Review: Why Leaders Lie–The Truth About Lying in International Politics

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Communications, Complexity & Catastrophe, Congress (Failure, Reform), Corruption, Crime (Government), Culture, Research, Diplomacy, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Impeachment & Treason, Information Operations, Information Society, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Intelligence (Public), Leadership, Misinformation & Propaganda, Politics, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Public Administration, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy
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John J. Mearsheimer

5.0 out of 5 stars Cornerstone, Not the Whole Building

January 2, 2011

By no stretch should this book be dismissed as a three. While I might normally have gone with a four, I am settling on five for balance and because the author not only covers an extraordinarily important topic in a sensible measured way, but his endnotes are another book all by themselves–I recommend all readers start there.

Where the author falls short is in lacking a strategic analytic construct for measuring the true costs of lying in blood, treasure, and spirit. He tends to ascribe pure motives to leaders (for example, not at all confronting the raw fact that Dick Cheney committed 23 documented impeachable acts (see my review of Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency for the itemization) and Dick Cheney also led the telling of 935 documented lies best covered by TruthDig but also in Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq.

The book disconnects grand strategy (global engagement) from domestic prosperity in a manner I find disconcerting, and while the author is most able in documenting the costs to a democracy of lies to the public, I do not see nor feel the deeper reality: lies destroy the Commonwealth. Lies allow a two-party tyranny to sell out to the Arabs (not just the Israelis), to Wall Street–lies permit the mortgage clearinghouse fraud, the derivatives fraud, and the Federal Reserve fraud on the one hand, while also fooling the public into a national security policy that is clinically insane, catastrophically costly, and ultimately a self-inflicted wound that could be fatal.
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Journal: Imperial by Design, Unethical by Choice

02 Diplomacy, 10 Security, 11 Society, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government, Methods & Process, Misinformation & Propaganda, Power Behind-the-Scenes/Special Interests, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Strategy, Threats
Who, Me?

Imperial by Design

The National Interest

From the issue

John J. Mearsheimer

December 16, 2010

Summary: The author discusses the intellectual but not the ethical underpinings of the failure of US foreign policy and national security since the first Clinton Administration.  He touches on alternative policies such as isolationalism, offshore balancing, selective engagement, global dominance, and then settles on offshore balancing as the way to go: pulling back the Army and Marines from overseas, sharply reducing their budgets, and restoring budget to the Air Force and the Navy.

Read the article….

John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is on the Advisory Council of The National Interest, and his most recent book, Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying in International Politics, was published in January 2011 by Oxford University Press.  He is also the co-author of the deeply practical The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy and The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.