Saturday, November 27, 2010

The World Grows a Little Darker

I just found out today an author and critic of American foreign policy whom I greatly admire, Chalmer's Johnson, passed away last week. There aren't many people out there in the world who I have enough admiration for to call a hero of mine, but Johnson was one of them. This is a terrible shame.

Johnson authored three books which made up the "Blowback" trilogy, which sought to examine the United States continues imperial ambitions even in the wake of the collapse of the former USSR. Chalmer's had fully expected the United States to significantly, if not totally, disarm afterwards, but what he saw the US do instead (look for a replacement threat which it quickly found in Saddam Hussein and now Islamic Terrorism), astonished him and forced him to re-examine his views on the United States position of authority on the world stage. From that sprung Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic

In summarizing Blowback, Chalmers said:
"In Blowback, I set out to explain why we are hated around the world. The concept "blowback" does not just mean retaliation for things our government has done to and in foreign countries. It refers to retaliation for the numerous illegal operations we have carried out abroad that were kept totally secret from the American public. This means that when the retaliation comes as it did so spectacularly on September 11, 2001 -- the American public is unable to put the events in context. So they tend to support acts intended to lash out against the perpetrators, thereby most commonly preparing the ground for yet another cycle of blowback. In the first book in this trilogy, I tried to provide some of the historical background for understanding the dilemmas we as a nation confront today, although I focused more on Asia -- the area of my academic training -- than on the Middle East."

For anyone who is looking to put the last decade of American foreign policy into perspective, read Noam Chomsky, read Jeremy Scahill, and most definitely read Chalmers Johnson.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Josh. Wow. We get right to it now! Noam Chomsky is a friend of mine. I've talked to him on the phone several times after we developed an active email exchange.

    It is so troublesome to me to realize how in the dark people in our country are about the brutishness of what we Americans have really been up to around the world. I wish people would read. It isn't like there is a shortage of information if someone is truly interested. So then it comes down to that people really don't want to know. They don't want to learn that we are the terrorists and that we are criminals when it comes to cultures and people.

    Thank you brother. Thank you for caring. And thank you for standing in the wilderness and proclaiming the truth, even though most of the time it feels like no one is there to hear.