, conservative criticisms of neocon failings either aren't popular or are non-existent. If this is the case it is a shame.
Whichever the case, this is an excellent book to get the idea that there are those on the right unhappy with Iraq and other unilateral foreign adventures undertaken by Bush and the neocons.
I think a few excerpts from the book explain our current foreign policy - and the reasons for the war in Iraq. A basic tenet of the Neo-Con movement is American Supremacy - military and other. Hence there is no need to be bothered with other nations or their interests. This is the famous "Unipolar Moment" which is now an "Era." This is the reason we need "no entangling alliances."
"Having, as we have shown, more or less abandoned international cooperation as a means of achieving American objectives, having an almost religious belief in military power, and living by a historically anomalous selfish interpretation of American leadership, Neo-conservatives prefer to go it alone." (pg 272)
On page 281 is a quote from a historical figure which is very apropos -
"As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil then the good becomes indistinguishable from the evil they set out to destroy" - John Locke. (pg 281)
We have very much come to this with the new permissiveness for the "invasion of privacy" under the PATRIOT and other laws put forward by this administration.
And most clear and concise of all is this Clausewitzian statement found on pg. 282, "Terrorism neither occurs in a vacuum nor is it generally a product of outside agitation or ideologies. Rather terror can be seen to follow Clausewitz's dictum as politics by other means. Placed in a political context, there can be no military conclusion to a counterterrorist campaign." (pg 282) Witness Algeria, witness Viet Nam, witness Northern Ireland, witness Basque Spain, and witness Iraq to come.
Neo-Conservatism is a bankrupt policy of military aggression and suppression. It can be explained to Iraqi's as "This is what is best for you." Is it no surprise that they reject it - and that our "allies" such as France, Germany, Korea and many others reject it also.
The book is a real eye opener. You should not miss it if America's future is something important to you.
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