Book: National Security & Double Government

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Why has U.S. security policy scarcely changed from the Bush to the Obama administration? National Security and Double Government offers a disquieting answer. Michael J. Glennon challenges the myth that U.S. security policy is still forged by America's visible, 'Madisonian institutions' - the President, Congress, and the courts. Their roles, he argues, have become largely illusory. Presidential control is now nominal, congressional oversight is dysfunctional, and judicial review is negligible. This book details the dramatic shift in power that has occurred from the Madisonian institutions to a concealed 'Trumanite network' - the several hundred managers of the military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement agencies who are responsible for protecting the nation and who have come to operate largely immune from constitutional and electoral restraints. Reform efforts face daunting obstacles. Remedies within this new system of "double government" require the hollowed-out Madisonian institutions to exercise the very power that they lack. Meanwhile, reform initiatives from without confront the same pervasive political ignorance within the polity that has given rise to this duality. This book sounds a powerful warning about the need to resolve this dilemma--and the mortal threat posed to accountability, democracy, and personal freedom if double government persists.

R E A D E R S' R E V I E W S :

"Having worked inside the national security apparatus for the past 16 years (including places where the locations themselves are classified), this book answers questions I've had myself as to why administrations and political appointees come and go, yet so few policy and program changes happen (other than speed of growth). For those interested not just in the what but the why and how, this work is a much needed addition to the field and truly ground-breaking. Eye-opening, even for seasoned national security thinkers and bureaucrats." pcox

"It is about time that academia turns its attention to a huge problem in our federal government which has arisen since the end of World War II: namely, a national security establishment which conducts U.S. military and intelligence operations outside the Constitutional framework and free of the accountability otherwise imposed by law. The President has become a mere pronouncer of policies in foreign affairs and national security matters, fashioned by the CIA and the Pentagon, with no meaningful Congressional oversight or involvement of our courts.
Prof. Glennon is to be commended for having the intestinal fortitude to write this book and subjecting himself to the inevitable criticism which will follow from the defenders of the status quo.
However, I can only give the book four stars, as it has a serious flaw in my opinion. The author subscribes to a benign explanation for the rise in double government, and unjustly ignores the role of the armaments industry and defense contractors in the explosive growth of the national security state. The motivation is money, and the systematic looting of the U.S. Treasury to benefit private industry, which may ultimately prove the undoing of our democracy.
President Eisenhower, in his now famous farewell address in 1961, warned us all against the gaining of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial establishment. He saw the dangers posed by policies being formulated and operations being conducted by our military and intelligence agencies when the primary benefits flowed to those with an economic stake in the outcomes, rather than acting in the best interests of our citizenry.
Anyone interested in learning how we have gotten to this sad stage, with no real prospects for change from one administration to the next, should read this book." Tularosa

E D I T O R I A L R E V I E W S :

Bruce Ackerman
Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science
Yale University

"Glennon has written a unique book that stands out among the collection of post-9/11 works for the way it lashes historical trends to the most contemporary problems of government secrecy, power and overreach in a highly readable way. I underlined passages on just about every page and can't wait to reread it. The 'ah ha!' moments are endless."
Dana Priest
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning national security reporter,
The Washington Post

"Michael Glennon has written a brilliant book that helps explain why U.S. foreign policy changes so little over time, despite frequent failure.... Glennon shows how the underlying national security bureaucracy in Washington - what might be called the deep state - ensures that presidents and their successors act on the world stage like Tweedledee and Tweedledum."
John J. Mearsheimer
R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science
University of Chicago

"Michael Glennon offers us a penetrating, useful, and ultimately depressing warning about American democracy, indeed all democracies: There's no hope against the technocrats and moneyed interests while the general public remains so incredibly ignorant of public affairs. Liberal advocates take note."
Leslie H. Gelb
President emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, and >br> a former columnist for The New York Times

"National Security and Double Government is brilliant, deep, sad, and vastly learned across multiple fields--a work of Weberian power and stature. It deserves to be read and discussed. The book raises philosophical questions in the public sphere in a way not seen at least since Fukuyama's end of history." David A. Westbrook
Del Cotto Professor
SUNY Buffalo Law School

"Shrewdly updating Walter Bagehot's theory of 'double government,' Michael Glennon shows how present-day Washington really works. In our faux democracy, those we elect to govern serve largely ornamental purposes, while those who actually wield power, especially in the realm of national security, do so chiefly with an eye toward preserving their status and prerogatives. Read this incisive and richly documented book, and you'll understand why."
Andrew J. Bacevich
Professor of History and International Relations Boston University

"Taking a leaf from Walter Bagehot's thesis of dual government in Britain, Michael Glennon has transported the concept of 'double government' to the United States analyzing the constitutional institutions, or what he calls the 'Madisonian' side; and a cohort of several hundred senior military, diplomatic, and intelligence officials who run the daily business of national security, or what he calls the 'Trumanite' side. This explains the relatively little difference between the Bush 43 and the Obama presidencies. In this brilliant, deeply researched book, Glennon spells out the relation of his overall thesis to contemporary issues such as the [Edward] Snowden revelations."
Charles G. Cogan
Associate, International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and
International Affairs Harvard Kennedy School

"In this timely book Michael Glennon provides a compelling argument that America's national security policy is growing outside the bounds of existing government institutions. This is at once a constitutional challenge, but is also a case study in how national security can change government institutions, create new ones, and, in effect, stand-up a parallel state. This is a well-argued book of academic import and policy relevance. It is recommended reading for an informed debate on an issue of great significance."
Vali Nasr
Dean of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies

"National Security and Double Government is an important and insightful book. It should be read by anyone concerned that Obama's national security policies differ so little from those of the Bush Administration, and by every in-coming President and her staff."
Morton H. Halperin
Senior Advisor Open Society Foundations

"Michael Glennon's National Security and Double Government explains why U.S. foreign policy is prone to recurring failure and resistant to genuine reform. Instead of being responsive to citizens or subject to effective checks and balances, U.S. national security policy is in fact conducted by a shadow government of bureaucrats and a supporting network of think tanks, media insiders, and ambitious policy wonks. Presidents may come and go, but the permanent national security establishment inevitably defeats their efforts to chart a new course. Gracefully written and extensively researched, this book is the most penetrating analysis of U.S. foreign policy that I have read in years."
Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs Harvard Kennedy School


Michael J. Glennon is Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Before going into teaching, he was the Legal Counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is the co-author of Foreign Relations and National Security Law, and the author of Constitutional Diplomacy, among other books. His op-ed pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, International Herald-Tribune, Financial Times, and Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with his wife and son.

LINK to 90 second excerpt from President Eisenhower's January 17, 1961 Presidential Farewell Speech: