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American Empire Before the Fall [Paperback]

Bruce Fein
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

16 Jun 2010
The United States was born as a Republic. The individual was the center of society and rule of law was King. Neutrality and non-entanglements were the North Stars of foreign policy. Preemptive wars were feared as precursors to executive tyranny. The Republic would not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. Transparency was the rule and secrecy the rare exception. And the thrill of self-government was the utmost good. Since the emergence of Manifest Destiny and the Mexican-American War, the United States has progressively degenerated into an arrogant, swaggering Empire featuring hundreds of military bases abroad with defense commitments to foreigners. The degeneration was accelerated by the disintegration of the Soviet Union and 9/11. Bush, Cheney, and Obama are a philosophical triumvirate in national security matters. The Empire is earmarked by perpetual and global warfare unilaterally initiated by the President for the sake of domination; unchecked executive power; the crucifixion of the rule of law on a national security cross; the diminishment of Congress to a constitutional ink blot; secret government; unsustainable trillion dollar budget deficits; and, a craving by the public for risk-free lives more than freedom itself. The Republic can be regained if a President emerges who renounces executive usurpations and secrecy, terminates all U.S. military bases abroad and revokes all defense treaties or executive agreements, immediately ends the Afghan, Iraq, international terrorism wars, and makes the rule of law the nation's civic religion.

Product details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Createspace (16 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452829535
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452829531
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 13 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,176,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The once and future America? 12 Oct 2010
I started to write this review some weeks after finishing reading this book becaue I was provoked by a piece in the New York Times headed "The Latest Crisis" (Leader: 12 October 2010)

The article refers to the adverse reaction in Pakistan to the use of drones by the CIA to attack militants/terrorists/Al Quaeda/The Taliban.

There is an overt master-servant relationship between the two countries, epitomised by the clearly stated dissatisfaction with Pakistan's efforts to, er, remove militants on its own territory, a job - the NYT argues - the US will do for them, like it or not.

Of course, if you buy into the overt reasons for the current war on terror, this may not alarm you.

But it alarms Bruce Fein, who paints a highly contrasting picture of the yawning chasm between the undoubted wisdom of the great generation which devised the US constitution, and the overtly aggressive state which was born at the time of the Mexico war in the 1840s.

For Bruce Fein - and many others on the receiving end - the US now bears an ugly resemblance to the regime it threw out via the War of Independence.

The founding fathers had learned the evils of the felt need to seek power over others embodied in colonialism/imperialism.

In almost every intervention since, Bruce Fein argues, there was/is no direct threat the USA which could not be defeated against without leaving US soil.

9/11 obviously looms large, since it is presented to us as a sort of latter-day Pearl Harbour.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
75 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The rEVOLution continues... 21 July 2010
By Shamus Lund - Published on Amazon.com
Mr. Fein presents a well researched set of ideas and has provided yet another powerful tool for the liberty advocate.

As an avid Ron Paul supporter, I was pleased to see that Mr. Fein struck a chord on all the right notes, particularly foreign policy. This topic is of incredible relevance today with the "war" in Afghanistan. The book discusses how America lost its principles of a humble foreign policy to a neo-con's wet-dream of hundreds of military bases around the world in a perpetual state of war... a boon to the military-industrial complex.

Another pillar of Fein's work is the topic of economics and the free-market system versus centralized/government-run markets. He makes the case that America has spent itself into oblivion at the hands of both Democratic and Republican controlled administrations.

A wonderful read for true conservatives who respect the Constitution, limited government, a humble foreign policy, and fiscal responsibility. This book is a great wake-up call and slap in the face to every tax-and-spend liberal as well as war-mongering neo-cons, both of whom seem to be sprinting towards tyrannical government control.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fein Hits the Empire Head-On 29 July 2010
By Shane Stevens - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Constitutional Scholar Bruce Fein takes a candid approach in this accurate, though sad, look at how far the American people have allowed their country to descend from a Republic self-governed to a near-dictatorship empire focused on expansion at any cost. Yes, it is upon the shoulders of the American people where he rests the lion's share of blame, for it is "We the People" who are granted phenomenal powers over government in the Charter Documents of the United States; it is we who have ultimately failed in remaining true to the legacy of the Founding Fathers in reining in corruption and adhering to the principles of the Constitution.

Fein leaves little room for bickering or finger-pointing as he slices into key moments of history (like the Mexican-American War) to illustrate as clearly as possible the shift the nation took from Republic to Empire. He does nothing to defend the defilers of the Constitution and picks out the worst culprits in our descent to Empire, their part in history laid bare -- such as John Adams' signing of the Alien and Sedition Act -- proving Madison and Jefferson right in their desire to restrain the Executive when even a Founding Father would abuse powers not granted him by the Constitution.

Fein unrepentingly targets the Executive, the Legislative, and Judicial branches, outlining their missteps with quotes from the wonderful Federalist Papers and from our Founding Fathers to set the tone for how the American Republic was meant to be, and through the darkness lights a candle of hope that we could one day reclaim the greatness America was meant for -- but only if we are willing to collectively take a stand and seize the powers granted to us by the Constitution over government.

Overall, American Empire delivers on its title and more; Fein takes us back to the Golden Age of America, a Republic where the individual was master of his own fate and neutrality was the watchword above all, and then leaves us with the America of today, her runaway government devoted to wars of intrigue and spying on her own people.

Can we return to a Constitutional form of government? Fein thinks so, but it will take a majority of the American people to wake up and see that our current course dooms us to bankruptcy and endless war before there is any real hope for a brighter future.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passionate precis of a foreign policy gone mad 2 Aug 2010
By Daniel P McCarthy - Published on Amazon.com
I lent some editorial assistance to Campaign for Liberty in producing this book, so I'm certainly biased. That said, American Empire: Before the Fall was not what I was expecting -- Bruce Fein is a constitutional lawyer, but this was no lawyerly book, at least not in the pejorative sense. To be sure, Fein constructs a carefully argued and copiously documented case that our foreign policy is very much at odds with the best traditions the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us. But this is also an intensely passionate book, a cry from the heart of a man whose country has been stolen from him.

Fein packs a lot into a text of under 200 pages. He shows how presidential power and the executive branch as a whole have expanded relentlessly since 9/11. He traces the roots of our corrupted foreign policy into the 19th century, and shows how the imperial urge grew stronger in the 20th. He also describes the prudent alternative contained in the nation's "Charter Documents" -- by which he means not only the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, but also key foreign-policy speeches of George Washington and John Quincy Adams. All along, he rebuts arguments asserting that empire was necessary or inevitable. Far from being essential to America's freedom and prosperity, our hyperintervetionist foreign policy undermines constitutional liberties at home and breeds enmity abroad.

The book is an excellent introduction to contemporary non-interventionist thinking. As such, it will be useful not only to libertarians and antiwar conservatives, but also to liberals and hawkish conservatives who want to understand this neglected tradition.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 22 July 2010
By LoverofLiberty - Published on Amazon.com
Great book on a very timely topic. Mr. Fein obviously did a tremendous amount of research to write this book and his writing style is superb. It is certainly thought provoking for those on the right and the left.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent survey of the troubled American experiment 3 Aug 2010
By JSB Morse - Published on Amazon.com
With concise, accessible history, Bruce Fein illustrates American history from its unique and noble beginnings to its imperial and tragic current state. Going over the country's charter documents and quotes from the Founding Fathers, the author presents a basis for this American character arc and sets the tone for the struggles we face today. Fein quotes James Madison in the Federalist Papers saying that government must be given control over its people but then must constrain itself. For decades, it appeared that constraint had been established. But the author shows that a transformation occurred from the Mexican-American war through World War II in which this country went from an institution of liberty and peace to an empire. This empire has culminated in the Bush-Cheney-Obama triumvirate--an ugly group of leaders by any standard--which has consistently worked against liberty and the original intent of this country notwithstanding all the "hope" and "change" promised. The thesis is that the growing American empire is unconstitutional, illogical, and unsustainable, a point that is lost today on most of the supporters of said empire.

Fein finally offers a glimpse of real change in a revolution of liberty. It ends a tragedy with a silver lining, which will hopefully go a long way in bringing us back to liberty... or else.

JSBM, Author "Gods of Ruin: A Political Thriller"
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