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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empire's Pricetag,
This review is from: The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Hardcover)Ismael Hossein-Zadeh's The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism will greatly surprise readers who imagine that what lies between its covers is an abstruse economics argument or a rant against the war in Iraq. This accessible, lucid, and generously documented approach to the history of military engagement by the United States since World War II clearly is written with a mainstream audience in mind although its hardcover price of $[...] is out of the average reader's ballpark. Hopefully libraries will pick up the title since every taxpayer deserves the chance to consider Hossein-Zadeh's thesis. In short, he demonstrates that although the economic gains of imperialism might have supported required military outlays for a period, there comes a time in every empire's life when further expansion no longer is cost-effective for the metropole and becomes a drain on the national economy. At this point, the war industry becomes "parasitic" as the dividends of empire fall more and more disproportionately into the laps of those associated with military industries. Hossein-Zadeh considers the current period in U.S. history such a time.
Readers may have heard this claim before. But few if any will have met such a persuasive presentation of it. The book is extremely helpful in how it identifies and then dismantles what Hossein-Zadeh considers weak explanations for why the United States continues to engage in military intervention and expansion abroad. The first is the widespread theory among liberals that the neoconservative element of the U.S. political scene is attempting to take advantage of the absence of a comparable world power in order to spread American values and free market economics. The second is that George Bush is spearheading military adventurism as a result of the need to pose as a "war president" so as to mask the failings of his administration. The third is that America's Zionist lobbyists are championing the war on Iraq in order to shore up U.S. support of Israel. The fourth (and Hossein-Zadeh considers this the most widespread assumption of all) is that the United States is engaging, in the case of Iraq and other Middle Eastern adventures, in military action in order to better control the world's oil reserves. Hossein-Zadeh acknowledges and discusses each of these theories, ultimately discarding them as the driving force behind continued U.S. military imperialism.
Instead, he suggests that the military imperialism we are witnessing today "can be seen largely as reflections of the metaphorical fights over allocation of the public finance at home, of a subtle or insidious strategy to redistribute national resources in favor of the wealthy, to cut public spending on socioeconomic infrastructures, and to reverse the New Deal reforms by expanding military spending." Survival of the working man and woman aside, also at stake is the question of which cabal of capitalists will come out on top--the neoliberal multilateralists who favor globalization--that is, the expansion of free markets throughout the world in order to make way for the products of multinationals largely unconnected with war, or the unilateralists, who tend to be linked to the military industry and to other industries that are not competitive in the international marketplace.
In addition to providing engaging economic explanations and political commentary such as those already mentioned, Hossein-Zadeh offers a number of other helpful analyses. He makes a distinction between the military bureaucracies of past empires--e.g., Rome--and America's present-day military industry, which reflects the imperatives of an advanced capitalist economy. Bearing in mind this distinction, he suggests, unlike many who see the United States as poised to decline in the mode of Rome, that decline of the United States more likely would follow that of the British Empire. He points out that multilateralists have in no way been eliminated by unilateralists; rather, leading capitalist countries tend to experience alternating periods characterized by resurgence and diminution of the importance of these two poles. He also acknowledges the benefits of the military industry on an economy such as that of the United States. Finally, as an Iranian-American he offers a unique perspective in terms of political economy on the issue of religious fundamentalism and the fraught relations between the West and the Muslim world. Ismael Hossein-Zadeh's The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism is a fascinating text and one that deserves to be as accessible to the average pocketbook as it is to the average reader.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IS PEACE A BLESSING OR A CURSE ?,
This review is from: The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Paperback)This question is neither insane nor preposterous.
It's about life or death, about a sustainable future or none at all.
Thank God an awe-inspiring majority of humans worldwide share the wise conviction that peace is desirable and the crucial precondition for a continuation of life on our blue planet, since its ultimate enemy is man - under the curse of self-destructivity.
To help us understand this simple fact Economics Professor Ismael Hossein-Zadeh wrote "The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism". In his scholarly study he explores some of the critical forces behind the urge of the U.S. for increasing militarization of its foreign policy leading to wars.
His carefully researched and easily comprehensible masterwork is a groundbreaking "Political Economy of War", even if it does not reach the depth of reflection of historians like Caroll Quigley or Antony Sutton. The "Political Economy of War" sheds light on the looming perils emerging from a cost-inefficient, parasitic military imperialism that rules the U.S. and has become an end in itself. The U.S. spend more dollars each year on its military than the next twenty largest national defense budgets combined which is about half of the world's total military spending.
"The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism" spotlights the so called "military-industrial complex" (MIC) that encompasses the U.S. armed forces, arms industry, and associated economic and political interests that President Eisenhower had vainly warned us against.
In his economical and historical analysis Prof. Hossein-Zadeh sets forth the development of the U.S. military posture up to the present-day and the escalating costs of the disproportional military buildup at the expense of non-military public spending (i.e. at the expense of the needy). The heavily oversized machinery of militarism tries to appropriate an increasing share of tax dollars.
And again we hear General Eisenhower's warning: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
The statistics are on the General's side: Without counting the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the real defense budget in 2004 amounts to $754 Billions (compared to spending on Education $55 Billions, Health $49 Billions, Justice $34 Billions, Housing Assistance $30 Billions etc.). The deplorable truth is: last year 46.6 % of the national tax dollars went to the Pentagon...
With compelling reasoning Prof. Hossein-Zadeh unveils an unheard and horrifying sphere of everlasting darkness. Stunned we learn that there are OTHERS who perceive peace as a pernicious threat and consider pacifism as something bordering treason, whereas patriotism is touted as simply meaning a readiness to go to war! The others have declared war on peace, since they believe it is a curse. What a cursed belief!
As beneficiaries of war and militarization these "others" are wretchedly LOST in their nightmares of market driven need for increase of profits, flowing out of streams of shed blood and from under piles of rubbles. They are captured by the incubus of greed for increasing "war dividends" and economic growth through militarization - warfare - rebuilding - and then more wars - more rebuilding - more wars - and so on... leading to unspeakable devastations and deaths mainly among defenseless civilians (heartlessly labeled as "collateral damage"). And "the others" remain pitiably trapped in a vicious circle fuelled by mammonism - the capital SIN they have possibly never heard of, while they were merely focusing on CAPITAL and its accumulation.
Since arms production is not dictated anymore by war requirements, but solely by market or profit imperatives the war on peace must go on and on, unending, being solely a war OF terror, FOR terror, and nothing else. And that's the stratagem well thought-out in the chilly cave of everlasting darkness where wars are designed and tears freeze.
"The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism" reveals - as many similar books do - a realm of deception, corruption, death and devastation executed by people with a good conscience and a consciousness devoid of empathy and repentance, since "war is big business".
While many just want to make a decent living by executing their jobs, they (help) execute lives, being executioners themselves or henchmen of "creative destruction". And who cares that in May 2001 the deputy inspector general at the Pentagon "admitted ... that $1.1 TRILLION ... was simply gone and no one can be sure of when, where or to whom the money went"?
You didn't know?
It's even worse: just one day before 9/11 Rumsfeld admitted that $2.3 Trillions couldn't be tracked...
Yes, it's unbelievable, but who cares? Who cares? For sure not the 'Brotherhood of Death'! They know the value and price of full spectrum dominance through nuclear first strike capability and US-$-worlddominance!
"The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism" exposes how these unending wars are based on fears of the public over manufactured or imaginary security threats. The official justifications for wars have over the last decade become increasingly nebulous: humanitarian concerns, international drug trafficking, global terrorism, militant Islam, or democratic ideals - all smoke screens.
The truth again: America's "need" for military spending and warfare is mainly not driven by "national interests" or "security needs" but rather by a network of "weapons makers, lobbyists and elected officials", largely wasting and plundering the citizens' tax dollars appropriated by the Pentagon.
Sadly many Americans and many academic institutions are in vicious economic dependence on military spending. Millions of hard working people who try to make a decent living have acquired a vested interest in an economy geared to murderous illicit wars fought for business reasons: You shall not murder - You shall not steal - You shall not desire your neighbor's goods - have no meaning anymore in the land of freedom (from awareness and empathy). Shall the mantra "kill and torture; spare not!" really be all of the Law?
The U.S. has succumbed to the force of scrounging militarism that now "tends to undermine the economic base it is supposed to nurture. Furthermore, control of the massive amounts of national resources by the military-industrial complex tends to undermine democratic values, pervert republican principles, and curtail civil liberties. It also tends to corrupt both policy and politics at home and abroad." The perverse dynamics of the business of war has transformed the U.S. into the greatest debtor nation in the world, a consumptive Empire facing bankruptcy...
Prof. Hossein-Zadeh's analysis gives an explanation why U.S. militarism and warfare are the essence of a black hole imprisoning all sunrays of hope for a more peaceful world, a desirable world in lasting peace with the United States freed from suicidal imperial hubris.
For now that's just a dream, a good dream, yes.
But as long as the hearts are not redirected to the spirit of truth, compassion and generosity and the MIC is not confined to the levels necessary for purely defensive purposes and profits are taken OUT of war and arms production, we will be lost in reverie, forever menaced by the chilly black hole where wars are designed and the world is deceived.
Don't believe me?
Listen to General S. D. Butler - one of the most decorated military men in U.S. history:
"There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket."
Anymore questions in the land of the free where the Military Commissions Act annulled that Bill and NSPD 51-"Continuty of Government"-Tyranny is looming?
God bless those who truly love peace, since it is war (not profit loss) that is to be feared!
Said Huber, attorney, former officer of Artillery of the Swiss Armed Forces, currently Major of Military Justice (clerk of the Military Supreme Court of Switzerland)
5.0 out of 5 stars straight to the heart of the matter - and readable,
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This review is from: The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Hardcover)I haven't had the opportunity to read all of this yet but on the strength of what excerpts I have read this is an essential work - original,lucid, readable by and of interest to almost everybody. The readable easy style must mask an enormous effort to produce a work that doesn't fall easily into familiar assumptions and ideological constraints. Another reviewer has summed it up so lucidly that I don't feel the need to add much more than my 5 stars, and I add also my plea to the other reviewer's - to have this at a price that could tempt the Average Joe to give it a try.
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The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism by Ismael Hossein-zadeh (Hardcover - 22 Sep 2006)