Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Audio CD – Audiobook, CD
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Top customer reviews
Johnson goes further, arguing that the Asian economic crisis was a conflict between an Asian and an American version of capitalism, and that indeed, 'Economics has not replaced culture and history' as the key to understanding the world. Moreover, he argues that US policies in favour of capital market liberalisation and then IMF-sponsored deflation were the main forces accounting for the devastation wreaked on the region in years 1997-8.
Blowback also has valuable insights on the continued ascendance of the two driving forces of US foreign policy - the military-industrial complex and finance capital, both of which are implicated in the imperial policies pursued by the USA in Asia.
After reading this book, one can't help but wonder whether Oswald Spengler's prediction, that the decline of the West would lead it towards Caesarism and a quest for world empire, has not come true. If so, then it falls upon the three countries that have so far remained independant of US hegemony - Russia, China and India, to turn blowback, (the unintended consequences of US policies overseas) into payback for the havoc wreaked on the rest of the world by the rogue superpower.
This book is a guide to some of the policies during and after the Cold War that generated, and continue to generate, blowback - a term the CIA invented to describe the likelihood that US covert operations in other people's countries would result in retaliations against Americans, civilian and military, at home and abroad.
During the first year after its publication, Blowback was largely ignored in the US. Few of the mainstream book reviews took any notice of it, and the house organ of the Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs, wrote that "Blowback reads like a comic book." Not surprisingly perhaps, the response elsewhere in the world was somewhat different. The book was quickly translated into German, Italian, and Japanese, and the foreign news editor of Der Spiegel even flew to California to interview Johnson.
Domestic lack of interest changed dramatically after September 11, 2001. The book was reprinted eight times in less than two months and became an underground bestseller among Americans suddenly sensitized to, or at least desperate to know about, some of the realities of the world in which they lived.
Actions that generate blowback are normally kept totally secret from the American public and from most of their representatives in Congress. The American people may not know what is done in their name, but those on the receiving end surely do - including the people of Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959 to present), Congo (1960), Brazil (1964), Indonesia (1965), Vietnam (1961-73), Laos (1961-73), Cambodia (1961-73), Greece (1967-74), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979 to present), El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua (1980s), and Iraq (1991 to present), to name only the most obvious cases.
In a speech to Congress on September 20, 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, President George W.Bush posed this question: "Why do they hate us?" And he answers: "They hate our freedoms, our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote." He commented later that he was amazed "that there's such misunderstanding of what our country is about that people would hat us."
Coming from a President this statement serves well to illustrates both, the ignorance and arrogance prevalent in the highest decision making circles in the US. This statement goes beyond blunt deception, it is so far off target that it is difficult to find a common denominator on which to base a counter argument. People genuinely believing in this simplistic world view (President or not) unfortunately mostly do not find their way to books like "Blowback." It is easier to believe that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD, or that he would cooperate with Al Qaeda to execute 911, a view that apparently was shared by 75% of the US troops just before Iraq was invaded.
Like any other writer Johnson portrays his own view of his own field of expertise. Given his history, this makes him an excellent source of fairly balanced information. He presents his facts with much thought and restrains from abstractions which makes his writings easily digestible.
As ancient Rome fell due to military overstretch and political infighting, one might assume that our elites drew some lessons there, however, it seems that Churchill was write when he said: "history shows that men do not learn from history". If you want to broaden your view on past world affairs that affect our lives today or even have a glimpse of the future, "Blowback" might just do that.
American citizens need to read it to appreciate why the other citizens of the world look at them as the "Ugly American": not because of any personal hatreds, but because of what the Empire ends up doing to others. The industrial military complex has ruined it for the ordinary American people.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book makes the case that the US government like the Soviet era government during the Cold War, used other weaker nations as strategic "satellites," to contain the other "political theory" in the political war between capitalism (US) & socialism (USSR) the capitialists won. However, Johnson points out that the US government is still playing by the same rules laid out in the cold war which in turn is costing the US major as far as monetary assets and "good-will" in the face of the citizens of other nations.
The stealth imperialism presented in this book is an eye opening and revealing experience for the reader. After reading this book you will look at the world in a completely new light. You will begin to read news stories and know that there in fact are more pieces to the story presented and you will likely be able to fit those pieces together based on the knowledge you have gained by reading BLOWBACK.
What makes this book a worthwhile pick for the lay reader is the concept of blowback. In his eagerness to apply this lens to the broad range of events he wants to cover, Johnson stretches this term well beyond it's original meaning, but the point is well taken: Blowback is the side effects of foreign policy that citizens and even politicians do not understand because are ignorant of said foreign policy. For example, 9/11 was blowback for American policies in the Middle East that few Americans are aware of. Because we don't understand how our policies have caused our own woes, we are powerless to rectify them or prevent future blowback. The purpose of this short book is to inform Americans of some of our less admirable actions in East Asia over the last half century and how those actions are likely to be perceived by East Asians. Johnson hopes that, when we have understood the problems we have created and continue to create in East Asia, we will recognize the consequences and take action to avert conflict and ameliorate tensions.
This book was a very worthwhile read. I recommend it to all US citizens who intend to vote in a national election. It has a strong bias, which I like, not because he's right about everything, but because it sends an important message, and because the bias makes it interesting.
Look for similar items by category