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Foreign policy, inc. : privatizing America's national interest /
Lawrence Davidson.
imprint
Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, c2009.
description
188 p.
ISBN
0813125243 (hardcover : alk. paper), 9780813125244 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Lexington : University Press of Kentucky, c2009.
isbn
0813125243 (hardcover : alk. paper)
9780813125244 (hardcover : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6698203
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 163-174) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-09-01:
Davidson (history, West Chester Univ.), the author of earlier books on the Middle East and Islam, covers a broad swath of the history of US foreign policy in arguing that Madison's idea--that in a large, commercial republic, special-interest factions would check each other--has failed. The American public's ignorance of and indifference to foreign affairs allows special interests systematically to substitute their narrow self-interest and parochial goals for the US's true national interest. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, these special interests were mainly economic, as huge profits were gleaned from imperial ventures, primarily in the Western hemisphere. More recently, religious groups such as unyielding Zionists and fundamentalist Christians have combined forces with the neoconservatives, who dominated the Bush administration, to produce overweening support for Israel and the fiasco in Iraq, with disastrous consequences for the national interests of the US. Given its broad sweep in less than 200 pages, this work must be considered more suggestive than definitive, yet it serves as a useful corrective to conservative mythmaking regarding US foreign policy, past and present. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. M. F. Farrell Ripon College
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2008-10-20:
Davidson (Islamic Fundamentalism) forms a pithy, well supported argument based primarily on two case studies--a historical review of the Cuban-American and Jewish-American lobbies, and their respective impacts on the formation of U.S. foreign policy. The author maintains that localism, the primary symptom of which is popular disregard for foreign policy issues, results in the formation of factionalized interest groups with varying degrees of organization and effectiveness. Coining the term "factocracy"--rule by factions--Davidson discusses how foreign policy issues enter local consciousness as a reflection and extension of the interests of certain national, ethnic and religious groups abroad. He discusses examples of this sociopolitical phenomenon as far back as the 18th century and brings his argument right up to the recent past, suggesting in his conclusion that the terrorist attacks of September 11 "had everything to do with" U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, which he argues is heavily influenced by America's Zionist lobby. It is compact, articulate and cogently written, but fails to present any version of a counterargument. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Davidson takes it a step further...his conclusions he lays directly in front of the doors of all of us." -- Steve Goddard's History Wire
""In this well-researched and highly-readable work, Professor Davidson has drawn from a wide variety of historical sources and examples to demonstrate how a vast network of private interests, mostly tied to larger corporate structures, has succeeded in hijacking U.S. foreign and military policy to the detriment of any rational public agenda. This tragic state of affairs has been made possible, Davidson argues, because public apathy regarding global issues has been steadily increasing. Foreign Policy, Inc. is strongly recommended reading for scholars, politicians, journalists, and others interested in the American role in world politics today." -- Carl Boggs, author of Imperial Delusions andco-author of The Hollywood War Machine." -- Carl Boggs
""One sees why this book is scheduled for January. Otherwise the tsunami of public indignation at this revelation could well disrupt the election."" -- Inside Higher Ed
"Serves as a useful corrective to conservative mythmaking regarding US foreign policy, past and present. Recommended." -- Choice
"This is a comprehensive, well-developed, extensively documented study illuminating the fallacies in American foreign policy. It represents a major contribution to our knowledge and understanding of one of the most important aspects of foreign policy, i.e. the historical role of domestic lobbies in the policy making process."--Cheryl Rubenberg, author of Israel and the American National Interest: A Critical Examination
""This is a comprehensive, well-developed, extensively documented study illuminating the fallacies in American foreign policy. It represents a major contribution to our knowledge and understanding of one of the most important aspects of foreign policy, i.e. the historical role of domestic lobbies in the policy making process."--Cheryl Rubenberg, author of Israel and the American National Interest: A Critical Examination" -- Cheryl Rubenberg
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, October 2008
Choice, September 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Davidson argues that widespread public disinterest in global affairs, a prevailing characteristic of American political culture, has given private interest groups a paramount influence over the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy.
Description for Bookstore
Elected officials, and especially presidential candidates, increasingly are asked to define their relationships to special interest groups. Such special, or private, interests play a disproportionate role in politics and legislation, whether in the form of large commercial or ethnic lobbies or in the shadowy realm of backroom dealmaking. InForeign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest, Lawrence Davidson argues that widespread public disinterest in global affairs, a prevailing characteristic of American political culture, has given private interest groups a paramount influence over the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. These well-organized, well-funded groups affect all levels of government, disguising their own interests as vital national interests. Davidson draws from numerous historical examples, dating from America's founding to the present, to examine the causes and the serious consequences of Americans' apathy toward foreign policy. This unique historical analysis of our increasingly privatized system of government offers compelling evidence that the United States is a democracy not of individuals, but of competing and powerful private groups.
Main Description
Most Americans assume that U.S. foreign policy is determined by democratically elected leaders who define and protect the common good of the citizens and the nation they represent. Increasingly, this conventional wisdom falls short of explaining the real climate in Washington. Well organized private-interest groups are capitalizing on Americans' ignorance of world politics to advance their own agendas. Supported by vast economic resources and powerful lobbyists, these groups thwart theconstitutional checks and balances designed to protect the U.S. political system,effectively bullying or buying our national leaders. Lawrence Davidson traces the history, evolution, and growing influence of these private organizations from the nation's founding to the present, and he illuminates their profoundly disturbing impact on the direction of U.S. foreign policy.Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interestdemonstrates how economic interest groups once drove America's westward expansion and designed the nation's overseas imperial policies. Using the contemporary Cuba and Israel lobbies as examples, Davidson then describes the emergence of political lobbies in the twentieth century and shows how diverse groups with competing ethnic and religious agendas began to organize and shape American priorities abroad. Despite the troubling influence of these specialized lobbies, many Americans remain indifferent to the hijacking of American foreign policy. Americans' focus on local events and their lack of interest in international affairs renders them susceptible to media manipulation and prevents them from holding elected officials accountable for their ties to lobbies. Such mass indifference magnifies the power of these wealthy special interest groups and permits them to create and implement American foreign policy. The result is that the global authority of the United States is weakened, its integrity as an international leader is compromised, and its citizens are endangered. Debilitated by two wars, a tarnished global reputation, and a plummeting economy, Americans, Davidson insists, can no longer afford to ignore the realities of world politics. On its current path, he predicts, America will cease to be a commonwealth of individuals but instead will become an amoral assembly of competing interest groups whose policies and priorities place the welfare of the nation and its citizens in peril.
Main Description
Most Americans assume that U.S. foreign policy is determined by democratically elected leaders who define and protect the common good of the citizens and the nation they represent. Increasingly, this conventional wisdom falls short of explaining the real climate in Washington. Well organized private-interest groups are capitalizing on Americans' ignorance of world politics to advance their own agendas. Supported by vast economic resources and powerful lobbyists, these groups thwart the constitutional checks and balances designed to protect the U.S. political system, effectively bullying or buying our national leaders. Lawrence Davidson traces the history, evolution, and growing influence of these private organizations from the nation's founding to the present, and he illuminates their profoundly disturbing impact on the direction of U.S. foreign policy. Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest demonstrates how economic interest groups once drove America's westward expansion and designed the nation's overseas imperial policies. Using the contemporary Cuba and Israel lobbies as examples, Davidson then describes the emergence of political lobbies in the twentieth century and shows how diverse groups with competing ethnic and religious agendas began to organize and shape American priorities abroad. Despite the troubling influence of these specialized lobbies, many Americans remain indifferent to the hijacking of American foreign policy. Americans' focus on local events and their lack of interest in international affairs renders them susceptible to media manipulation and prevents them from holding elected officials accountable for their ties to lobbies. Such mass indifference magnifies the power of these wealthy special interest groups and permits them to create and implement American foreign policy. The result is that the global authority of the United States is weakened, its integrity as an international leader is compromised, and its citizens are endangered. Debilitated by two wars, a tarnished global reputation, and a plummeting economy, Americans, Davidson insists, can no longer afford to ignore the realities of world politics. On its current path, he predicts, America will cease to be a commonwealth of individuals but instead will become an amoral assembly of competing interest groups whose policies and priorities place the welfare of the nation and its citizens in peril.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
The Popular Disregard for Foreign Policyp. 5
Formulating Foreign Policy in a Factocracyp. 23
The Factocracy Diversifiesp. 53
Privatizing National Interest-the Cuba Lobbyp. 75
Privatizing National Interest-the Israel Lobbyp. 97
Is There a National Interest?p. 127
Conclusionp. 141
Notesp. 149
Bibliographyp. 163
Indexp. 175
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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