5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 2014
A radical but very biased account of what American foreign policy has achieved since the end of WW2. An account of how America has shamefully invaded, bombed or overthrown literally any country that has dared to display an alternative or not pay homage to its capitalist form of democracy. At the same it has built up the biggest network of world wide military basis in history, contravened conventions on torture and been involved in more indiscriminate or subversive killings than you can shake a stick at. It provokes the question 'are we really the good guys?' Shamefully I fear the UK is as culpable as the U.S.!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2014
Blum is succinct, easy to read while imparting a vast amount of material which doesn't get into the popular media and certainly ought to. It's absolutely basic to understand the present crisis in Ukraine, for example: his first lesson being that nothing can be known unless you realize that, contrary to common belief, America does not - and never has - acted for the GOOD.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2013
William Blum, author of such classics as Killing Hope, Freeing the world to death and Rogue state, has produced another vital book. If you want to know what is really going on in the world, this is one of the books you should read.
He shows how since 1945 the rulers of the USSR have tried to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected; interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries; tried to kill more than 50 foreign leaders; bombed the peoples of more than 30 countries; and tried to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries. Oh sorry, just noticed a typo, I wrote USSR but it was the USA did all this.
Blum notes that Germany's president Horst Koehler resigned in June 2010 after he said that German forces were fighting in Afghanistan because the German government had "to protect our interests, for example free trade routes, or to prevent regional instability which might certainly have a negative effect on our trade, jobs and earnings."
The author reminds us that a 1986 US Army manual outlined the then secular Afghan government's policies towards women: "provisions of complete freedom of choice of marriage partner, and fixation of the minimum age at marriage at 16 for women and 18 for men ... abolished forced marriages ... bring [women] out of seclusion, and initiate social programs ... extensive literacy programs, especially for women ... putting girls and boys in the same classroom ... concerned with changing gender roles and giving women a more active role in politics." So the US government did all it could to help that government against the bigots who wanted to force women back into serfdom - oh no, sorry again, it armed and backed the bigots.
In January 2011 the USA, led by caring sharing President Obama, seized $4.2 million in funds given to Cuba by the United Nations Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Blum reminds us that in the 1950s US agents in West Germany began a campaign of sabotage and subversion against East Germany. As the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, of Washington, DC, stated, "The open border in Berlin exposed the GDR to massive espionage and subversion and ... its closure gave the Communist state greater security."
But the border was never wholly closed. In 1984, 40,000 people left the GDR. In 1985 the West German government noted that 14,300 East Germans had returned to the GDR since 1975.
Blum cites a 2006 US Senate report, The Role of Market Speculation in Rising Oil and Gas Prices, which said, "Over the past few years, large financial institutions, hedge funds, pension funds, and other investment funds have been pouring billions of dollars into the energy commodities markets ... to try to take advantage of price changes or to hedge against them. Because much of this additional investment has come from financial institutions and investment funds that do not use the commodity as part of their business, it is defined as `speculation' by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). According to the CFTC, a speculator `does not produce or use the commodity, but risks his or her own capital trading futures in that commodity in hopes of making a profit on price changes'. The large purchases of crude oil futures contracts by speculators have, in effect, created an additional demand for oil, driving up the price ..."
Against his critics, Blum writes that their claim is that "I should be so grateful for my freedom of speech that I should show my gratitude by not exercising that freedom."
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2013
An entertaining overview of US foreign policy for those who brains haven't yet been totally numbed by their daily diet of CNN/BBC/Economist; the author reviews many other aspects of world affairs and shows up the liberal mainstream fraudery for what it is. Strictly for those with an open mind and a critical world view; the rest are beyond redemption in any case.