In Search of Monsters to Destroy: The Folly of American Empire and the Paths to Peace (Hardcover)

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“With In Search of Monsters to Destroy, Christopher Coyne offers readers a crisp, concise, and devastating indictment of American imperialism. His provocative proposal for a nonviolent ‘polycentric’ approach to national security comes as a welcome bonus.”
Andrew J. Bacevich, President and Chairman of the Board, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft; Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History, Boston University

Imperialism and militarism build empires, not liberalism.
 
So says Christopher Coyne, Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and Professor of Economics at George Mason University, in this eye-opening, must-read book on America’s recent foreign policy failures.
 
After 9/11, the United States tried to establish liberal political regimes in the Middle East and in the mountains of Afghanistan—but the effort, according to Coyne, was doomed to fail. And his logic is simple. 
 
Illiberal means, such as:
 
∙ industrial-scale violence
∙ the destruction of international norms
∙ and partnerships with brutal, oppressive regimes 
 
can lead only to illiberal ends. What else are the hundreds of thousands of dead and mutilated civilians the US left behind in the Middle East and Central Asia? What else are the destroyed ancient cultures and nearly obliterated nation-states? Coyne also points out that the illiberal perpetrators can end up nearly bankrupt and humiliated in the process—and profoundly less secure.

Sound familiar? Coyne insists that, if we do not absorb these truths, the rest of the 21st-century will be a repeat of its bloodstained, unstable beginning.

But Coyne is no isolationist. 

He insists there are workable, proven alternatives to imperialism, militarism, and empire—ones that preserve freedom, promote security, and foster mutually enriching friendship among the nations of the earth. These alternatives stand in stark and admirable opposition to our current militaristic culture, proving that nonviolent approaches to domestic and international conflicts not only minimize violence, but also promote cultures of peace throughout the world.

Read In Search of Monsters to Destroy, and you’ll never look at the nation state or international relations the same again. 

About the Author


Christopher J. Coyne is Professor of Economics at George Mason University, Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and Co-Editor of The Independent Review.

He is the author or co-author of In Search of Monsters to Destroy: The Folly of American Empire and the Paths to Peace (2022, Independent Institute), Manufacturing Militarism: U.S. Government Propaganda in the War on Terror (2021, Stanford University Press), Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism (2018, Stanford University Press), Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails (2013, Stanford University Press), Media, Development and Institutional Change (2009, Edward Elgar Publishing), and After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy (2007, Stanford University Press).

In addition, Chris has authored numerous academic articles, book chapters, and policy studies.

Chris's personal web page is www.ccoyne.com

Praise For…


“With In Search of Monsters to Destroy, Christopher Coyne offers readers a crisp, concise, and devastating indictment of American imperialism. His provocative proposal for a nonviolent ‘polycentric’ approach to national security comes as a welcome bonus.”
Andrew J. Bacevich, President and Chairman of the Board, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft; Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History, Boston University

“Why go overseas to slay monsters? Whether it’s corruption and cronyism, bureaucratic pathologies and perverse policies, mechanized terror and murderous militarism, the monsters are right here, America. Luckily for us, in In Search of Monsters to Destroy, Coyne faces them down with courage and clarity. So should we.”
William J. Astore, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.), author, Hindenburg: Icon of German Militarism

“Christopher Coyne has long been the leading voice in economics on the folly of American military interventions overseas. In his remarkable new book, In Search of Monsters to Destroy, he gives unpopular but deeply compelling arguments why such interventions are a threat to liberal values both at home and abroad.”
—William R. Easterly, Co-Director, Development Research Institute, New York University

“Coyne argues in his tightly written examination of America’s global meddling, In Search of Monsters to Destroy, that these interventions almost inevitably cause more harm than good because America lacks both the interest and knowledge to do otherwise. It is not ‘Mission Accomplished’ but ‘Mission Impossible’.”
Harvey M. Sapolsky, Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Organization and former Director of the MIT Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Christopher Coyne’s In Search of Monsters to Destroy is a timely book. Completed on the heels of the undeniable failure of America’s longest war in Afghanistan it comes out in the midst of the United States’ and NATO’s dangerous effort to destroy yet another monster, this time the Russian bear in Ukraine. Sadly, we continue to need Coyne’s reminder of the folly of even well-intentioned empire and the urgency for a new, non-imperial approach to national and international security.”
Michael C. Desch, Packey J. Dee Professor of International Relations and Brian and Jeannelle Brady Family Director, Notre Dame International Security Center, University of Notre Dame

In Search of Monsters to Destroy is a bold necessary book that examines the costs and failures of U.S. military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and beyond. The book also offers solutions, outlining alternative, polycentric defense strategies, including civil resistance, that promise greater security at less risk of war. A well-written compact volume that makes a valuable contribution to the debate on national-security strategy and the need for military restraint.”
David Cortright, Director of Policy Studies, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame

“Christopher Coyne’s very important and timely book, In Search of Monsters to Destroy, reminds us once again that all wars bring taxes and the expansion of the power and scope of government. When the wars end, the taxes remain. The new powers remain. The new additional government functionaries remain. State power ratchets upwards and rarely back down. War is truly the health of the state.”
Grover G. Norquist, Founder and President, Americans for Tax Reform

“With his book In Search of Monsters to Destroy, Coyne uses key insights from political economy to deliver a major broadside against interventionist American foreign policies. He argues that we have unproductively adopted an imperial approach that undermines both liberal ends and our security needs. Agree or disagree with his analysis or recommendations, readers will find Coyne’s challenges to traditional approaches well worth pondering.”
William P. Ruger, President,American Institute for Economic Research

In Search of Monsters to Destroy presents a detailed and tellingly accurate anatomy of the American warfare state and its consequences for both the United States and other nations before laying out a thought-provoking case for an alternative to Washington’s current, counterproductive militarism.”
Charles W. Freeman, Jr., President Emeritus, Middle East Policy Council; former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs

In Search of Monsters to Destroy is a spirited, and often passionate, analysis and assault on American interventionism, nation-building abroad, and militarism at home and abroad, which are collectively conceptualized as much of the substance of the American empire. The book challenges much in orthodox studies and owes a debt to important dissident writers Coyne obviously respects: especially Friedrich A. Hayek, Charles A. Beard, William Appleman Williams, C. Wright Mills, Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr., and Robert Higgs. Even readers often preferring interpretive orthodoxy will find Coyne’s chapters on the failed drug war in Afghanistan and on the menacing use of drone warfare both compelling and unsettling.”
Barton J. Bernstein, Professor of History, Emeritus, Stanford University; editor, The Truman Administration: A Documentary History and Twentieth-Century America: Recent Interpretations (both with Allen J. Matusow) and Towards a New Past: Dissenting Essays in American History; author, The Atomic Bomb: The Critical Issues

“Christopher Coyne’s book In Search of Monsters to Destroy: The Folly of American Empire and the Paths to Peaceoffers a clear and comprehensive analysis of the concept of ‘liberal imperialism.’ There is, however, an alternative to the dominant, state-centered security approach: polycentric systems of security grounded in individual and community action, which, being intrinsically coherent, are far more likely to succeed than the reflexive use of state military force. The challenge remains to spread the word, and Coyne’s timely book greatly contributes to that worthy cause.”
Laurie L. Calhoun, author, We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age and War and Delusion: A Critical Examination

“In this groundbreaking new book, In Search of Monsters to Destroy, Christopher Coyne presents us with both a crystal-clear history of the modern American Empire and a brilliant, innovative policy manual. … Coyne has written a scholarly masterpiece which… should be read and re-read by anyone concerned with the dangerous world which the American Empire has made more dangerous and anyone interested in fresh policy prescriptions offering workable and peace-generating ‘alternatives to empire’.”
T. Hunt Tooley, A.M. Pate, Jr., Professor of History, Austin College; author, The Great War: Western Frontand Home Front

“The U.S. government spent almost $9 Billion over 20 years in Afghanistan to eliminate the poppy crop used to produce opium and heroin. The result? Opium poppy production quadrupled. This failed war on drugs is just one subset of the failed war on terror that Christopher Coyne documents in his book, In Search of Monsters to Destroy, his masterful analysis of the follies of the American Empire. What we imagine to be a necessary, efficient mechanism for protecting American freedoms and spreading liberty is, as Coyne artfully details, a massive, corrupt enterprise that suctions money from American taxpayers into the accounts of a few monopolistic corporations and, in the process, extinguishes the liberties and, too often, the lives of millions beyond our borders. It is essential reading for all who hope to be informed Americans—a vital roadmap for charting a more effective, more just foreign policy.”
Joseph Cirincione, Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft; former President, Ploughshares Fund; former Director for Non-Proliferation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“Christopher Coyne’s In Search of Monsters to Destroy calls to us to imagine alternatives to empire. It is timely, sobering, and provocative. A century and more ago, anti-imperialists warned our republic against the corruption, militarism, jobbery, and vanity of a misconstrued national greatness premised on imperial expansion. Coyne challenges all skeptics of empire and lovers of liberty to reassess where we are, how we got here, and where we go next. Ideological interventionists, nation-builders, and regime changers have to be held accountable for the word they promised and the world they made.”
Richard M. Gamble, Professor of History and Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Chair in History and Politics, Hillsdale College
Product Details
ISBN: 9781598133479
ISBN-10: 1598133470
Publisher: Independent Institute
Publication Date: December 1st, 2022
Pages: 248
Language: English