Map of US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II
“We came, We saw, We destroyed, We forgot” by William Blum
An updated summary of the charming record of US foreign policy. Since the end of the Second World War, the United States of America has …
1. Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
2. Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
3. Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
4. Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
5. Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
In total: Since 1945, the United States has carried out one or more of the above actions, on one or more occasions, in the following 69 countries (more than one-third of the countries of the world):
- British Guiana (now Guyana)
- Congo (also as Zaire)
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- East Timor
- El Salvador
- Germany (plus East Germany)
- North Korea
- South Africa
- Soviet Union
- Vietnam (plus North Vietnam)
- Yemen (plus South Yemen)
The first democratically elected government the CIA overthrew was actually Iran’s in 1953 through Operation Ajax. Democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadiq and his National Front Party planned on nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now known as BP). To protect British interests, the CIA and MI6 overthrew Mossadiq, reinstalled the Shah, and set up a secret police known as SAVAK. Until the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Shah and SAVAK killed over 20,000 Iranians.
Can we do away with this absurd fiction that the American economy was somehow unmoored from its wholesome, fair equilibrium by a bunch of scheming elites? Look: the whole thing was a cheat anyways, ever since the end of WWII in Europe. Do you know why the American automotive sector was so immensely fat and wealthy in the first few decades of the postwar era? Because the competition didn’t exist. When competition finally came on line in the form of Japan, it turned out American manufacturers had been making shitty cars all along and getting away with it. AT&T had a government-sanctioned monopoly (one that stretched across almost an entire continent) on telephony, which it milked, partially for the benefit of its equally fat union by imposing absurdly high prices on consumers. Why do you think US industrial companies had such ready foreign markets in the aftermath of WWII (thus having lots of fat to deliver to their workers, and in the process solving the excess labour problem that had always existed in the US)? Is it because they made substantially better products? Not starting the period about a decade after the war. It’s because they had the benefit of having markets formerly in the British and French orbit (hello, Brazil) carved up for their benefit as part of WWII negotiations.
So on and so forth. The entire facade of postwar American middle-class prosperity is a bit of a scam, because it is based upon the premise of the U.S. fiddling around with the kind of rules everyone else had to follow (but it didn’t, at least not at that point). When the U.S. starts having to follow the same rules, as trade and other rules became fairer among nations, of course it is less able to deliver outsized gains to its constituencies.
The insularity of Americans thinking that the fat prosperity enjoyed at the expense of other nations (what do you think the post-war British standard of living was?) was somehow a state of nature and was somehow divinely deserved is just utterly flabbergasting. You guys had a good run. Now you don’t anymore. This is a change in fundamentals, not some insidious scheme.
My only significant quibble with this narrative is that there have always been parasitic ruling elites & scheming factionalism throughout history; prior to WWII was the gilded age & the robber barons & on & on it goes backward into time. Dynastic ambitions pushing nepotistic advantage, corruption & influence peddling driven by greed — everything old is new again, lol .…. ;)
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