A masterful account of how sixty years of American militarism created the Cold War, fanned decades of unnecessary conflict, helped to fuel Islamist terror, and threatens to bankrupt the country.
For most of the twentieth century, the sword has led before the olive branch in American foreign policy. In eye-opening fashion, State vs. Defense shows how America truly operates as a superpower and explores the constant tension between the diplomats at State and the warriors at Defense.
State vs. Defense characterizes all the great figures who crafted American foreign policy, from George Marshall to Robert McNamara to Henry Kissinger to Don Rumsfeld with this underlying theme: America has become increasingly imperial and militaristic.
Take, for example, the Pentagon, which as of 2010, acknowledged the concentration of 190,000 troops and 115,000 civilian employees inside 909 military facilities in 46 countries and territories. The price of America’s military-base network overseas, along with the expense of its national security state at home, is enormous. The bill comes in at well over $1 trillion. That is equal to nearly 8 percent of GDP and more than 20 percent of the federal budget. (By comparison, China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, the five countries Pentagon planners routinely trot out as conventional threats to the national well-being, have a cumulative security budget of just over $200 billion.) Quietly, gradually—and inevitably, given the weight of its colossal budget and imperial writ—the Pentagon has all but eclipsed the State Department at the center of U.S. foreign policy.
In the tradition of classics such as The Wise Men, The Best and the Brightest, and Legacy of Ashes, State vs. Defense explores how and why American leaders succumbed to the sirens of militarism, how the republic has been lost to an empire, and how “the military-industrial complex” that Eisenhower so famously forewarned has set us on a stark path of financial peril.
About the Author
Stephen Glain has been a journalist for twenty years. He spent four years in Hong Kong writing for the local South China Morning Post before joining the Wall Street Journal in 1991 with stints in Tokyo, Seoul, and then Tel Aviv and Amman. His book Mullahs, Merchants, and Militants was named the best book of 2004 by online magazine The Globalist. His articles on U.S. foreign policy, East Asia, and the Arab world have appeared in The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Nation, the Financial Times, Gourmet, Smithsonian, Newsweek, The National, and elsewhere. Visit his website at www.StephenGlain.com.
"In crisp, authoritative writing, the author sets down some scathing portraits, from MacArthur to Rumsfeld, and in a powerful conclusion, exposes the disequilibrium between the U.S. civilian versus military resources throughout the world and the continued “appeasement” by President Obama to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A work of smoldering focus and marshaled evidence."--Kirkus Reviews
"Stephen Glain has written and important and thought-provoking book on the growing militarizing of our foreign policy. It is a hot issue that is getting a great deal of attention in Washington. Steve has done a masterful job of researching ths subject and presenting a compelling case. State vs. Defense is a must-read for all those developing our foreign policy and for those who are interested in this critical issue."--Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, USMC (Retired)
"The United States remains committed to a mindless pursuit of military supresmacy, regardless of cost or consequences. Stephen Glain has got the goods on the militarists who spooked and stampeded the American pople into supporting this bizarre enterprise. His is an urgently important tale, vividly told."--Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War
“Stephen Glain's State vs. Defense enters the battle as a battering ram at the Pentagon's gates.”--The Wall Street Journal