Phi Beta Iota: The announcement of the Egyptian Army that it recognizes the “legitimate grievances” of the public and that it will not use force is in fact a recognition of both the substance of the public grievances, and the fact that force would backfire–there are not enough guns on the planet to repress the public, that cat is out of the bag forever. Morality is a priceless strategic asset–individual integrity is a priceless enabler of a government's legitimacy. From Hawaii to Vermont, the USA is facing domestic demands for secession that reflect the lack of legitimacy of the financial crime families that “own” the two-party system to the detriment of the public interest. It's time to get right with God and our own Humanity. There is much that is right with America–none of it to be found on Wall Street or in Washington, D.C.
In Sorrows of Empire, Johnson discusses the roots of American militarism, the rise and extent of the military-industrial complex, and the close ties between arms industry executives and high-level politicians. He also looks closely at how the military has extended the boundaries of what constitutes national security in order to centralize intelligence agencies under their control and how statesmen have been replaced by career soldiers on the front lines of foreign policy–a shift that naturally increases the frequency with which we go to war.
Three More Covers & See Also Below the Line…
If the 20th century was the American century, the 21st century may be a time of reckoning for the United States. Chalmers Johnson, an authority on Japan and its economy, offers a troubling prognosis of what's to come. Blowback–the title refers to a CIA neologism describing the unintended consequences of American activity–is a call for the United States to rethink its position in the world. “The evidence is building up that in the decade following the end of the Cold War, the United States largely abandoned a reliance on diplomacy, economic aid, international law, and multilateral institutions in carrying out its foreign policies and resorted much of the time to bluster, military force, and financial manipulation,” writes Johnson. “The world is not a safer place as a result.” Individual chapters focus on Okinawa (where American servicemen were accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in “Asia's last colony”), the two Koreas, China, and Japan. The result is a liberal-leaning (and Asia-centric) call for the United States to disengage from many of its global commitments. Critics will call Johnson an isolationist, but friends (perhaps admirers of Patrick Buchanan's A Republic, Not an Empire) will say he simply speaks good sense. All will agree he is an earnest voice: “I believe our very hubris ensures our undoing.”
While there are a lot of books out there on the evils of American foreign policy, this is the only one I have seen that goes through country by country, state by state to show how we intervened, year after year. There are other books by authors such as Noam Chomsky that may contain more detail and analysis, but none are as complete or are ordered so well. After you read this you cannot help but put foreign policy as the main issue you care about in politics. Sure domestic issues are important, but what can that compare to us literally participating in the killing of thousands, and in some cases millions overseas? How can you even weigh domestic concerns compared to supporting torturing dictators for decades? The fact is our foreign policy is not that of the Nazi's, it differs in one very important way: we have gotten away with it for 50 years. This book will give you as ugly a view of America as there is, but if you want to improve things (if thats even possible anymore) you need to start with the ugly truth.
The recent ouster of Saddam Hussein may have turned “regime change” into a contemporary buzzword, but it's been a tactic of American foreign policy for more than 110 years. Beginning with the ouster of Hawaii's monarchy in 1893, Kinzer runs through the foreign governments the U.S. has had a hand in toppling, some of which he has written about at length before (in All the Shah's Men, etc.). Recent invasions of countries such as Grenada and Panama may be more familiar to readers than earlier interventions in Iran and Nicaragua, but Kinzer, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, brings a rich narrative immediacy to all of his stories. Although some of his assertions overreach themselves—as when he proposes that better conduct by the American government in the Spanish-American War might have prevented the rise of Castro a half-century later—he makes a persuasive case that U.S. intervention destabilizes world politics and often leaves countries worse off than they were before. Kinzer's argument isn't new, but it's delivered in unusually moderate tones, which may earn him an audience larger than the usual crew of die-hard leftists.