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Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet Hardcover – 1 Jan 1900
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The Rise of the Vulcans explores the power behind the George W Bush throne. While campaigning for president in 2000, Bush downplayed his lack of foreign-policy experience by emphasising that he would surround himself with a highly talented and experienced group of political veterans. This core group, consisting of Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage and Condoleezza Rice, has a long history together dating back 30 years in some cases. Dubbing themselves the Vulcans, they have largely determined the direction and focus of the Bush presidency. In this remarkably researched and fascinating book, Mann traces their careers and the development of their ideas in order to understand how and why American foreign policy got to where it is today.
As Mann makes clear, there has never been perfect agreement between all parties (the relationship between the close duo of Powell and Armitage on one side and Rumsfeld on the other, for instance, has been frosty), but they do share basic values. Whether they came from the armed services, academia or government bureaucracy, the Vulcans all viewed the Pentagon as the principal institution from which American power should emanate. Their developing philosophy was cemented after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and is best reflected in the decision to invade Iraq. They believe that a powerful military is essential to American interests; that America is ultimately a force for good despite any negative consequences that may arise from American aggression; they are eternally optimistic about American power and dismiss any arguments about over-extension of resources; and they are sceptical about the need to consult allies or form broad global coalitions before acting.
Rise of the Vulcans succeeds on many levels. Mann presents broad themes such as the gradual transition from the Nixon and Kissinger philosophies to the doctrine espoused by Rumsfeld, Cheney, and the rest in clear and logical terms. He also offers minute details and anecdotes about each of the individuals, and the complex relationships between them, that reveal the true personalities behind the politicians. This is essential reading for those seeking to understand the past quarter century and what it means for America's future. --Shawn Carkonen, Amazon.com
"Lucid, shrewd and after so many high decibel screeds from both the right and the left, blessedly level headed. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in understanding how and why America came to deal with the rest of the world the way it is doing under the Bush administration." --The New York Times
"Mr. Mann has pulled back the curtain to expose three decades of political hardball, played to advance theories of the world that are, at best, incorrect. Read it and weep." --New York Observer
"At a time when political reporting seems intent on shrinking every story about foreign affairs into a battle of hawks and doves, Rise of the Vulcans is a much needed antidote: a work of serious intellectual history and a nuanced analysis of the debates that will continue to shape American foreign policy long after the Vulcans themselves have left the stage." --The Wall Street Journal
"The most detailed and comprehensive account of the Bush foreign policy team to date." --Los Angeles Times Book Review--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product description
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It was quite interesting to read about D. Rumpsfelts carrier, and how he was an unpopular fellow in the Nixon staff that managed to slide away from the watergate-scandale. I would strongly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in american and international politics.
Rumsfeld and Cheney have been big in the Republican party since Nixon's day and noone could get on with Rumsfeld then either. The thing about Cheney seems to be that he doesn't say much but however right wing you think he is you're probably underestimating it. Armitage turns out to be a thug with a heart of gold, couldn't quite figure him out. Rice doesn't seem to have any opinions of her own. Powell comes across as thorough, a great manager, in favour of the military but cautious, and without him all the others (except Armitage)wouldn't be able to organise their way out of a military paper bag. Wolfowitz I wasn't expecting to like but he is the intellectual of the group and one wonders just how much of the world view these guys have developed is down to him. He is not portrayed as as hawkish as one generally assumes, and in some ways cautious and even timid. However he is the guy who has been going on about getting control of Iraq even since before Saddam came to power.
There is also some fascinating stuff about how Rumsfeld, Cheney and then Reagan all came to dominate the party and push theKissinger and Nixon influence aside as too liberal (???). Reagan of course was his own man and wound up doing some very unRepublican stuff with Gorbachev. Basically this is a fascinating history of the Republican party in modern times and great if you want to understand where they're coming from. But it doesn't answer many questions about Bush's own philosophy, and exactly how much he is influenced by whom.
One important thing to point out to readers is that this books focus is specifically upon the 'principles' within Bush's foreign policy circle and NOT upon President Bush himself. If you are after something specific about President Bush then look elsewhere such as 'Bush at War' by Bob Woodward to name but one.
Rise of the Vulcan's is a great place to start for those interested in the cast of characters within the Bush Administration. It's most important asset is that it shows in detail the relationships between those who are known as the Vulcan's. An excellent work whatever your view on the current US administration may be. Five stars all the way!
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