In this powerful and very timely book, Ivan Eland questions the core assumptions of U.S. foreign policy and defense establishments that call for high and increasing defense budgets at home and military interventions around the world. He outlines a security policy more appropriate to the sober realities of the post-Cold War era. This is an approach that calls for military restraint overseas, taking advantage of the already secure U.S. geo-strategic position, while safeguarding vital national interests. Eland details the military force structure needed for this new role and calculates the reduced defense budget required to pay for these forces.
This book is a timely wake-up call to those who make U.S. domestic and foreign policies: it demands an urgent rethinking of Americas national interests. Americas natural geo-strategic position places it at a natural advantage, rendering unnecessary a forward defense posture. A noninterventionist foreign policy would save money by requiring lower defense budgets. An America less willing to get involved in complex overseas disputes unrelated to its vital interests would also be less likely to make enemies around the world.
- Chapter 1: U.S. National Security: Mismatch between Policy and Reality
- Chapter 2: Defining U.S. Vital Interests
- Chapter 3: Threats to U.S. Vital Interests
- Chapter 4: U.S. Security Strategy
- Chapter 5: The United States Must Revamp Its Military Forces
- Chapter 6: Weapons Unnecessary for a Balancer-of-Last-Resort Strategy
- Chapter 7: Defense Programs That Need Increased Funding or Attention
- Chapter 8: An Appropriate Defense Budget for the Balancer-of-Last-Resort Strategy
- Chapter 9: Conclusion
Eland...argues that even before the Bush binge, the United States was spending too much on defense and that the money is being spent on the wrong priorities...[H]is overall message is one that deserves a hearing before the United States embarks on a defense-spending binge.
LAWRENCE J. KORB, former Assistant Secretary of Defense; Vice President and Greenberg Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
The main value of Elands work is its critical and dispassionate treatment of assumptions that have driven national security strategy since the beginning of the cold war -- assumptions that should be addressed by all those seriously interested in the issue.
POLITICAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY
The book is a useful addition to a wide-ranging debate on defense spending today. Recommended for general readers, undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals.