William Greider, one of Americas most respected political and economic journalists, explores how and why America has avoided coming to terms with the end of the Cold War eraand the troubling consequences for our fighting forces and our country. America possesses target overkill in staggering dimensions. Each year the new Department of Defense budget projects that next year or in subsequent years the financial squeeze will be magically resolved by increased spending. The military establishment marches forward to meet itself in financial crises. And the fundamental question remains unanswered: in a time of general peace, how much military power is enough? With vivid reportage, revealing anecdotes, and illuminating interviews, William Greider propels us into an engrossing debate about the addictive budget fixing and reprehensible expansion of our already bloated armed forces.
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(210mm x 140mm x 16mm)
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
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US Kirkus Review »
A journalistic look at the primary post-Soviet threat to the American military. Greider (One World, Ready or Not, 1996, etc.) thrives on saying the emperor has no clothes, and his knack for pointing out the obvious but unseen means only those who consciously avert their eyes can pretend nothing is amiss. He argues here that America's military-industrial complex is in a state of denial about the end of the Cold War, and that "the status quo in national defense is not going to survive" unless decision-makers confront reality. Instead of the demobilization that has followed previous conflicts, military, political, and industrial leaders are acting as if current budget reductions represent a temporary squeeze rather than a new norm. Rather than give up new weapons systems the Pentagon cuts training and personnel costs, leaving the warriors and their machines "competing with each other for the money." Rather than admit that the economy Reagan built on defense spending no longer exists and face the political pain of base closings, politicians drain the budget to keep open barely utilized facilities. Rather than rethink and retool the weapons industry, huge factories operate at a fraction of their capacity. But the contradictions between these policies and the political and financial pressures of a post - Cold War budget cannot be sustained indefinitely, and without rethinking priorities, the ability of the military itself to function will be undermined. Greider's observation while perusing a seemingly endless line of military hardware now parked and waiting for a conflict in Europe that did not happen captures the problem: what do we do "now that a general peace is upon us? We don't know the answer. We don't even want to talk about it." Perhaps this honest glimpse of an untenable situation will start a conversation. (Kirkus Reviews)
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