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1 Beaverton Politics- United States Politics

The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs

by

The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Editors Choice, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“Ambitious and valuable” --WASHINGTON POST

America is trapped in a state of war that has consumed our national life since before Pearl Harbor. Over seven decades and several bloody wars, Democratic and Republican politicians alike have assembled an increasing complicated—and increasingly ineffective—network of security services. Trillions of tax dollars have been diverted from essential domestic needs while the Pentagon created a worldwide web of military bases, inventing new American security interests where none previously existed. Yet this pursuit has not only damaged our democratic institutions and undermined our economic strength—it has fundamentally failed to make us safer.

In The Emergency State, senior New York Times journalist David C. Unger reveals the hidden costs of Americas obsessive pursuit of absolute national security, showing how this narrow-minded emphasis on security came to distort our political life. Unger reminds us that in the first 150 years of the American republic the U.S. valued limited military intervention abroad, along with the checks and balances put in place by the founding fathers. Yet American history took a sharp turn during and just after World War II, when we began building a vast and cumbersome complex of national security institutions and beliefs. Originally designed to wage hot war against Germany and cold war against the Soviet Union, our security bureaucracy has become remarkably ineffective at confronting the elusive, non-state sponsored threats we now face.

The Emergency State traces a series of missed opportunities—from the end of World War II to the election of Barack Obama—when we could have paused to rethink our defense strategy and didnt. We have ultimately failed to dismantle our outdated national security state  because both parties are equally responsible for its expansion. While countless books have exposed the damage wrought by George W. Bush's "war on terror," Unger shows it was only the natural culmination of decades of bipartisan emergency state logic—and argues that Obama, along with many previous Democratic presidents, has failed to shift course in any meaningful way.

The Emergency State: Americas Pursuit of Absolute Security At All Costs  reveals the depth of folly into which weve fallen, as Americans eagerly trade away the countrys greatest strengths for a fleeting illusion of safety. Provocative, insightful, and refreshingly nonpartisan, The Emergency State is the definitive untold story of how America became this vulnerable—and how it can build true security again.

Review:

"Unger, a longtime member of the editorial board of the New York Times, surveys 70 years of American security policy in this provocative jeremiad. The author contends that modern defense policy, characterized by a 'secretive, unaccountable emergency state' and defined by an 'overreaching doctrine of global containment' in a permanent global war on terror, is not only unconstitutional but also obsolete and counterproductive. 'Originally designed to wage hot war against Nazi Germany and cold war against Soviet-led international Communism' and developed by 13 presidential administrations — from FDR to Barack Obama — the emergency state has in fact made us more vulnerable. Unger further argues that the emergency state has trampled civil liberties, contributed to the deindustrialization of America, alienated the rest of the world, and prevented action on problems like global warming. The author concludes that only 'a grass roots democratic revival' can sweep away the bipartisan emergency state, but he is light on the details. He does offer 10 proposals, including restricting the executive's war-making powers and implementing universal military training, as baseline reforms. Unger's broad indictment of defense policy — bipartisan if not nonpartisan — is sure to spark considerable and worthy debate." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

From the New York Timess veteran foreign policy editorialist, a lucid analysis of the harm caused by Americas increasingly misdirected national security state

America is trapped in a state of war that has consumed our national life since before Pearl Harbor. Over seven decades and several bloody wars, Democratic and Republican politicians alike have assembled an increasingly complicated, ineffective, and outdated network of security services. Yet this pursuit has not

only damaged our democratic institutions and undermined our economic strengths; it has fundamentally failed to make us safer.

In The Emergency State, senior New York Times writer David C. Unger reveals the hidden costs of Americas bipartisan obsession with achieving absolute national security and traces a series of missed opportunities—from the end of World War II through the presidency of Barack Obama—when we could have rethought our defense strategy but did not. Provocative, insightful, and refreshingly nonpartisan, this is the definitive untold story of how America became so vulnerable—and how it can build real security again.

Synopsis:

From The New York Times's veteran foreign policy editorialist, a lucid and far-reaching analysis of the cumulative harm caused by America's outdated, bipartisan, and increasingly misdirected national security state.

In The Emergency State, leading global affairs commentator David C. Unger reveals the hidden costs of America's obsessive pursuit of absolute national security. In the decades since World War II, presidents from both parties have assumed broad war-making powers never intended by the Constitution and intervened abroad to preserve our credibility rather than our security, while trillions of tax dollars have been diverted from essential domestic needs to the Pentagon. Yet ironically, this pursuit has not just damaged our democracy and undermined our economic strength-it has also failed to make us safer.

In a penetrating work of historical analysis, Unger explains how this narrow-minded emphasis on security came to distort our political life and shows how we can change course. As Unger reminds us, in the first 150 years of the American republic, the United States valued limited military intervention abroad and the checks and balances put in place by the founding fathers. Yet American history took a sharp turn during World War II, when we began to build a vast and cumbersome complex of national security institutions, reflexes, and beliefs. Originally designed to wage hot war against Germany and cold war against the Soviet Union, our security bureaucracy is no longer effective at confronting the elusive, nonstatesponsored threats we now face.

The Emergency State traces a series of missed opportunities- from the so-called Year of Intelligence in 1975 to the end of the Cold War to 9/11-when we could have paused to rethink our defense strategy and didn't. We have ultimately failed to dismantle our outdated national security state, Unger argues, because both parties are equally responsible for its expansion. While countless books have exposed the damage wrought by George W. Bush's war on terror, Unger shows it was only the natural culmination of decades of bipartisan emergency state logic-and argues that Obama, along with many previous Democratic presidents, has failed to shift course in any meaningful way.

In this provocative and incisive book, Unger proposes a radically different paradigm that would better address our security needs while also working to reverse the damage done to our democratic institutions and economic vitality.

About the Author

DAVID C. UNGER has been an editorial writer at The New York Times for more than thirty years—where he writes about foreign policy, international economics, and military issues--and a member of the paper’s Editorial Board for twenty-two years. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and teaches courses in American Foreign Policy at the Bologna Center of The Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594203244
Author:
Unger, David C
Publisher:
Penguin Press
Author:
Unger, David C.
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Subject:
Politics-United States Foreign Policy
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20120231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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History and Social Science » Politics » Covert Government and Conspiracy Theory
History and Social Science » Politics » General
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History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
Reference » Science Reference » Technology

The Emergency State: America's Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs Used Hardcover
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Product details 368 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594203244 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Unger, a longtime member of the editorial board of the New York Times, surveys 70 years of American security policy in this provocative jeremiad. The author contends that modern defense policy, characterized by a 'secretive, unaccountable emergency state' and defined by an 'overreaching doctrine of global containment' in a permanent global war on terror, is not only unconstitutional but also obsolete and counterproductive. 'Originally designed to wage hot war against Nazi Germany and cold war against Soviet-led international Communism' and developed by 13 presidential administrations — from FDR to Barack Obama — the emergency state has in fact made us more vulnerable. Unger further argues that the emergency state has trampled civil liberties, contributed to the deindustrialization of America, alienated the rest of the world, and prevented action on problems like global warming. The author concludes that only 'a grass roots democratic revival' can sweep away the bipartisan emergency state, but he is light on the details. He does offer 10 proposals, including restricting the executive's war-making powers and implementing universal military training, as baseline reforms. Unger's broad indictment of defense policy — bipartisan if not nonpartisan — is sure to spark considerable and worthy debate." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
From the New York Timess veteran foreign policy editorialist, a lucid analysis of the harm caused by Americas increasingly misdirected national security state

America is trapped in a state of war that has consumed our national life since before Pearl Harbor. Over seven decades and several bloody wars, Democratic and Republican politicians alike have assembled an increasingly complicated, ineffective, and outdated network of security services. Yet this pursuit has not

only damaged our democratic institutions and undermined our economic strengths; it has fundamentally failed to make us safer.

In The Emergency State, senior New York Times writer David C. Unger reveals the hidden costs of Americas bipartisan obsession with achieving absolute national security and traces a series of missed opportunities—from the end of World War II through the presidency of Barack Obama—when we could have rethought our defense strategy but did not. Provocative, insightful, and refreshingly nonpartisan, this is the definitive untold story of how America became so vulnerable—and how it can build real security again.

"Synopsis" by , From The New York Times's veteran foreign policy editorialist, a lucid and far-reaching analysis of the cumulative harm caused by America's outdated, bipartisan, and increasingly misdirected national security state.

In The Emergency State, leading global affairs commentator David C. Unger reveals the hidden costs of America's obsessive pursuit of absolute national security. In the decades since World War II, presidents from both parties have assumed broad war-making powers never intended by the Constitution and intervened abroad to preserve our credibility rather than our security, while trillions of tax dollars have been diverted from essential domestic needs to the Pentagon. Yet ironically, this pursuit has not just damaged our democracy and undermined our economic strength-it has also failed to make us safer.

In a penetrating work of historical analysis, Unger explains how this narrow-minded emphasis on security came to distort our political life and shows how we can change course. As Unger reminds us, in the first 150 years of the American republic, the United States valued limited military intervention abroad and the checks and balances put in place by the founding fathers. Yet American history took a sharp turn during World War II, when we began to build a vast and cumbersome complex of national security institutions, reflexes, and beliefs. Originally designed to wage hot war against Germany and cold war against the Soviet Union, our security bureaucracy is no longer effective at confronting the elusive, nonstatesponsored threats we now face.

The Emergency State traces a series of missed opportunities- from the so-called Year of Intelligence in 1975 to the end of the Cold War to 9/11-when we could have paused to rethink our defense strategy and didn't. We have ultimately failed to dismantle our outdated national security state, Unger argues, because both parties are equally responsible for its expansion. While countless books have exposed the damage wrought by George W. Bush's war on terror, Unger shows it was only the natural culmination of decades of bipartisan emergency state logic-and argues that Obama, along with many previous Democratic presidents, has failed to shift course in any meaningful way.

In this provocative and incisive book, Unger proposes a radically different paradigm that would better address our security needs while also working to reverse the damage done to our democratic institutions and economic vitality.

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