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Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (Taiwanese Chinese) Paperback – Bargain Price, December 31, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first thing to know is that both the title and subtitle are misleading. This is a book almost exclusively about US imperialism in East and Southeast Asia. It rarely explores other regions or what's usually termed blowback. What Johnson does do is much more valuable - he explains America's military and economic policies toward Asia without getting stuck in the stultifying prose of security experts or the bewildering technical jargon of economists.
It's not a pretty picture. We see the destructive legacy of American bases in Okinawa and elsewhere, the US complicity in the South Korean military's atrocities on Cheju (after World War II) and Kwangju (1980), the US arming and training of Indonesia's death squad military, the relentless push for a militarized Asia by the American military-industrial complex, and the horrible consequences of American economic priorities. We also learn a good deal about the recent history and politics of the region's major states.
Johnson's strength is in recounting the specificities of US foreign policy; he's much weaker at an overall understanding of imperialism. He seems to think that American policymakers have naively built up the economic strength of their Japanese, Korean, and now Chinese competitors by focusing on maintaining their own military power. This is an old critique, resting on the notion that imperialism hurts the imperialists.Read more ›
Johnson argues that while most great powers exploit their empires, America, is actually exploited by its own. During the Cold War the United States justifiably sought to create a buffer of Pacific satellite nations to cope with the threat of Soviet expansion in Asia. While this may have been an effective deterrent, it also came with a price. According to Johnson, the United States effectively bribed Japan with favorable economic conditions that fueled phenomenal growth in that country while largely destroying the manufacturing base in America. Although this may have been a prudent strategy during the Cold War, Johnson asks why the United States continues to sacrifice its productivity and living conditions at home in order to maintain a troop presence in Asia.
Where American troops were once stationed abroad as a buffer against Soviet expansion, they are now used to influence the countries they occupy or to train governments in counter insurgency and political repression. Johnson points out that in several cases American intervention on behalf of a repressive government merely turned American protectorates into implacable enemies.Read more ›
On the military front, the US population forgot G. Washington's warning: `avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty.'
The US intelligence and military establishment is close to being beyond civilian control and becoming an autonomous system, whose colossal budget with its juicy cost-plus contracts is only controlled by vested ideological and financial interests. This book shows clearly that US presidents, like Carter or Clinton, had not the power to oppose the Pentagon's designs: perpetuate and develop the Cold War structures in order to consolidate its power. The ends justify all means as numerous intelligence or military interventions in the world show, which sponsored dictatorships, genocidal campaigns, war crimes, state terrorism and paramilitary death-squads. 90 % of all US weapons were sold, not to democracies, but to human right abusers.
On the economic front, globalization US style provoked economic disasters in South-Asia and South-America, throwing millions of people into poverty. However the US still urged its `allies' to buy weapons! This kind of globalization, which provoked still more economic inequality, will not be forgotten for a long time (see W. Bello: Dilemmas of Domination.).
By overstretching its financial means (weapon systems are profligate economic waste), the US risks a long lasting downfall of the dollar.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As other reviewers noted, the subtitle of this book is a little misleading. The text is more focused on Asian-related blowback (DEF: the negative and unforeseeable consequences of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mike Morgenstein
Chalmers Johnson, like Andrew Bacevich, hits the proverbial nail on the head with their assessment of the actual cause and effect relationship between American militarism and the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I read this in 2000 right after it came out and have quoted it ever since. It may be polemical but at the same time Johnson lays out the "unintended consequences" of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by pugachev12
Everyone needs to read this. A real eye opener about how our Military works. Shocking actually. Johnson's writing style is very clear, systematic and easy to understand. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ginger M.
This is the new agers ,for lack of a better definition, Bible.If you are researching the New Age movement, this book/manual was written by a prominent leader in the New Age... Read morePublished 6 months ago by We shall see.
I should have read this years ago. Some of this stuff is just incredible. How do we get ourselves so intertwined in so many world issues and just expect everyone to accept that we... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Scott Rudd