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Irrational security : the politics of defense from Reagan to Obama / Daniel Wirls.

By: Wirls, Daniel, 1960-.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010Description: xi, 239 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780801894381 (hbk. : alk. paper); 0801894387 (hbk. : alk. paper); 9780801894398 (pbk. : alk. paper); 0801894395 (pbk. : alk. paper).Subject(s): United States. Department of Defense -- Appropriations and expenditures | National security -- United States -- History -- 20th century | National security -- United States -- History -- 21st century | United States -- Military policy | United States -- Armed Forces -- Appropriations and expenditures | United States -- Appropriations and expenditures | United States -- Politics and governmentDDC classification: 355/.033073 LOC classification: UA23 | .W49 2010
Contents:
Irrational security -- After the Cold War : from buildup to bottom-up -- What comes down must go up : Clinton and the politics of military spending -- From ambition to empire : Bush and military policy before and after 9/11 -- Hidden in plain sight : the Bush military buildup -- Paying the price : from Bush to Obama.
Summary: "The end of the Cold War was supposed to bring a "peace dividend" and the opportunity to redirect military policy in the United States. Instead, according to Daniel Wirls, American politics following the Cold War produced dysfunctional defense policies that were exacerbated by the war on terror. Wirls's critical historical narrative of the politics of defense in the United States during this "decade of neglect" and the military buildup in Afghanistan and Iraq explains how and why the U.S. military has become bloated and aimless and what this means for long-term security. Examining the recent history of U.S. military spending and policy under presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, Wirls finds that although spending decreased from the close of the first Bush presidency through the early years of Clinton's, both administrations preferred to tinker at the edges of defense policy rather than redefine it. Years of political infighting escalated the problem, leading to a military policy stalemate as neither party managed to craft a coherent, winning vision of national security. Wirls argues that the United States has undermined its own long-term security through profligate and often counterproductive defense policies while critical national problems have gone unmitigated and unsolved. This unified history of the politics of U.S. military policy from the end of the Cold War through the beginning of the Obama presidency provides a clear picture of why the United States is militarily powerful but "otherwise insecure.""--Publisher's website.
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Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
UA23 .W49 2010 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001996909

Includes bibliographical references and index.

"The end of the Cold War was supposed to bring a "peace dividend" and the opportunity to redirect military policy in the United States. Instead, according to Daniel Wirls, American politics following the Cold War produced dysfunctional defense policies that were exacerbated by the war on terror. Wirls's critical historical narrative of the politics of defense in the United States during this "decade of neglect" and the military buildup in Afghanistan and Iraq explains how and why the U.S. military has become bloated and aimless and what this means for long-term security. Examining the recent history of U.S. military spending and policy under presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, Wirls finds that although spending decreased from the close of the first Bush presidency through the early years of Clinton's, both administrations preferred to tinker at the edges of defense policy rather than redefine it. Years of political infighting escalated the problem, leading to a military policy stalemate as neither party managed to craft a coherent, winning vision of national security. Wirls argues that the United States has undermined its own long-term security through profligate and often counterproductive defense policies while critical national problems have gone unmitigated and unsolved. This unified history of the politics of U.S. military policy from the end of the Cold War through the beginning of the Obama presidency provides a clear picture of why the United States is militarily powerful but "otherwise insecure.""--Publisher's website.

Irrational security -- After the Cold War : from buildup to bottom-up -- What comes down must go up : Clinton and the politics of military spending -- From ambition to empire : Bush and military policy before and after 9/11 -- Hidden in plain sight : the Bush military buildup -- Paying the price : from Bush to Obama.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Wirls (Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) offers a history of US defense policy politics from the end of the Cold War through the early Obama years. Wirls argues that every administration, whether Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal, has pursued hawkish policies and excessive military spending. The dynamics of domestic politics, defense industry jobs, the necessity for presidential candidates to project tough images, earmarks and pork barrel spending, general congressional provinciality and posturing, and faulty logic result in irrational decision making, and real national security is sacrificed to other considerations. Wirls provides a good overview of the defense policy issues of the last four administrations, including early Obama, and advances a damning critique of each. He decries the manipulation of the war on terrorism to produce ever-increasing wasted allocation at the expense of the real needs of society. Although a provocative thesis, with impressive statistics, charts, and numbers in support and a narrative accessible to the intelligent, informed lay reader, the argument, despite a degree of legitimacy, is overstated and flawed. Nevertheless, the book is worth consideration and is recommended. Summing Up: Recommended. All undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. J. P. Dunn Converse College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

<p> Daniel Wirls is a professor and chair of the Department of Politics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the coauthor of The Invention of the United States Senate , also published by Johns Hopkins, and the author of Buildup: The Politics of Defense in the Reagan Era .</p>

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