Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oh, Gosh... I Sure Hope I can Remember the gist of "The Washington Rules..." PORTEmaus BookClub Entry #3.

The main premise of Andrew Bacevich's books, "The Washington Rules" is the concept of foreign policy conspiracy. No, this is not the name for a political quartet blasting hard rock jams out of their garage... Except, it will be when I get finished filling out the copyright forms. For the record, I now have an intellectual copyright on that term. Oh, you all just received a lesson in intellectual property!

All digression aside, Bacevich's book seeks to act as an introduction to this particular development of sustained hijacking of American foreign policy. Bacevich outlines his own exposure to these concepts through recounting his time in Germany while in the military. He quickly realized how futile the Cold War when he saw the state of the Soviet military.

For Bacevich, the Cold War was a futile effort of mutually assured destruction that allowed for a new variant of foreign policy to emerge. The days of political isolationism were swept aside for the concept of the United States as international sheriff. Basically, the beliefs of individuals such as Curtis LeMay (Renowned sourpuss and architect of the Japanese fire bombings) and Allan Welsh Dulles (Two time runner-up in the James Joyce lookalike contest) were provided access to the higher echelon's of American political power. (Thus, allowing them to take shape)

The result was a twin dependence on overt aeronautical power in the former of long distance bombers and covert operations abroad. Even in the face of failures such as the Bay of Pigs and ultimately the Cold War, the United States would not remove its gauntlets and adopt a foreign policy of peace. Bacevich asserts this is because policy simply is passed from one president to the next. This is an easy opinion to grasp considering Bush's war in Iraq and Afghanistan has inextricably linked to Obama's success and ability to remain president.

Certainly, LeMay and Dulles were the forefathers of these strategies but we can link the "Washington Rules" to the military industrial complex. Simply, the perpetuation of permanent war in our society is a direct result of it being so lucrative. The United States outspends the rest of the globe annually on defense. Our politicians have even begun to fear minute increases in other nations spending as "closing the gap." The sad result of this fiscal irresponsibility according to Bacevich is insolvency... Of the United States... Whoa, this just became heavy.

From my perspective, much of Bacevich's insights were common knowledge. However, I think "The Washington Rules" is a great primer for those new to American foreign policy. His fears for this nation are well-founded and he presents them in a concerned tone. What the reader takes away from this book is that the only way to change this reliance on hegemonic dominance of domestic and foreign policy is voting in people who won't be corrupted by this way of thinking... Across the board. Sounds easy enough, eh?

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