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The Bubble of American Supremacy: Correcting the Misuse of American Power Hardcover – 25 Nov 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press Inc; New edition edition (25 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586482173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586482176
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 14 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,002,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George Soros is the chairman of Soros Fund Management and the founder the Open Societies Institute, a global network of foundations dedicated to supporting open societies. He is the author of several best-selling books including The New Paradigm for Financial Markets/The Crash of 2008 and What It Means, The Bubble of American Supremacy and The Age of Fallibility. He was born in Budapest and lives in New York City.

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Review

"In his new book his aim is directly political and it is clearly stated... When does the bubble burst? Soros is unclear. But we will know by November whether he has succeeded in pricking it." (SUNDAY TIMES )

"A devastating critique of overarching and ill-judged ambition on the world stage." (THE INDEPENDENT )

"Soros paints a picture of the brave, new world which would presumably follow from the election of a Democratic Party candidate as President." (DAILY TELEGRAPH ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

George Soros heads Soros Fund Management and is the founder of a global network of foundations dedicated to supporting open societies. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Crisis of Global Capitalism, Open Society and George Soros on Globalisation. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
It is generally agreed that September 11, 2001, change the course of history, but we must ask ourselves why that should be so. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Theodore A. Rushton on 19 Jan 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you think the foreign policy of President George Bush is inept and leading America into a quagmire, then you'll love this book; Soros offers an intelligent business alternative to the soggy quicksand of conservative ideology.
Consider the background of Soros and Bush. Soros survived the Nazis and Communists in Hungary, got to the US in 1956 and had enough business acumen to become a billionaire. Bush is the son of Old Establishment money and political patronage who never earned a cent in his life, always relying on his Daddy's wealthy friends to hand him lucrative deals. Soros became rich by understanding the motivations and actions of others; Bush became president because political advisers Karl Rove and James Baker saw him as a pliant puppet.
Does that make either man a foreign affairs expert? No.
Soros' foreign expertise comes from the $500 million he donates every year to support genuine democracy around the world. Bush's policy comes from a narrow group of American Supremacist reactionaries who advocate a unilateralist approach to which other nations may humbly bow down but not offer influence. Therein lies the difference: Bush offers America First isolation, Soros advocates cooperative international solutions.
Who is right? Well, in the world of business, the idea of cooperation instead of confrontation works well. Soros outlines his approach with an articulate skill in this book, criticizing the Bush mistakes and saying other nations can offer invaluable help. Soros is the modern equivalent of President Woodrow Wilson who created the League of Nations, a brilliant idea which failed due to American isolationism and its refusal to counter aggression. Like Wilson, Soros believes in rational people making intelligent decisions.
In brief, it is the essence of his book.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. G. Rose on 3 Feb 2004
Format: Hardcover
George Soros is not a man that your average anti-capitalist or socialist can agree with, he is an extraordinarily wealthy and a driven man who "broke the Bank of England", but also man who's past is steeped in the history of Nazi occupation, and is driven by insight and compassion, he is also one of the worlds great philanthropists. If he has gone to the trouble of writing a book, "The Bubble of American Supremacy" about the recent direction of America, in it's war against terror and it's stance on democracy and the "free world", it is probably worth a read.
Indeed if you are at all clued up about the election of George Bush Junior and the history behind the war on terror, you will find a lot here to agree with. Indeed why bother? However, the book is well written and very accessible. Anyone that found Gore Vidal's recent lyrical "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: ..." hard going, or Michael Moore's "Hey Dude Where's My Country" too biennial, should take this book and pick up on the subject again with adult yet non-pretentious language.
The book is also well researched with many references and web links if you start to get a bit curious, and due to Soros's past, full of fresh insights into how the current political rhetoric on a war against unseen and unproved terror has worrying overtones, and why the American public (and probably us Brits too) are in denial over the situation. Soros skirts too briefly around the real reasons for the occupation of Iraq, why we went to war with no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, however, this reflects some of the issues which our political leaders have not discussed publicly, although Soros does elude to them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 31 Aug 2010
Format: Hardcover
Anyone committed to facile Marxist doctrines of "finance capitalism" will be disappointed by this book. Soros, once dubbed the man who broke the Bank of England, is the last person who would be expected to oppose the foreign policy of the United States. Yet, historically, Wall Street has rarely favoured conflict in pursuit of profits. Soros himself is motivated by what he calls The Open Society, a reference to Karl Popper's critique of historicism and totalitarianism set out in The Poverty of Historicism and The Open Society and Its Enemies. Soros suggests that his investment policies are based on a conceptual framework which incorporates Popper's ideas.

Soros believes reality "remains just beyond our range forever" largely because reality includes a natural divergence between reality and understanding. Thus, unlike Marxists who contend they can never be wrong, Soros takes the view that human beings "are bound to be wrong in some way or another, although the extent and nature of our misunderstanding may vary." It is on this foundation - that truth is always provisional and needs constant re-examination - that Soros builds his Open Society. Markets enable people to pursue their private interests while wider common interests are determined by political institutions. He rejects the idea that material conditions determine the ideological superstructure as false, a falsehood he attributes to the nineteenth century roots of neo-Marxism, neoconservativism and market fundamentalism. In economic terms markets do not tend to equilibrium but should be viewed as an ongoing but unpredictable historical process.

Soros argues that Bush's response to the atrocity of 9/11 was to implement a radical foreign policy which predated what happened.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 40 reviews
159 of 190 people found the following review helpful
Soros offers hope for America 7 Jan 2004
By Theodore A. Rushton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you think the foreign policy of President George Bush is inept and leading America into a quagmire, then you'll love this book; Soros offers the intelligent businessman's solution to the conservative quicksand.
Consider the background of Soros and Bush. Soros survived the Nazis and Communists in Hungary, got to the US in 1956 and had enough business acumen to become a billionaire. Bush is the son of Old Establishment money and political patronage who never earned a cent in his life, always relying on his Daddy's wealthy friends. Soros became rich by understanding the motivations and actions of others; Bush became president because political advisers Karl Rove and James Baker saw him as a pliant puppet,
Does that make either man a foreign affairs expert? No.
Soros' foreign expertise comes from the $500 million he spends every year to encourage genuine democracy around the world. Bush's policy comes from a narrow group of American Supremacist reactionaries who advocate a unilateralist approach which other nations may join but not influence. Therein lies the difference between the two: Bush has an America First policy, Soros advocates cooperative international solution.
Who is right? Well, in the world of business, Soros' ideas of cooperation instead of confrontation works well. He outlines his approach with an articulate skill in this book, criticizing the Bush mistakes and saying other nations can offer invaluable help. Soros is the modern equivalent of President Woodrow Wilson who created the League of Nations, a brilliant idea which failed due to American isolationism and its failure to counter aggression. Like Wilson, Soros believes in rational people making intelligent decisions.
In brief, it is the essence of his book. I recently re-read 'Common Sense' by Thomas Paine, the 1776 book that was the intellectual foundation for the American Declaration of Independence. Soros has written the modern international equivalent, as well-reasoned, eloquent and impassioned as Paine. However, there is a difference. Paine faced King George III, who may have been nuts but was obviously very astute. Today, America faces an amorphous irrational terrorism based on an utterly insane religious fundamentalism.
Events in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Mid-East countries may well have an impact on the 2004 election. The choice will be between American Supremacist in a "follow us or get ready to fight us" tactics or a policy based on American Leadership with a "we'll respect your views" type of consultation and cooperation.
Soros has been there. As a Jew in his native Budapest, he survived in the impact of the "Germany Above all Others" policy. He survived the utterly irrational communist fundamentalism. America made him vastly rich. He has been funding democratic programs in Europe since the 1980s. It's an incredible personal schooling on which to base his views.
The 2004 election debate will likely be on the economy, with foreign policy as the runner-up. Much of the talk show debate involves extremists screaming at each other; Soros offers an intelligent alternative to the current quagmire.
56 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Enlightening and Foreboding View of The Future 27 Dec 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Soros is a self-made businessman and honest philanthropist - an unusual mix in this day-and-age. He has no hidden agenda, no political career aspirations, or behind-the-scenes mouths to feed.
It is this reason that this honest and clear perspective on the current Administration's political and military tactics and overall strategic direction is enlightening.
He is not burdened with the career aspirations of so-many other writers - he can write as he sees and backs it up with clear quotes and examples.
As a 'foreigner' living in the USA, and achieving my goals through the freedom afforded me by this country, I recognize the need for the protection of this BUT Soros provides an insightful comment on where this might lead us all - from victims to perpetrators of even greater atrocities on a global scale.
An excellent book that all should read for balanced commentary on the state of the world and America's part in the future.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Powerful Mind From Finance Illuminates Murky Politics 29 Sep 2004
By C. Kurdas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
We all should be grateful to George Soros. After having worked hard for several decades and made a fortune, he could do anything he wants, go anywhere he likes. What he chooses is to use his wealth to help people around the world. In writing this book, he has spent his precious time to alert Americans to the dangers they face from their own government. Unlike many a pundit, Soros is not looking for personal gain or seeking political appointment. He is one of the most astute observers around, and a rare one who is not pursuing a personal interest.

Listen to Soros, folks. It is worth getting this book just to read his insights as to why Bush really went to war in Iraq and contrast the reality he presents to the misleading pap offered by the administration. Truth may be uncomfortable, but ignoring it gets one into bad messes. Soros predicted a quagmire well before many people realized the consequences of the ill-conceived foreign adventure. No surprise; he is well attuned to deception by powers-that-be.

From his early years in Hungary to his later efforts to help build civil society in Eastern Europe, he saw close up the horrors that have been inflicted by lying, lawless, thuggish governments. His concern that America is sliding in that direction deserves to be taken seriously. Bush partisans are demonizing Soros for his pains and attempting to smear him every which way they can. Americans can judge for themselves by reading this book.

People complain that Soros rambles in his writing or his arguments are not always clear or fully argued. Considering the grave issues at hand, stylistic quibbles sound petty in the extreme. And while Soros is certainly not the only writer on the topic, he brings to it an exceptional skill for analysis. One benefits from reading him whether he is analyzing markets or a war. In any case, this book is easy to read.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I didn't want to, but... 26 Aug 2004
By Kevin Currie-Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It is a shame that I can give this book no better than 2 stars. For starters, I agree ideologically with much of Soros's case. I am utterly convinced that the war in Iraq did nothing for us (and much against us). I am also disheartened because what should have been a feasible war on terror has consisted in nothing but us knocking out countries we don't like with a coalition growing more brittle by the day. What makes my low rating more of a shame is that Soros and I share a common philosophical hero in Sir Karl Popper and are both committed to the idea of the open society.

But, alas; for all that, I must rate the book only two stars. Why? It is simple. While the first half of the book (Soros' critiques of Bush's international methods) is astute and well thought out, it is poorly backed up, quite over-simplistic, and its arguments are readily available in many other books of better quality. Soros is not even close to the only guy who has criticized the go-it-alone "Bush Doctrine." Read Etzionni's "From Empire to Community" for a much more researched, professional, and less rhetorical critique (and there are scores of other books you've doubtless heard of). What's more, while the section makes good theoretical arguments, the research is shoddy and most consists of personal anecdotes or references to New York Times articles. Not too impressive.

The second section (where Soros was supposed to propose his vision of the solution) was maundering, much less than clear, and episodic. One chapter suggests that instead of relying on the UN, we might rely on what is called the "community of democracies" but fails to make clear how this group won't suffer from the same self-interested in-fighting and utter imptence to enforce decrees as the UN. He also talks about how the US should use its superpower status to work for the 'good of the community' rather than simply national interest. Yet he doesn't explain in the slightest how we could get a gauge on this (as if the 'community' is a monolith as opposed to an aggrgate of diverse nations!) or any of the other innumerable difficulties posed by such a nebulous concept. To make matters worse, there is even a chapter in section 2 where he talks about little more than whether the cold war was fought over capitalism or 'the open society.' What relevance did this have? I thought section 2 was about Soros's ideas on a solution?!

If I were you, I would read one of the other books arguing against current foreign policy, and hightest on my list is Etzionni's "From Empire to Community." It contains similar arguments (both positive and negative) as this one, but is much more thougyhtfully researched, less vague, and in the end, probably a better buy.
47 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Honest, Pointed, Handicapped, Mis-Spending His Money 29 April 2004
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If there is one person who brings together global knowledge, moral capitalism, an appreciation for open society principles, an understanding of how dangerous supremacist ideologies can be, and the money with which to save the world by leading the broader public to have an "aha" experience, it is George Soros. I try to read and review everything he writes.
I take one star off because he is not putting his money where his books says it needs to be. I begin with this comment, actually my last observation, to set the stage for the other comments below, all of which revolve around the point he makes in the beginning, but a point that he is doing nothing to fund the correction of: "The gap in perceptions between America and the rest of the world has never been wider." This is correct, but the $15M plus that he has donated to ACT and other minor organizations is not funding the re-education of America, it is funding minor-league politicization and mobilization likely to fail given the 20 year neglect of the Democratic precincts, and the fact that neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties are capable of assembling a true informed majority.
His early analysis in the book, on the dangers of supremacist ideologies and the curious alliance between religious fundamentalists (zealots who know nothing of the real world) and market fundamentalists (immoral capitalists who care nothing of the real world) is spot on. He is articulate and effective in writing about the manner in which this extremist ideology, "we are always right, they are always wrong", in endangering not just American ideals, but American survival.
He touches on but fails to capitalize on the urgency of splitting the moderate Republicans (I am one of them) from the extremist base, perhaps by funding the foundation of a new party, the Fiscal Conservatives (moderate Republicans and Southern conservative Democrats).
His chapter on the "war" on terror and his condemnation of treating terrorism as a war, with the wrong tools, wrong approach, and wrong effects from our well-intentioned but uninformed behavior is also powerful in its common sense. He notes that this "war" (I have called it a six-front hundred-year war that *we* started in reaction to 9-11, without thinking strategically) has killed more civilian bystanders than the attack on the World Trade Center, and simultaneously super-charged anti-American sentiment around the world--including among the British!
He is subtly but scathingly critical of Congress for abdicating its responsibility to balance the power of the Executive, and documents the careless manner in which the Patriot Act was brought about (Bush can also confiscate pleasure boats with Cuban charts on thsm).
The middle of the book examines, with a capitalist's critical eye, the wasted hundreds of billions on Iraq, and how that money might have been better used to address the complex emergencies in Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia (one might also add the tri-border region in Latin America, which is about to explode).
Soros is, I believe, in error, when he concludes that the forthcoming election provides an opportunity to deflate the bubble of American supremacy. First off, the Republicans are taking the election seriously, the Democrats are not. Second off, the Kerry team has proven completely incapable of devising a shadow government, a coalition cabinet, and a balanced budget within which to make policy deals with moderate Republicans and others such as Independents and Greens.
In the next section Soros illuminates with a mix of previously state ideas, i.e. the political institutions needed to protect the common good have not kept up with the marketplace (Kissinger agrees), and new thoughts, among which I found the emphasis on restoring the definition of sovereignty to mean sovereignty of the people, not the state, to be the most compelling and also the most consistent with the many other books I have reviewed for Amazon, among which Jonathan Schell's book, "Unconquerable World" stands out.
Soros' other remarkable idea, which I think he should seek with $10M if he can spare the change, is that there is an urgent need for a D6 of developing countries to counter the G8 of First World industrial powers. He identifies Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and South Africa. I would add China and Argentina and make it D8 instead.
Finally, he concludes with a strong indictment of how foreign aid is administered today, less than 45% of it actual reaching needy recipients (versus 85% for his own programs), he touches on the importance of ensuring that the people, not the corrupt elite, get the benefits of any nation's natural resources, and that only an open society, in which citizens can and *must* (are *required to*) think for themselves, is a potentially prosperous and secure society.
So, concluding this review, I have to say, Bravo, Soros, but why isn't your money where your book suggests it should be? Let's Talk, America, for example, or the National Budget Simulation Project, or the Co-Intelligence Institute, or any of hundreds of bottom-up efforts to shed light on public policy, to create public intelligence that can both inform citizens and hold officials accountable for betraying the public trust--why are they not being noticed by Soros?
American has been radicalized by the Bush Administration, which will probably win in 2004 and further radicalize both America and the world. There will be multiple variations of 9-11, including at least one hijacked Pakistani submarine firing a missile into Australia. We don't need mobilization, we need education. We need a National Intelligence Council in the "seven tribes, seven standards, seven issues" sense, one that relies on open sources of information to ensure that every American understands what is at stake here, and how their ignorance not only feeds terrorism, it feeds the supremacist ideology of neo-conservativism that is terrorism's best friend.
Soros has come full circle, and now stands with Thomas Jefferson, who said "A Nation's best defense is an informed citizenry." So, when does school start?
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