Monday, November 9, 2009

Not Bedfellows At All?

Nixon and Kissinger vs. Haig, Rumsfeld, and Cheney? Very interesting indeed. Len Colodny sent me this "Library Journal" review by Stephen K. Shaw of his new book, The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, From Nixon To Obama:
Colodny (coauthor, Silent Coup) and [Tom] Shachtman (Airlift to America), two experienced investigative reporters, offer a rigorous and critical examination of the neoconservative movement and the bureaucratic, ideological battles over American foreign policy from 1969 to 2009.

During this period, there was infighting, primarily in Republican administrations, between pragmatists, e.g., Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, and ideologues, e.g., Alexander Haig, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney, for the privilege of conducting foreign policy and establishing American supremacy in world affairs.

Central to this account of the origins and evolution of crusading conservatives and ideologically driven theorists, such as the mysterious, influential Pentagon operative Fritz Kraemer, is a focus on the domestic and international prospects and perils of a foreign, military-driven policy that has sought to re-create the world in America's image. The authors essentially direct our attention to John Quincy Adams's advice that his country should not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.

VERDICT: Anyone who has read Jane Mayer's The Dark Side or Jack Goldsmith's The Terror Presidency would be well served by this captivating chronicle. Highly recommended, especially for students of U.S. foreign policy and/or presidential politics in the post-World War II era.

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