- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Crown (August 2, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307408418
- ISBN-13: 978-0307408419
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,754,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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State vs. Defense: The Battle to Define America's Empire Hardcover – August 2, 2011
"In crisp, authoritative writing, the author sets down some scathing portraits, from MacArthur to Rumsfeld, and in a powerful conclusion, exposes the disequilibrium between the U.S. civilian versus military resources throughout the world and the continued “appeasement” by President Obama to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A work of smoldering focus and marshaled evidence."--Kirkus Reviews
"Stephen Glain has written and important and thought-provoking book on the growing militarizing of our foreign policy. It is a hot issue that is getting a great deal of attention in Washington. Steve has done a masterful job of researching ths subject and presenting a compelling case. State vs. Defense is a must-read for all those developing our foreign policy and for those who are interested in this critical issue."--Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Retired)
"The United States remains committed to a mindless pursuit of military supresmacy, regardless of cost or consequences. Stephen Glain has got the goods on the militarists who spooked and stampeded the American pople into supporting this bizarre enterprise. His is an urgently important tale, vividly told."--Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War
“Stephen Glain's State vs. Defense enters the battle as a battering ram at the Pentagon's gates.”--The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Stephen Glain has been a journalist for twenty years. He spent four years in Hong Kong writing for the local South China Morning Post before joining the Wall Street Journal in 1991 with stints in Tokyo, Seoul, and then Tel Aviv and Amman. His book Mullahs, Merchants, and Militants was named the best book of 2004 by online magazine The Globalist. His articles on U.S. foreign policy, East Asia, and the Arab world have appeared in The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Nation, the Financial Times, Gourmet, Smithsonian, Newsweek, The National, and elsewhere. Visit his website at www.StephenGlain.com.
Top Customer Reviews
It frames American Cold War history in terms of the steady erosion of the power and influence of the State Department, lost to the Department of Defense and its camarilla of radical-conservative supporters, lobbyists, and dollar-patriots.
None of the information in this work is new; much of it has been more cogently expressed elsewhere by writers like David Halberstam, Joseph Trento, Kevin Phillips, and an entire generation of academic historians. However, Glain's focus on the the battle between State and Defense gives his work a sharp focus, and allows him to show his readers how and why the post-war American world-view has been consistently manipulated to support a military machine so enormous that it's warped the very democracy it was created to protect.
Conservative readers will dismiss this book as a work of advocacy masquerading as history. Having lived through most of the period discussed in this book (and having spent perhaps an inordinate amount of time reflecting and analyzing), I feel it corresponds very well to events as I experienced them.
I did find a glaring factual error that should be corrected prior to the next printing: on p. 75, the author writes, "As a political tactic, McCarthyism was a success. Truman, having been portrayed as soft on communism, was handily defeated in the 1952 election by Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower."
Perhaps this edition fell through from an alternate universe, but in our timeline the election of 1952 was contested by Dwight Eisenhower and the Governor of Illinois, Adlai Stevenson. Maybe the author included this as a test to see if any of his reviewers actually read the book.
As of 2010, DOD had 190,000 troops and 115,000 civilian employees in 909 military facilities in 46 nations and territories. The cost, including Homeland Security, retirement benefits, exceeds $1 trillion/year - nearly 8% of GDP, and 5X that of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, combined. Glain also notes that most of those pushing this militarism have been legislators, civil servants, evangelists (new opportunities to redeem lost souls), American exceptionalists, and business leaders (United Fruit, Dole Pineapple) - with the obvious exceptions of Generals MacArthur and LeMay.
Increasing abilities of asymmetric warfare provide another strong reason for the U.S. to back away from militarism.Read more ›
The title conflict, State versus Defense, is one of the most important of those threads. This is the recurring question of whether the United States' interaction with real or manufactured rivals (in roughly historical order: China, the Soviet Union, China, the Serbs, "drugs," Saddam Hussein, militant Islam, and now, China again) should be handled primarily by diplomats with regional expertise, or by generals, admirals, and hawkish congressmen with armaments plants in their districts. No prizes for guessing which side won that argument, when today the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and proconsular "combatant commanders" bestride the world like colossi while the director general of the foreign service (which Glain notes is a roughly equivalent position to JCS chairman) languishes in absolute obscurity.
The victory of the propagandistically-misnamed "Defense" Department in that struggle, and the parallel rise of the military-industrial complex (which Glain tellingly compares to the USSR's own "industrial-military commission," or VPK, which was a big contributor to the ultimate collapse of the Soviet economy), are big parts of Glain's argument, but there's much more too. He describes, for example, how by purging the State Department of its experienced and knowledgeable "China hands" and, by extension, creating a lasting political prejudice against any kind of State Department regional expert, McCarthyism blinded American leaders to the historical and geopolitical nuances of the situations we were and are confronting.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Despite the 13/24 five star reviews this book is problematic on multiple issues - so error-prone is the writing that I was unable to read past 64% on my Kindle. Read morePublished on September 5, 2014 by John Bell
This book presents an interesting viewpoint on the approaches to international politics as put forth by the State and Defense departments. Read morePublished on February 11, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Stephen Glain's book is one that is hard to put down once you begin to read it--quite rare for a nonfiction political tale. Read morePublished on October 5, 2013 by Attorney Jack
State vs Defense presents an unique perspective on the evolution of America's post-WW2 foreign policy: dissecting and analyzing it like a title fight between two government... Read morePublished on September 29, 2013 by Robert D. Harris
Eye-opening and thought provoking. This book provides a well laid out history and sequence of events that have led us to where we are today as a nation. Read morePublished on June 8, 2013 by Souljazz
Glain is a terrific writer, easy to read, yet scholarly, and has proruced the best book I have ever read on foreign policy and American History over the last century. Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by Darrell Cozen
I found the historical review aspect more to my interest than the battle between the two government departments. Read morePublished on May 7, 2012 by T. Ziegler
This book is a mostly a left-wing critique of US foreign policy since WWII, not a study of conflicts between the Departments of State and Defense. Read morePublished on February 3, 2012 by F. Hobbs
I really liked this book, but the other reviewers pointed out a couple of glaring facts. The main one was that: Ike defeated Stevenson for President in 1952 not Truman. Read morePublished on January 21, 2012 by Terry Jennrich