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The Bubble of American Supremacy Hardcover – December, 2003

3.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Proving that exorbitant wealth and allegiance to the Republican Party do not necessarily go hand in hand, billionaire George Soros offers a sharp critique of the neoconservative philosophy that he sees guiding the George W. Bush administration. In The Bubble of American Supremacy, Soros warns that American efforts to be the ultimate global superpower will not only be unsuccessful but will make America and the world infinitely more unstable. Bush and company, he says, have callously used the events of September 11th for their own political gain and misled the world about the threat posed by Iraq. In previous American presidential elections, billionaires Steve Forbes and Ross Perot have tried to run for president themselves to address the country's problems, but Soros--while no less zealous about his convictions--sees his role a little differently. "I have made it my primary objective to persuade the American public to reject President Bush in the upcoming elections," he writes, "We have been deceived." The arguments he makes and the evidence he presents are interesting enough, although there really isn't anything here that hasn't been written in scores of other anti-Bush books released around the same time. What sets Soros's book apart from all the others is the recurring presence of Soros himself, frequently citing previous books he's written, speeches he's made, and highlights of his career. The pronoun "I" is never far away. Granted, it's been an interesting career; his financial success coupled with his passionate political convictions would make for a terrific memoir, but at times in this book Soros's ego gets almost comically in the way. Referring to his long-held support for open societies, he says this philosophy "could almost be called the Soros doctrine" only to renounce propriety over it a page later. Soros is a capable writer and a clear thinker, and he ably articulates his views. Readers interested in criticisms of Bush and company have several options but readers interested in George Soros will find plenty to satisfy them here. --John Moe

From Publishers Weekly

Soros has made it his "primary objective to persuade the American public to reject President Bush in the forthcoming elections." This aspiration is immediately clear from the outset of his new book. The founder of Soros Fund Management (and author of The Crisis of Global Capitalism, etc.) gives sweeping critiques of the current administration and shows how its post-9/11 policy has pointed the country in a direction that he believes will lead to ruin. The book's major shortcoming is that it fails to add anything particularly new to this project, and is not always convincing. It's not clear, for instance, why a pact of signatories to the Warsaw Declaration for the development of democracy would be more effective than the U.N. in getting nations to put the common good above national interest. To his credit, Soros accurately presents the important dimensions of the "Bush Doctrine" foreign policy and its vision of America's role in the world. He is able to incorporate his expertise in areas of international finance and to give some interesting and unique insights, such as seeing American supremacy as the boom part of a boom-bust cycle. But neither simple explication nor periodic nuggets of wisdom make this a particularly good read. Overall, the book is clear, but it will do little to persuade an attentive American audience that they should vote Bush out in 2004.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (December 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586482173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586482176
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,674,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Theodore A. Rushton on January 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you think the foreign policy of President George Bush is inept and leading America into a quagmire, then you'll love this book; Soros offers the intelligent businessman's solution to the conservative quicksand.
Consider the background of Soros and Bush. Soros survived the Nazis and Communists in Hungary, got to the US in 1956 and had enough business acumen to become a billionaire. Bush is the son of Old Establishment money and political patronage who never earned a cent in his life, always relying on his Daddy's wealthy friends. Soros became rich by understanding the motivations and actions of others; Bush became president because political advisers Karl Rove and James Baker saw him as a pliant puppet,
Does that make either man a foreign affairs expert? No.
Soros' foreign expertise comes from the $500 million he spends every year to encourage genuine democracy around the world. Bush's policy comes from a narrow group of American Supremacist reactionaries who advocate a unilateralist approach which other nations may join but not influence. Therein lies the difference between the two: Bush has an America First policy, Soros advocates cooperative international solution.
Who is right? Well, in the world of business, Soros' ideas of cooperation instead of confrontation works well. He outlines his approach with an articulate skill in this book, criticizing the Bush mistakes and saying other nations can offer invaluable help. Soros is the modern equivalent of President Woodrow Wilson who created the League of Nations, a brilliant idea which failed due to American isolationism and its failure to counter aggression. Like Wilson, Soros believes in rational people making intelligent decisions.
In brief, it is the essence of his book.
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Format: Hardcover
Soros is a self-made businessman and honest philanthropist - an unusual mix in this day-and-age. He has no hidden agenda, no political career aspirations, or behind-the-scenes mouths to feed.
It is this reason that this honest and clear perspective on the current Administration's political and military tactics and overall strategic direction is enlightening.
He is not burdened with the career aspirations of so-many other writers - he can write as he sees and backs it up with clear quotes and examples.
As a 'foreigner' living in the USA, and achieving my goals through the freedom afforded me by this country, I recognize the need for the protection of this BUT Soros provides an insightful comment on where this might lead us all - from victims to perpetrators of even greater atrocities on a global scale.
An excellent book that all should read for balanced commentary on the state of the world and America's part in the future.
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Format: Hardcover
We all should be grateful to George Soros. After having worked hard for several decades and made a fortune, he could do anything he wants, go anywhere he likes. What he chooses is to use his wealth to help people around the world. In writing this book, he has spent his precious time to alert Americans to the dangers they face from their own government. Unlike many a pundit, Soros is not looking for personal gain or seeking political appointment. He is one of the most astute observers around, and a rare one who is not pursuing a personal interest.

Listen to Soros, folks. It is worth getting this book just to read his insights as to why Bush really went to war in Iraq and contrast the reality he presents to the misleading pap offered by the administration. Truth may be uncomfortable, but ignoring it gets one into bad messes. Soros predicted a quagmire well before many people realized the consequences of the ill-conceived foreign adventure. No surprise; he is well attuned to deception by powers-that-be.

From his early years in Hungary to his later efforts to help build civil society in Eastern Europe, he saw close up the horrors that have been inflicted by lying, lawless, thuggish governments. His concern that America is sliding in that direction deserves to be taken seriously. Bush partisans are demonizing Soros for his pains and attempting to smear him every which way they can. Americans can judge for themselves by reading this book.

People complain that Soros rambles in his writing or his arguments are not always clear or fully argued. Considering the grave issues at hand, stylistic quibbles sound petty in the extreme. And while Soros is certainly not the only writer on the topic, he brings to it an exceptional skill for analysis. One benefits from reading him whether he is analyzing markets or a war. In any case, this book is easy to read.
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Format: Hardcover
It is a shame that I can give this book no better than 2 stars. For starters, I agree ideologically with much of Soros's case. I am utterly convinced that the war in Iraq did nothing for us (and much against us). I am also disheartened because what should have been a feasible war on terror has consisted in nothing but us knocking out countries we don't like with a coalition growing more brittle by the day. What makes my low rating more of a shame is that Soros and I share a common philosophical hero in Sir Karl Popper and are both committed to the idea of the open society.

But, alas; for all that, I must rate the book only two stars. Why? It is simple. While the first half of the book (Soros' critiques of Bush's international methods) is astute and well thought out, it is poorly backed up, quite over-simplistic, and its arguments are readily available in many other books of better quality. Soros is not even close to the only guy who has criticized the go-it-alone "Bush Doctrine." Read Etzionni's "From Empire to Community" for a much more researched, professional, and less rhetorical critique (and there are scores of other books you've doubtless heard of). What's more, while the section makes good theoretical arguments, the research is shoddy and most consists of personal anecdotes or references to New York Times articles. Not too impressive.

The second section (where Soros was supposed to propose his vision of the solution) was maundering, much less than clear, and episodic. One chapter suggests that instead of relying on the UN, we might rely on what is called the "community of democracies" but fails to make clear how this group won't suffer from the same self-interested in-fighting and utter imptence to enforce decrees as the UN.
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