The Next Century by David Halberstam

The Next Century

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David Halberstam
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Was in Central Florida visiting my folks recently and came across this David Halberstam work while browsing in a used book store. Like most of mainstream America I hold David Halberstam in high esteem but must confess that somehow, "The Next Century," never hit my reading radar screen. Consequently, I decided to check it out and must immediately report this slim (159 pages) book is an outright jewel. \n\nMoreover, reading this 1991 publication in 2005 allowed me the luxury of examining Halberstam's appealing narrative during the infant steps of the new century. On that note, this book is primarily framed around the end of the Cold War and the excellence of the Japanese economic model. The author also makes a very strong point of declaring early on that the end of the Cold War provided the White House with a gigantic "Peace Dividend" opportunity. That because of the end of the Cold War the White House was finally fully capable of spending billions of dollars on domestic needs.\n\nHalberstam used J. Robert Oppenheimer's vivid description of the Cold War, "two scorpions in a jar, each able to give a nuclear sting to the other, but only at the price of its own death," to quantify the struggle between the world's two super powers. He also made a point of bashing Henry Kissinger's February 1989 "last speech of the old order" that the United States should be wary of the Gorbachev Revolution in the Soviet Union and that "if there was any weakness to American policy...it was American naivete."\n\nA Halberstam book with comments about Vietnam is always a bonus. Therefore I thought it was interesting how Halberstam warned of the supreme arrogance and trickery bookkeeping of the Johnson Administration that allowed the White House to deliberately lie to the people about Vietnam. He also stated that "empires are run by men who are not suited to telling the truth, they valued power over truth and they created their own truth." It was almost as if this astute observer of the Vietnam War could look into the future and advise us not to be duped by White House fiction of "weapons of mass destruction." Without a doubt...I wholeheardedly agree with this legendary American sage when he observes that...history punishes those who come late to it. Highly recommended.\n\nBert Ruiz \n\n