Chalmers A. Johnson, Author, Shara Kay, Editor Metropolitan Books $26 (p) focuses on the effects of “”blowback,”” a term coined by the CIA to denote the. The term “blowback,” invented by the CIA, refers to the unintended results of American actions abroad. In this incisive and controversial book, Chalmers Johnson. Blowback, a term invented by the CIA, refers to the uninted In this sure-to-be- controversial book, Chalmers Johnson lays out in vivid detail the.
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Chalmers Johnson | American Empire Project
Now with a new and up-to-date Introduction by the author, the bestselling account of the effect of American global policies, hailed as “brilliant and iconoclastic” Los Angeles Times The term “blowback,” invented by the CIA, refers to the unintended results of American actions abroad. In this incisive and controversial book, Chalmers Johnson lays out in vivid detail the da Now with a new and up-to-date Introduction by the author, the bestselling account of the effect of American global policies, hailed as “brilliant and iconoclastic” Los Angeles Times The term “blowback,” invented by the CIA, refers to the unintended results of American actions abroad.
In this incisive and controversial book, Chalmers Johnson lays out in vivid detail the dangers faced by our overextended empire, which insists on projecting its military power to every corner of the earth and using American capital and markets to force global economic integration on its own terms.
From a case of rape by U. In a new edition that addresses recent international events from September 11 to the war in Iraq, this now classic book remains as prescient and powerful as ever.
Paperback2ndpages. Published by Holt McDougal first published American Book Award To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Blowbackplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Apr 15, Trevor rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book is remarkable.
The main thesis of the book is that because the US has not really adjusted its foreign policy to account for the collapse of the Soviet Union it is still essentially fighting the cold war. He claims that the US needs to better integrate both its foreign pol This book is remarkable. He claims that the US needs to better integrate both its foreign policy objectives and economic objectives — both of which come most clearly into conflict in its dealings with countries like South Korea and Japan which it gives economic preference chalmerx, at the expense of US industry, companies and jobs.
There are a number of predictions made in this book, most of them dire and many of them have pretty well come true over the last few years. This will particularly be the case with the extensive comparisons he makes between the US and the USSR throughout the cold war — many of which are anything but flattering to the US. He makes a fascinating point that the US concept of freedom is basically an 18th century conception of individual freedom, whilst the Soviet and Chinese conceptions were 19th century collective notions.
I remember the old Soviet commentators who would be accused by us of doing bad things to individuals and them responding by talking about unemployment rates in the US. We are just yet to see the US tumble just yet. This book provides detailed and disturbing information on the history of US involvement in Korea, Japan and China. It puts quite a different spin on what I had taken for granted. He claims that their political system is so chalmere rigged and seen as such in Japan, that the average Japanese citizen feels totally alienated from the political system.
He talks about coups in South Korea that virtually organised by the US. It reads like a huge conspiracy theory, until you realise that this guy had worked for the CIA and is clearly a respected US intellectual.
Part of his concern is that Nixon abandoned the Bretton Woods Agreement and that this was one of the worst decisions of the century and something we will pay very dearly for.
Essentially, he is quite fond of capitalism, but completely opposed to finance capitalism. He claims the 30s depression was deepened and prolonged due to currency speculation. This made it bloeback to speculate on currencies jlhnson added stability to the world economy.
However, Nixon faced with a budget deficit due to the Vietnam war decoupled the US dollar from the gold standard and floated it. Now, blowbacm speculation is rife and was a major cause of the Asian financial crisis and likewise with the world financial crisis we are facing. The parts of this book dealing with Okinawa are very disturbing.
I remember the rape case of the twelve year old girl by the three US servicemen, but had never really thought about it at the time. You know, unfortunately, man rapes child is hardly an exceptional headline. I had no idea this was basically the last straw in Okinawa and that Okinawa has very many reasons to be utterly pissed off with the US bases it is forced to accommodate and to financially support.
He questions why it is still necessary to have US bases in some of these places. For example, why it is necessary to keep chalers many US troops and forces in Okinawa. What are they doing there? His view is that the US has not finished fighting the cold war, even if the USSR no blowbacm exists to be fought against. After the cold war the US could have adjusted to the new world reality and adjusted its foreign policy accordingly.
Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire
This is a wide ranging and fascinating book. The comparisons he runs of the Soviet invasion of Hungary and the US involvement in South Korea and Indonesia are compelling and disturbing. View all 15 comments. Feb 28, Clif rated it it was amazing. It refers to the U. Americans like to think of the U. It’s what we are fed by our government and by our news media, but it’s mythology. Blowback presents the truth, where foreigners are just as rational as we are and have understandable reasons for their actions.
The book is the work of a man who has experience regarding the topics he discusses. Chalmers Johnson’s writing style avoids jargon and acronyms, assuming the reader is simply a curious, likely uninformed American citizen and not a foreign policy expert or history buff. His ability to convey foreign views of American policy is impressive and convincing, undoubtedly because of his personal interaction with foreigners throughout his career.
I was particularly impressed by his comparison of American economic terms such as “the free market” to communist terms like “the dictatorship of the proletariat”. Terms we accept as explaining how things are sound very different to people outside our country. We have our own ideology and blind spots just as do Marxists. Going into international affairs in different theaters, Johnson gives clear explanations for American policy successes and failures. These accounts are quite different from what we have been told by our politicians and reveal in detail the reasons events have unfolded as they have.
Time after time this book illuminated history for me, in particular concerning the Korean War and trade relations between the U. The North Korean leadership is crazy, right?
Blowback is a must-read because of the danger of the over-extension of the U. These forces act not as defenders of the United States but as trainers, in effect working for U. A foreign government deciding to buy U.
This sets up the conditions for blowback. Bin Laden railed against the stationing of U. The fullest regional examination in the book is of Okinawa, used as a lever for policy between Japan and the U. Okinawans want to end the stationing of U. Department of Defense is such that Japan has been able to get what it wants from the U. Thus it goes the world over with the U.
The message of the book is jonnson we don’t back off from our empire project, we can expect to see consequences we will not like. Our very expensive chakmers extensive efforts are counterproductive. Finishing this book you will not only be well informed, you will be freed of the confusing official history of U.
Chalmfrs makes no sense because it is largely fiction becomes clear when it is accepted that others have reasons for what they do. Knowing the motivations of others allows the creation of a constructive foreign policy. Oct 05, Kym Robinson rated it liked it Shelves: Because of this I had known chslmers this book for some time before I was able to track it down and dig my paws into its pages.
Johnson was a man who I had heard give interviews and seemed to be one of the ‘go to guys’ for the US anti-war movement. The book was published before that date and the terrible terror attacks which seemed to change much of the World. Because of this many felt blowbacl Johnson had a degree of clairvoyance in his anticipation of such consequence to US foreign policy. The book does discuss the damage that the United States has inflicted on many parts of the World, its focus however is spent in East Bblowback.
It is here that Johnson gives the reader an excellent insertion into much of the recent history that has harmed the region and its people. Because of the focus on East Asia many other parts of the World are all but ignored as far as US imperialism goes. The books strength is its degree of depth as far as China, Japan, Okinawa and Korea goes. It also covers some of South East Asia blwoback for the most part it is the above mentioned that gets most page space.
Now while Johnson does have expertise in this region and subject matter his writing tends to take a meander into more of a passionate essay which almost blwoback on a rant.
Not a bad rant mind you, just one that seems to lose focus and objectivity at johmson. The greatest weakness for me however was in the exploration of economics and policy related to such. Though it at times seemed to be an attack on ‘free market’ economics while also discussing the many interference by National Governments, namely the US or by the IMF.
Such bodies are in no way related to a true free market. It is in the discussion of economics that the book really stalls and bogs itself down.
This is perhaps in part due to the Asian market collapse which was occurring or had just occurred around the time that the book was written, which sees Johnson attempt to better explain his then contemporary world. So while this book does cover some ground as far as post World War Two, US colonial reach, it does not truly set out to conclusively satisfy with a blowbaxk over view of such a hegemonic empire.