Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A real-life history about Bush's war cabinet

Another very enlightening book I read about United States' domestic politics and foreign policy (and how the two dimensions overlap and interact) the year before last was James Mann's Rise of The Vulcans - The History of Bush's War Cabinet (London, Penguin, 2004). The author, a veteran American journalist, tells a great story about the political and intellectual careers of the top national security decision-makers of the United States.

They include Vice President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former State Secretary Colin Powell, former Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, former Assistant State Secretary Richard Armitage and the then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Condoleezza Rice is now the State Secretary while Dick Cheney remains as the Vice President and Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Secretary.

Although it is now outdated in some important aspects because of the changes of personnel after President Bush's re-election in 2004, the book remains an excellent reference book for those who wish to comprehend the dynamics of American politics and how national security and foreign policy decisions are made. Some equally important features of how the American decision-makers see the world and react to it would most probably persist in some years to come unless there is an ideological and institutional sea-change in the United States.