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The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism Paperback – June 26, 2007
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'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 Using statistics, analysis and historical references, Hossein-zadeh reveals the troubling picture that America may have succumbed to militarism despite the warnings of Washington, Eisenhower and Butler.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.
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Ismael Hossein-Zadeh's The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (2006) exposes the more legitimate and dangerous forces at work influencing US' unilateral militarist policies around the world, but especially in the Middle East. It addresses the influential military-industrial complex's critical role and those of associated businesses, who've stood to gain and profit from war and military expansion. This first occurred almost immediately after WWII and it changed and overthrew the approximately 150-year long-established relationship between the supply and demand for arms and war equipment. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and fearing the threat of peace, the military-industrial complex sought new forms of threats and enemies to exploit to justify not only the maintenance, but also the increase in military spending. It found new enemies in "rogue states," "Islamic militants," China, weapons of mass destruction, etc. From this emanated the military-industrial complex's alliance with their Zionist counterparts, creating the informal military-industrial-Likud alliance-the primary reason behind the provocation and instigation of conflict, war, violence, bloodshed, and so on, in the region. The author also talks about the two prevailing imperialist approaches toward US foreign policy (Trilateralists/multilateralists vs unilateral militarists) and their (at times) contentious struggle, over decades, to guide and control the course of US foreign policy. Ultimately, a lot of groups and individuals not only stand to gain and profit from the war economy, but are dependent on it for sustenance, including the American people. Hossein-Zadeh concludes that in order to bring about the end of the industrial-military-Likud and the industrial-military complex, the eradication of the profit motive from the arms industry and warfare needs to happen.
Hossein-zadeh points out that it is the industrial part of the military-industrial complex that is most problematic because it is driven by the profit motive.
I happen to disagree with Hossein-zadeh in that I think the oil transnationals also want wars in the Middle East. (He says these entities prefer stability.) This difference in views detracts nothing, however, from his analysis of the military-industrial aspect of these conflicts.
I'm a writer and use this book as a reference.
I hope it comes out in paperback so more people can afford it.
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. This is accomplished by maintaining the citizenry in a constant state of fear and anxiety over manufactured and imaginary threats to national security.
The author very adroitly sets forth a stunning array of damning (or encouraging - depending on your political/economic persuasion) data that clearly penetrates the mythology of America being a peaceful "democracy" - or its intention of spreading democracy peacefully.
Being driven by 85,000 private contracting firms, he covers how DoD has co-opted an appalling number of educational institutions (350 colleges and universities) for Pentagon research programs that one can logically assume are not focused on creating a better soufflé.
The author shows that, unlike war efforts of the past, with more clearly established justification, the current military behemoth "tends to undermine the economic base it is supposed to nurture. Furthermore, control of the massive amounts of national resources by the military-industrial complex tends to undermine democratic values, pervert republican principles, and curtail civil liberties [ala Guantanamo Bay, Extreme Rendition, et. al.]. It also tends to corrupt both policy and politics at home and abroad."
For all of his impressive research and comprehensive documentation on a military industrial complex run amok, Mr. Hossein-Zadeh presents a very flowing and remarkably readable treatment on the subject. What could very well have been a dry treatise by a university professor of economics, is in reality so packed with remarkable and historically documented data that no open-minded reader can but stand in awe at what this nation has perpetrated under the camouflage of "national security." The author clearly presents, in a markedly unbiased manner, the inescapable reality that this professed lamb of alleged democracy speaks and acts as a dragon. His conclusions are eminently logical, and fortified with over 125 sources and 379 carefully documented citations.
This book should occupy several places in any academic or public library: Reference; History; Economics and an as-yet nonexistent section labeled "Wakeup Call."
Mr. Hossein-Zadeh documents:
- the penetration of the Pentagon into the deepest and highest levels of government and education.
- the nearly pervasive invasion of former high-ranking military officers and defense contractor executives into upper level policy making of the Bush and previous administrations.
- how, unlike world military empires past and over 150 years of American history, the present US martial adventurism is not stimulated by the military sector, but rather by market-driven forces on the business side of the Military/Industrial Complex - an economic calculus of death for money.
- that the "Blood for Oil" myth is essentially a red herring created by the neocons to the intent of diverting public attention from the genuine purposes of the current war, i.e., the exsanguination of the American taxpayers bloodstream into the pockets of the enormous beast of industrial militarism.
- that peace is anathema to the ideals of current American policy simply because militaristic proponents believe there is more money and economic growth in war.
The above and very many more findings are clearly not extracted, whole-cloth, from the author's imagination. Each is fortified with either direct quotes from the principals, or extensive documentation from official and/or credible sources. Liberally scattered amongst those well-ordered and factual citations are many logically deduced and thought provoking conclusions such as, "...not all militarists don military uniform. In fact, business and ideological beneficiaries and promoters of war, who do not have to face direct combat and death, tend to be more jingoistic and trigger-happy than professional military personnel who will have to face the horrors of warfare." And "Despite its apparent complexity, reducing international acts of terrorism and fostering global peace and stability would not be very difficult in the absence of this perverse dynamics of the business of war."
In other words, take the profits out of war, and peace is the default.
The author quite agilely connects the dots in an almost incomprehensibly interconnected web of neoconservative, military/industrial and militant Zionist players, all of which are virtually household names for anyone tuning in to mainstream media news. But he takes these players and vividly portrays the incestuous components of American militarism in a way that brings to sharp focus their pernicious, inbred, self-referencing purposes - intents that have literally sacrificed America on the alter of its own cannibalistic consumerism.
This book could be a wakeup call, but it appears to be such that would awaken one to a burning house in which all the exits are blocked. It illustrates that the military-industrial complex has become not so much a case of the tail wagging the dog, as the tail bludgeoning the dog into oblivion.
Oh, and if I haven't already mentioned this: PUBLISHER, you must make this work available in paperback at a price those who really need to read it can afford.
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It's about life or death, about a sustainable future or none at all.Read more
In "The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism," Professor Hossein-zadeh of Drake University makes a compelling case that the military-industrial...Read more