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Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (2000)

by Chalmers Johnson

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8391721,432 (4)16
The term "blowback," invented by the CIA, refers to the unintended consequences of American actions abroad. In this incisive and controversial book, Chalmers Johnson lays out in vivid detail the dangers faced by our overextended empire and reveals the ways in which our misguided policies are planting the seeds of future disaster.… (more)
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» See also 16 mentions

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An alternative argument about why we're so hated around the world. Hint- it has nothing to do with our "freedoms". Informative. ( )
  btbell_lt | Aug 1, 2022 |
Johnson focuses mainly on East Asia: Japan, Korea, and China primarily. There is a bit of discussion of Indonesia and even Guatemala and Brazil. This book was published in 2000 but written in 1999, so clearly it doesn't discuss recent events. But recent events certainly fit into the overall picture that Johnson is drawing.

That the USA is something of a bully was not news to me. A lot of this book though goes into economics and the connection between economics and the projection of military power. We let e.g. Japan steal our basic industry in return for them letting us base troops there. Probably Johnson doesn't make it quite that simple, but also I think he doesn't dig very deep into why we do what we do. He does mention that this just the usual way for empires in decline, but doesn't really pursue that pattern very much. The focus is all on history, especially roughly 1989-1999: how after the Cold War ended, the USA kept up its military posture, with no real enemy in sight.

There is a lot of information here. It's not just a lot of speculative bluster. Crucial information for our world today. ( )
  kukulaj | Nov 22, 2018 |
I wouldn't actually say I "liked" this book -- but I thought it was worth reading for some of the information and to gain perspective on Johnson's viewpoint. ( )
  SMBrick | Feb 25, 2018 |
Chalmers Johnson always spoke what he saw as the truth, without regard to the consequences. He has done so here, and in the books which followed it. This book should still, almost two decades after publication, be required reading for anyone who has or aspires to any role in the making and shaping of U.S. policy. ( )
  nmele | Aug 31, 2017 |
HIGHLY recommend... The author wrote a series of, I think, 3 books on this. I recommend every one of them. Do yourself a favor and get smarter reading this book and the other 2 (and go read some Molly Ivins while you're at it) ( )
  marshapetry | Oct 14, 2016 |
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The term "blowback," invented by the CIA, refers to the unintended consequences of American actions abroad. In this incisive and controversial book, Chalmers Johnson lays out in vivid detail the dangers faced by our overextended empire and reveals the ways in which our misguided policies are planting the seeds of future disaster.

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