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The Reckoning: Debt, Democracy, and the Future of American Power Hardcover – April 10, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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The U.S. can no longer afford the exorbitant cost of national security or be responsible for global security and the sense of manifest destiny on which it is built. Working with the research of renowned economist Nouriel Roubini, Moran forecasts global trends that include the rise of China, India, Brazil and others while the U.S. maintains its strength but sees its “exceptionalism” tarnished. He analyzes the impact of important trends, including crushing U.S. national debt, information technology reducing U.S. influence around the world, the rising prosperity of emerging nations, and the loss of financial credibility because the U.S. triggered the economic crisis of 2008. Will the U.S. learn the lessons of the recent past or continue to deny reality? Moran sees a hopeful sign in the downgrading of debt, which forces tough decisions. But he also notes continued “ideological puritanism” that will wreck any plans for real change. His recommendations include a more manageable military budget, restoration of financial regulations, and strengthening of the middle class. A grim but hopeful analysis of the global position of the U.S. and the dire need for change. --Vanessa Bush

Review

"Michael Moran understands what few Americans do: that we have reached a tipping point in global history that will fundamentally change the planet...America will find it very difficult to adjust to its new place as a peer, rather than a dominant nation."
--From the Foreword by Nouriel Roubini, Chairman and Founder, Roubini Global Economics


"The Reckoning is a chilling survey of the state of the world and American global leadership. Michael Moran sees the real problems and argues that things will go from bad to worse unless Washington ... change its ways and embrace major reforms. I hope he's wrong--but I fear he may be right."
Gideon Rose
Editor, Foreign Affairs


“An engaging, if chilling read… Moran's point of view is valuable, particularly in the context of the U.S.' November elections.” ―USA Today

The Reckoning is a smart, sober and clear-eyed primer on the Post-American Century. Read it, and then demand equally straight answers from those who seek your vote.” ―The Seattle Times

“A grim but hopeful analysis of the global position of the U.S. and the dire need for change.” ―Booklist

“For policy and financial wonks, a smart, bracing and sobering read; for voters, fair warning about possible outcomes of the looming November elections.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“This solemn examination of the severe problems facing the U.S. today...offers a practical, useful roadmap for change if politicians will follow.” ―Publishers Weekly

The Reckoning is a chilling survey of the state of the world and American global leadership. Michael Moran sees the real problems and argues that things will go from bad to worse unless Washington can somehow manage to change its ways and embrace major reforms. I hope he's wrong--but I fear he may be right.” ―Gideon Rose, Editor, Foreign Affairs and author of How Wars End

“Mike Moran is a sharp thinker and a fine storyteller, and The Reckoning is a terrifically engaging read. America's role in the world is a subject that demands clarity and nuance, and this book delivers both.” ―Ian Bremmer, author of The End of the Free Market

“With the clarity and style of someone used to communicating complicated stuff to a general audience, Moran draws on his decades of experience to lay out for readers all the factors in the bill that has come due for America and how we can pay it off. The choices are hard but Moran is not a "declinist;" he is a realistic optimist. The Reckoning is a book that frames the choices facing America's citizens better than any I have read.” ―Michael Goldarb, Senior Correspondent, GlobalPost.com and author of Emancipation: How Liberating Europe's Jews From the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance

“Moran comprehensively and bluntly catalogs the political, economic, and foreign policy errors that have drained the Treasury and diminished global opinion of American leadership. His views will irritate many current stakeholders. They do however contribute to a needed debate on American's future role in global security and Moran believes that role, while, requiring changes in style and substance, remains vital.” ―Dr. William Turcotte, Chairman Emeritus, Naval War College

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023033993X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230339934
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,907,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this eye-opening, riveting and non-partisan view of where we are in the world (vs. where we see ourselves). Though it's approach is a "plague on both houses" The Reckoning provides real resolutions. Anybody interested in understanding how we got here and where we think we are going (in the global political landscape) should read this book. Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
The day of American global dominance is ending - a huge debt burden, and risky economic and foreign policies have made a mockery of our cherished notion of exceptionalism. Instead of confronting reality, we continue our unsuccessful practices - eg. fiscal policy directed by the size of the national debt rather than the employment crisis at hand has become a tremendous drag on economic growth. Our one 'hope,' manipulating exchange rates to influence trade balances, is a zero-sum game.

The 'good news' is that America will continue to appear strong, perhaps for as long as a generation; the 'bad news' is that our slow decline is not likely to prod the significant constructive actions needed. These include more progressive taxation and fiscal stimulus aimed at improving productive infrastructure, coupled with long-term fiscal discipline, stricter supervision and regulation of a financial system still running amok (eg. J.P. Morgan), and the breakup of 'too big to fail' banks. Also needed - less investment in hugely expensive satellite weaponry, hypersonic aircraft, and naval flotillas.

Except for the peak years of WWII, the U.S. has never had a debt/GDP ratio as high as it is now. At 1% rates, the interest now has reached $169 billion/year, exceeding eg. federal spending on highway construction and other 2011 transportation projects.

Israel was the #2 recipient of U.S. foreign aid in 2010, #3 in 2011. Adding Egypt and Jordan's foreign-aid receipts (provided primarily to calm the waters for Israel), would clear make Israel the #1 recipient in both years. Israel's policies of occupying the West Bank and Gaza, proliferating nuclear weapons while pretending it doesn't have any, and the denial of voting and property rights to Palestinians cannot continue.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an education, a kind of geostrategy course in 200 pages. It can, at times, be painful to read for holding a magnifying glass to the widening cracks and festering splinters in the foundation of US government... but thankfully, the book stands out from other US `declinist' books in providing a nuanced look at the less obvious ways that America's influence has diminished as well as real recommendations on how to regain it. The author has a kind of journalistic style that is lively and accessible - it is sophisticated in its analysis without being pedantic, wonky or too technical. AS we careen toward another debt showdown in Washington, anyone who wants to understand the big picture should read this!
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Format: Hardcover
Fascinating and interesting take on some of the causes of the more serious geostrategic and macroeconomic issues facing the US today. In particular, chapters where Moran uses recent events to demonstrate how technology and social media shifted the balance of power in ways establishment powers couldn't predict, and how the rise of new powers (China, Brazil) will continue to challenge US leadership. He makes an eloquent case for real leadership in the US in terms of changing our foreign and monetary policy for the better before its too late- including current human rights and energy policies.
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Format: Hardcover
Wonderfully written and succinct. Michael Moran guides you through the complex world of macro economics and politics in a smooth and very understandable way. The best and easiest primer on what we are facing as a nation (and world) in these turbulent times.
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