- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (December 15, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0190663995
- ISBN-13: 978-0190663995
- Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 1 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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National Security and Double Government Reprint Edition
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"To Michael J Glennon, in National Security and Double Government, . . . no matter who is elected to run White House and Congress, they are puppets of a permanent apparatus. In less capable hands, Glennon's thesis might come across as sophomoric. Yet as a scholar who worked on Capitol Hill for years, Glennon is that rare thing: an academic with real world experience. Instead of a rupture between George W Bush and Obama, Glennon sees remarkable continuity. Towards the end of his presidency, Bush was asked what most surprised him about the job. 'How little authority I have,' he said. That is also what people say about Obama." -Edward Luce, Financial Times
"Mr. Glennon smartly points out that while lawmakers aren't experts in social policy, education, economics and countless other areas subject to legislation, it is only in the realm of national security and intelligence that they surrender the reins of power. This is a powerful part of his argument: The lack of oversight means there is neither check nor balance on how our national-security policies are implemented or on how they are created in the first place." -Ali Soufan, The Wall Street Journal
"Glennon's book is not a breezy read: It's thick with fact and not unappreciative of conundrum. Nor is he glib with proposed solutions: to adequately respond to the threats posed by a below-the-radar second government will require. But if Glennon's book is enlightening it is also scary. And it's not fiction." -Mickey Edwards, The Boston Globe
"Glennon has written a unique book that stands out among the collection of post-9/11 works for the way it lashes historical trends to the most contemporary problems of government secrecy, power and overreach in a highly readable way. I underlined passages on just about every page and can't wait to reread it. The 'ah ha!' moments are endless." -Dana Priest, The Washington Post
"Michael Glennon's book is important precisely because it pulls back the curtain to reveal the realities of the largely unconstrained U.S. national security state. In doing so, Glennon's analysis shows how the national security apparatus is a threat to the very freedoms its inhabitants and supporters purport to protect." -Christopher J. Coyne, Public Choice
"Glennon's argument is powerful and troubling. Whatever the exact diagnosis of a problem that is clearly multidimensional, Glennon is devastating in his critique of Congressional weakness in checking Executive actions and overseeing military and intelligence agencies. Whether or not it helps resuscitate American democracy or serves as an autopsy on its demise, Double Government is essential reading." - Clifford Bob, New Rambler
"If constitutional government is to endure in the United States, Americans must confront the fundamental challenges presented by this chilling analysis of the national security state." -Bruce Ackerman, Yale University
"Shrewdly updating Walter Bagehot's theory of 'double government,' Michael Glennon shows how present-day Washington really works. In our faux democracy, those we elect to govern serve largely ornamental purposes, while those who actually wield power, especially in the realm of national security, do so chiefly with an eye toward preserving their status and prerogatives. Read this incisive and richly documented book, and you'll understand why." -Andrew J. Bacevich, Boston University
"Taking a leaf from Walter Bagehot's thesis of dual government in Britain, Michael Glennon has transported the concept of 'double government' to the United States analyzing the constitutional institutions, or what he calls the 'Madisonian' side; and a cohort of several hundred senior military, diplomatic, and intelligence officials who run the daily business of national security, or what he calls the 'Trumanite' side. This explains the relatively little difference between the Bush 43 and the Obama presidencies. In this brilliant, deeply researched book, Glennon spells out the relation of his overall thesis to contemporary issues such as the Snowden revelations." -Charles G. Cogan, Harvard Kennedy School
"His answer is altogether darker and more radical than you'd reasonably expect from a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee legal counsel and current international law professor at Tufts. Glennon argues, in essence, that the national security state has become a runaway train and that presidential elections are contests that determine who gets to pretend he's driving." -Gene Healy, Cato Institute
"Michael Glennon has written a brilliant book that helps explain why U.S. foreign policy changes so little over time, despite frequent failure. Barack Obama certainly promised to fundamentally alter America's approach to the world, but little changed after he took office. Glennon shows how the underlying national security bureaucracy in Washington - what might be called the deep state - ensures that presidents and their successors act on the world stage like Tweedledee and Tweedledum." -John J. Mearsheimer, University of Chicago
"In this timely book Michael Glennon provides a compelling argument that America's national security policy is growing outside the bounds of existing government institutions. This is at once a constitutional challenge, but is also a case study in how national security can change government institutions, create new ones, and, in effect, stand-up a parallel state. This is a well-argued book of academic import and policy relevance. It is recommended reading for an informed debate on an issue of great significance." -Vali Nasr, Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies
"National Security and Double Government is an important and insightful book. It should be read by anyone concerned that Obama's national security policies differ so little from those of the Bush Administration, and by every in-coming President and her staff." -Morton H. Halperin, Senior Advisor, Open Society Foundations
"Michael Glennon's National Security and Double Government explains why U.S. foreign policy is prone to recurring failure and resistant to genuine reform. Instead of being responsive to citizens or subject to effective checks and balances, U.S. national security policy is in fact conducted by a shadow government of bureaucrats and a supporting network of think tanks, media insiders, and ambitious policy wonks. Presidents may come and go, but the permanent national security establishment inevitably defeats their efforts to chart a new course. Gracefully written and extensively researched, this book is the most penetrating analysis of U.S. foreign policy that I have read in years." -Stephen M. Walt, Harvard Kennedy School
"National Security and Double Government is brilliant, deep, sad, and vastly learned across multiple fields--a work of Weberian power and stature. It deserves to be read and discussed. The book raises philosophical questions in the public sphere in a way not seen at least since Fukuyama's end of history." -David A. Westbrook, Del Cotto Professor, SUNY Buffalo Law School
"My favorite nonfiction book this year is National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, which argues that the president and Congress are largely figureheads in setting U.S. national security policy." -Tom Jackson, Sandusky Register
"In his provocative new book, National Security and Double Government, he [Glennon] analyzes political developments after World War II that should be of great interest to those who follow constitutional law." -Lou Fisher, The Federal Lawyer
National Security and Double Government is a well-written and researched work. The author eloquently states his case with support from numerous examples, quotes, and case studies from past political, military, and judicial personnel. Overall, this book provides an important and timely contribution to the current political discourse." -George Washington International Law Review
"Michael Glennon is a respected scholar; his book is objective and nonideological; and his contentions and conclusions are carefully documented and corroborated." -David S. D'Amato, The Future of Freedom Foundation
"It is refreshing to read a book or article that avoids optimistic but unachievable normative proposals. Glennon's book neatly captures a real phenomenon in the national security arena: executive-branch experts have significant, and sometimes unchecked, power to make critical policy decisions that are hard to unwind."-AJIL, Ashley Deeks, University of Virginia School of Law
"Michael Glennon's book is important precisely because it pulls back the curtain to reveal the realities of the largely unconstrained U.S. national security state. In doing so, Glennon's analysis shows how the national security apparatus is a threat to the very freedoms its inhabitants and supporters purport to protect." - Christopher J. Coyne, Public Choice
About the Author
Michael J. Glennon is Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Before going into teaching, he was the Legal Counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He co-authored Foreign Affairs Federalism: The Myth of National Exclusivity (with Robert D. Sloane, Oxford, 2016). He also co-authored Foreign Relations and National Security Law, and he is the author of Constitutional Diplomacy, among other books. His op-ed pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, International Herald-Tribune, Financial Times, and Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with his wife and son.
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Top customer reviews
Michael J. Glennon set out to answer this question in his unsettling new book, National Security and Double Government. And he clearly dislikes what he found.
The answer, Glennon discovered, is that the US government is divided between the three official branches of the government, on the one hand — the “Madisonian” institutions incorporated into the Constitution — and the several hundred unelected officials who do the real work of a constellation of military and intelligence agencies, on the other hand. These officials, called “Trumanites” in Glennon’s parlance for having grown out of the national security infrastructure established under Harry Truman, make the real decisions in the area of national security. (To wage the Cold War, Truman created the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense, the CIA, the NSA, and the National Security Council.) “The United States has, in short,” Glennon writes, “moved beyond a mere imperial presidency to a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy. . . . The perception of threat, crisis, and emergency has been the seminal phenomenon that has created and nurtures America’s double government.” If Al Qaeda hadn’t existed, the Trumanite network would have had to create it — and, Glennon seems to imply, might well have done so.
The Trumanites wield their power with practiced efficiency, using secrecy, exaggerated threats, peer pressure to conform, and the ability to mask the identity of the key decision-maker as their principal tools.
Michael J. Glennon comes to this task with unexcelled credentials. A professor of international law at Tufts and former legal counsel for the Senate Armed Services Committee, he came face to face on a daily basis with the “Trumanites” he writes about. National Security and Double Government is exhaustively researched and documented: notes constitute two-thirds of this deeply disturbing little book.
The more I learn about how politics and government actually work — and I’ve learned a fair amount in my 73 years — the more pessimistic I become about the prospects for democracy in America. In some ways, this book is the most worrisome I’ve read over the years, because it implies that there is no reason whatsoever to think that things can ever get better. In other words, to borrow a phrase from the Borg on Star Trek, “resistance is futile.” That’s a helluva takeaway, isn’t it?
On reflection, what comes most vividly to mind is a comment from the late Chalmers Johnson on a conference call in which I participated several years ago. Johnson, formerly a consultant to the CIA and a professor at two campuses of the University of California (Berkeley and later San Diego), was the author of many books, including three that awakened me to many of the issues Michael Glennon examines: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis. Johnson, who was then nearly 80 and in declining health, was asked by a student what he would recommend for young Americans who want to combat the menace of the military-industrial complex. “Move to Vancouver,” he said.
The mounting evidence notwithstanding, I just hope it hasn’t come to that.
Prof. Glennon is to be commended for having the intestinal fortitude to write this book and subjecting himself to the inevitable criticism which will follow from the defenders of the status quo.
However, I can only give the book four stars, as it has a serious flaw in my opinion. The author subscribes to a benign explanation for the rise in double government, and unjustly ignores the role of the armaments industry and defense contractors in the explosive growth of the national security state. The motivation is money, and the systematic looting of the U.S. Treasury to benefit private industry, which may ultimately prove the undoing of our democracy.
President Eisenhower, in his now famous farewell address in 1960, warned us all against the gaining of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial establishment. He saw the dangers posed by policies being formulated and operations being conducted by our military and intelligence agencies when the primary benefits flowed to those with an economic stake in the outcomes, rather than acting in the best interests of our citizenry.
Anyone interested in learning how we have gotten to this sad stage, with no real prospects for change from one administration to the next, should read this book.
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