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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Parenti Pulls the Mask off the Face of Imperialism, May 25, 2011
This review is from: The Face of Imperialism (Paperback)
Michael Parenti does it again. He takes a complex and vital subject and presents it to us with clarity and insight. He writes clearly and engagingly. He shows how U.S. foreign policy is neither inept nor confused. U.S. imperial policy is consistent and successful in serving the interests of the rich and powerful, in keeping the world safe for the transnational corporations, in making sure that most of the world remains weak, poor, compliant, so that the plutocracy remains strong, rich, and dominant.

Parenti always goes that extra step. He doesn't backpedal or say less than he sees. He doesn't worry about keeping close to the "respectable opinions" handed out by the media and the White House.

After reading this book, we come away knowing much more about the world and much more about what the U.S. empire really is doing to us and everyone else. We come to understand why U.S. leaders (be they Democrats or Republicans) support certain kinds of dictators and "democracies" while opposing other kinds. I find this book very handy in helping me understand what is happening in the Arab world.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America's Imperialism exposed, May 20, 2011
This review is from: The Face of Imperialism (Paperback)
An easy read yet typical of Dr. Parenti's writing full of important facts, the Face of Imperialism is a brilliant exegesis of America's imperialistic policies vis a vis many countries around the world, including Cuba, Venezuela, Libya, and other important sites. In his usual tempered and carefully crafted style, including a bit of his usual dry wit, he helps the reader to understand many current issues which are not usually noticed in mainstream media, or if they are , with very little instructive or deep analysis. Extremely important to any student of international affairs or even just those who are curious about seemingly "inexplicable" responses of so many countries to US policy. Most importantly, Dr. Parenti offers the facts that are so desperately missing in most political writing and even in books--uncovering a wealth of information that helps the reader understand better the foreign policy of this unprecedented imperialistic power in the history of the world. Brief but a powerhouse of information.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We are all affected by Imperialism. This book will help you understand how., June 6, 2011
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This review is from: The Face of Imperialism (Paperback)
This book is another wonderful exercise in rational thinking by Michael Parenti. The Imperialism he writes about is NOT the old fashioned type, where a country is conquered and plundered, then becomes a satellite of the conquering nation. This is the Imperialism that governments practice by supporting immoral regimes that favor the business interests of their country, be it oil. bananas, or automobiles. Our country's business interests become more important than our ideals. America (and other countries) have supported dictatorships and murderous regimes that are friendly to businesses and investors. Many of us have been distraught by our governments past immoral choices. (Pinochet, anybody?)

Mr. Parenti does extensive research and writes clearly and incisively. You may occasionally disagree with him, but his writing will open your mind to seeing the issues in a fresh way. We all need to question our long held beliefs, and Mr. Parenti is excellent at making us delve into and question them.

This book is a fast and insightful read for all of you who are interested in the political and the moral ramifications of our government's interaction with countries of our world.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another incisive and informational book from Parenti, July 26, 2011
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This review is from: The Face of Imperialism (Paperback)
The book is very incisive and covers some of the issues of American foreign policy, especially those that the media rarely covers. If you have read a lot of Parenti before this it may be a little repetitive but it provides updates and speaks to the fact that Obama's foreign and domestic policy has been a whole lot of more of the same. If you have not read any Parenti, this is a quick read and a good start, although Contrary Notions is probably more thorough.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant study of present-day imperialism, November 7, 2011
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Face of Imperialism (Paperback)
This splendid book is a well-informed and well-written study of imperialism today.

Empires, like wars, are not made by accident. They are built on the denial of the democratic right of nations to self-determination. They are imposed and maintained by force and fraud, through a variety of economic, political, military and cultural institutions and arrangements.

Parenti points out empires depend on the countries they run: the poor countries in the world are not so much under-developed as over-exploited.

He notes an October 1970 cable to CIA operatives in Chile from Kissinger's `Track Two' group (released more than 30 years later) said, "It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup ... We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG [United States Government] and American hand be well hidden." This combination of violence and denial is all too typical of imperial behaviour and is a pattern repeated today.

The US state regularly denounces Cuba as a dictatorship, but Parenti observes that Fidel Castro promised to open Cuba's press to counter-revolutionaries when the US state allowed American communists regular exposure in the USA's major media.

And even the US Interests Section had to admit that Cuba's `human rights groups' "lack demonstrable evidence of persecution ... Almost none show proof of house searches, interrogations, detention, or arrest."
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves Rapid and Wide Dissemination, November 22, 2011
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This review is from: The Face of Imperialism (Paperback)
I will be brief. At this point, there are five other five-star reviews with which I entirely agree. I only wish to add that this is a book that, for its concision and accuracy regarding matters of vital importance to citizens of the world, deserves to be translated into as many languages, and to be disseminated and read, by as many as possible as soon as possible. The American empire has become a juggernaut of planetary coercion and brutality. If it is ever to be contained, people must be able first and foremost to see and think their way through the torrents, the walls, of American propaganda and mythology, and this book cuts away the mortar of those walls. Buy several copies and give them as gifts.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the real face of imperialism, December 23, 2012
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Face of Imperialism (Paperback)
In his comments on Rudyard Kipling's writings, George Orwell's notes perspicaciously that the defender of the British Empire didn't understand it, simply because he didn't see that `an empire is primarily a money-making concern'. Of course, Michael Parenti doesn't make the same crucial mistake in this pamphlet.

Imperialism
For Michael Parenti, imperialism is not only a question of power and dominance, but, more importantly, of real material interests, and, more precisely, of transnational investments and capital accumulation. It is a process whereby the dominant investment interests (capitalists) of one country use their political, military, economic and financial clout to grab land, the labor of the population, capital, natural resources, commerce and markets of less powerful countries.
Imperialism knows only two types of nations: satellites (vassals) and enemies.

Free trade, globalization, the media
Major means to secure and extend imperial dominant interests are free trade and globalization. Free trade is devised to leave the world's economic and environmental fate to the mercy of bankers and transnational corporations. Globalization, which promotes free trade, is a logical emanation of imperialism. It is a victory of the imperial international financial and commercial interests on local producers and merchants. Free trade and globalization constitute also a direct attack on the democratic sovereignty of independent nations and their right to social wage settings. For Michael Parenti, free trade agreements (NAFTA, WTO) are nothing less than a global hold-up committed by large transnational companies.
Another important issue is the reporting by the `mass' media. They give the impression that the political, social, economic and financial national and international institutions serve the masses, when in reality they serve the elite.

His own country
Michael Parenti criticizes severely the leaders of his own country. They are milking the entire population as a cash cow for the national budget, of which the lion's share goes to defense expenditures, for, in particular, waging wars, securing transnational economic dominance and keeping worldwide authoritarian regimes in the saddle.

This hard-hitting book is a must read for all those who want to understand the world we live in.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight talk, December 20, 2012
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This review is from: The Face of Imperialism (Paperback)
Parenti presents the radical critique of capitalism and American foreign policy in accessible prose. The outlines of the left's arguments are presented with sufficient supporting evidence to suggest the validity of the case. Moreover, Parenti offers some real insight. In particular, I found useful his comment that the stakes in regard to globalization are not national sovereignty but democratic sovereignty. His formulation clears away a lot of obfuscating debate over the viability of the nation-state in the face of globalization. It turns out not to matter that much, in light of the wider concerns with the brutal conditions needed to sustain capital accumulation in today's world.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Face of Imperialism, by Michael Parenti. Boulder: Paradigm, 2011. 160 pages. Reviewed by Lennon Stravato., October 1, 2012
This review is from: The Face of Imperialism (Paperback)
The most recent of Michael Parenti's twenty-three books, The Face of Imperialism offers the radical thinker's sharpest critique yet of both U.S. foreign policy and its liberal critics. Parenti argues that the factor exerting the greatest influence on policy direction is precisely that which liberals most consistently fail to recognize - economic interests. Characterizing imperialism as the coercive use of economic, political, and military power to expropriate other nations' "land, labor, capital, natural resources, commerce, and markets," he submits it is the American empire's raison d'etre (7).

With copious references to mainstream literature, Parenti notes that when policy differs widely from purported ideals, liberal critics are quick to decry leaders as "bungling," "confused," and "incompetent." Preferring instead to challenge the capacity of the critics and the forthrightness of the decision makers, he declares "those who see the U.S. imperium as chronically befuddled are themselves revealing their own befuddlement" and "the fact that officials offer misleading rationales is no reason to conclude that they are themselves misled. It may be that they have other motives that they prefer not to enunciate" (44, 39).

Suggesting that the decisive factor in the selection of allies and foes is the respective actors' position on free market policies like trade liberalization, privatization and deregulation, he argues "patterns of intervention" reveal little correlation between democratic ideals and the role the US plays in the affairs of other nations (25). "When forced to choose between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, the empire-builders unhesitatingly embrace the latter" (100).

Just as pointed in his discussion of economic relations, he addresses foreign aid and loan conditionalities, describing their use as a form of economic warfare designed to suppress emerging markets and perpetuate the poverty of the global south, which he defines as "not underdeveloped but overexploited" (51). Deriding a host of prominent thinkers as "confused Marxists" unable to grapple with the challenges brought by globalization, he suggests imperialism has moved into a new phase of transnational corporate control, partially outside of the nation-state paradigm. Globalization amounts to "an international coup d'état by big capital over the peoples of the world" subverting democracy and national autonomy, while ushering "in a new stage of international expropriation" (70-72).

In closing he brings the message back home to the United States, arguing that while the empire may continue to grow, it does so at the expense of the American way of life. America, for Parenti, is ultimately just another casualty of the "empire-builders." Discussing cutbacks in social programs, decaying infrastructure, declining wages, massive unemployment, and the rise of municipalities facing bankruptcy, he explains ours is "a republic in decline" (127).

This audacious, unfiltered work is probably intended to shock and will likely offend many readers. Although Parenti acknowledges that policy-makers are often genuine believers in the merits of free-market reforms and he is careful not to romanticize those who have found themselves on the wrong side of U.S. military, economic and diplomatic might, many will nonetheless argue his position is simplistic and his focus is too narrow.

In actuality he marshals an impressive amount of evidence for a book of this size. Sometimes in doing so he has relied too heavily on footnotes, including many that reference his own earlier works. In that regard though still extremely useful as a stand-alone text, it may function better as a companion to Parenti's full body of literature.

It is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in U.S. interventions, trade relations, foreign aid and loan conditionalities. Those tiring of prevailing liberal critiques that fail to adequately account for the role of economic and class interests in policy-making, will find it a breath of fresh air. Ideological positions aside, given the current U.S. economic and political climate, Parenti's influence is likely to grow.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Connects the Dots, May 18, 2012
By 
Douglas Doepke (Claremont CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Face of Imperialism (Paperback)
Parenti presents the reader with a strong dose of reality. It's the kind that our communications industry works overtime to keep from seeping out. Theirs is not always an easy task, dressing up imperialism abroad as a "free world" and big money rule here as "democratic self government". As it turns out, every once in a while the truth gets too big to hide. Take, for example, the debacle in Vietnam or the ongoing economic collapse here at home.

In clear, concise language, Parenti covers the contours of how American imperialism has operated since WWII. The book's ten chapters connect the dots for those folks waking up to the realities. Here are several of the book's points to ponder-- power is not craved for power's sake, but for the access to resources it pries open; foreign policy is often not as misguided or stupid as it appears ; international capitalism isn't the only explanatory factor, but it is the most crucial one.

This brief work also serves as an excellent primer on how the US has expanded its empire over the last sixty years. The problem is that the realities of imperialism are becoming too big for the media industry to hide. Now they're coming home in the form of a national security state, an inviolable Pentagon budget, and rampant PTSD. Fortunately, Parenti's gaze remains unblinking.
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The Face of Imperialism
The Face of Imperialism by Michael Parenti (Paperback - April 30, 2011)
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