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f_0020486_17247 - 153 Book review Geoffrey P MacDonald The...

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153 B OOK R EVIEW Geoffrey P. MacDonald The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. by Andrew J. Bacevich New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008. Andrew Bacevich is angry. He has tirelessly criticized a war that has raged on longer than World War II. As a self-proclaimed conservative and Vietnam veteran, his anti-Iraq War activism is uniquely cogent. On the campus of Boston University, where he teaches International Relations, Bacevich is a folk hero, lending his unimpeachable credentials to the left-leaning inclinations of his students. But his activism has not stopped the war. It didn’t stop his son, Army First Lieutenant Andrew Bacevich, Jr., from being deployed to Iraq. And it didn’t stop 27-year-old Andrew from being killed-in-action in May of 2007. Andrew Bacevich is angry. As he well should be. The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism is written at the nexus of Bacevich’s conservative principles and his untempered rage at the Bush Administration’s reckless militancy. Dedicated to the memory of his son, this iconoclastic text leaves few unscathed: Congress is occu- pied by “narcissistic hacks;” Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright is “obtuse;” and Bacevich approvingly quotes General Tommy Franks’ description of former Bush defense aide Douglas Feith as “the stupidest fucking guy on the planet.” Even Ronald Reagan – sacred cow of the modern conservative movement – is termed the “prophet of profligacy.” At a slim 180 pages, The Limits of Power is a provocative and lucid call for a return to conservatism in American foreign policy. Bacevich identifies three major crises plaguing the United States: greed, political incompetence, and military inefficacy. These cancerous Geoffrey P. Macdonald is a Ph.D. Student at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.
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154 elements of American society are reinforced by two unsustainable instincts: sanctimonious morality abroad and self-gratification at home. Dating to John Winthrop’s “City upon a Hill” speech in 1630, which proclaimed
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