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Anybody know of any books that deal with what goes on behind the scenes, on an international level?

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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 01:39 PM
Original message
Anybody know of any books that deal with what goes on behind the scenes, on an international level?

For instance, the recent talk of the US "freezing" spending (except military, of course). Some think the Chinese pressured the US government to do this. (FWIW, I believe it.)

Governments usually don't give the real reasons for whatever they're doing. Anyway, know of any books maybe, such as,

"Why Governments Really Do the Things They Do," or something similar?



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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. Sounds like you are looking for more timely information ...
than would be likely to be in most books... There are several international affairs type publications (magazines) that are available, but because of their smaller audience are somewhat pricey... Major Barnes and Noble stores or other large bookstores normally stock them... Some of them also have websites... I'd go peruse their collection and then see what may be online from the same writers.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I find "Foreign Affairs" interesting for that at times
The articles I can often take or leave, but there's usually some fairly erudite flamewars in the letters section, and I use their book reviews as suggested reading lists.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Well, it doesn't have to be timely, although that would be of interest too.

It could deal with why the US really didn't want the Southern states to secede, or why the US really got involved in WWI.

Thanks for your post.


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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Couple recommendations there
I'm finishing up James McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom," which begins to address the former and handily filled some large gaps in my US history knowledge, and the latter's touched on G.J. Meyer's "A World Undone: The Story of the Great War," which is by far the best single-volume history of WWI - including the background figures, politics, social movements, etc - that I expect to read anytime soon.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. You want a primer The Rise and Fall of Empires by Kennedy
superb history, and though published in the 1980s will let you see why this pretty much was going to happen.

There are a few books on the World System, look at any on the Bretton Woods.

And while I hate to recommend him since he is center right, books by Zbigniew Brzezinski are pretty good at explaining this. And in particular the Grand Old Game of Central Asia, and why we pretty much fell into the same trap we set for the Russians.

And really dated, but good.. The Prince by Nicholo Machievelli. Does not deal with current affairs since it was written in the XVI century, but worth more than just a read. That is real politik in its essence. No, some things don't change, just the actors do.
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Nadine, I looked up the Kennedy book.
Edited on Tue Jan-26-10 02:40 PM by dixiegrrrrl
The only title by Paul Kennedy I could find is:
The Rise and Fall of The Great Powers.
Is that the one you were referring to?
Looks interesting.


adding for racoon's information:
here is brief blurb of author's point, of the above book, which i am ordering:
It succeeds as a historical narrative about the development of various western powers. The Hapsburgs, Napoleonic France, Czarist Russia, Prussia, Germany, and the British Empire are all covered. The Soviet Union, Japan and the U.S. come in for later treatment.
The book traces the influence of finance, geography, politics and innovations and shows how advantages in each were strategically applied. It excels in describing the emergence of the western world from Empires and rising and falling 'Great' and 'Middle' powers involved in various alliances and coalition wars, through to the post Vietnam era of a bipolar world ruled by two Superpowers.

"There is also a tendency for declining economic powers to spend very heavily on the military, as their sense of security decreases (Soviet Union and U.S in the 1980's). It is this tendency the author states, that is a symptom of what is called 'imperial overstretch' and is a characteristic of ALL declining great powers."

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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Yes, and more than just a necessary read
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. By god you asked for it so here it is
You know, I just love it when someone wants to know why we had our civil war. We get fed so much shit in gradeschool and so little afterward that nobody knows anything.

Here is a 15 minute read that will explain why we got into that horrible war. It is from the viewpoint of a disinterested outsider. Be prepared for a new world of history.

http://libcom.org/library/american-civil-war-karl-marx
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Looks like a kick-butt article--thank you! nt
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. Read that article and you will have a better understanding of that horrible war than 99% of people.
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Last Stand Donating Member (379 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:13 PM
Response to Original message
6. "Confessions of an Economic Hitman." It involves the World bank.
Made me quit reading these kinds of books. I decided that it was a level of worldly corruption that I'd rather not know.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."--Bob Seger nt
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. Correct, that is one to look at.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Oh yes... highly recommended (but keep your "happy pills" handy)
More truth than most of us are ready for.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. Exactly. Couple that with the Dec 1992 BCCI Report and see ya in a month.
.
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Fleshdancer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. For once I would like to get through that book without throwing it.
I almost took out a lamp last time.
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Capers Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 02:39 PM
Response to Original message
17. Here they are.
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