The recent terror attack in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood highlighted the concern many Americans have about fellow citizens of the Islamic faith that have originated in or spent considerable time in the Middle East. The oft-asked question is usually “why do they hate us?”. Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, are only a few out of many nations in which the United States has involved itself in the nation’s politics. To many Americans, the dislike and/or intense hatred of America displayed from the region boggles the mind and is utterly incomprehensible. But if we take a closer look at things from another point of view, we come to see there is more than meets the eye as author William Blum points out in this book that is guaranteed to make you question everything you thought you knew about American foreign policy.
From the start, this book will be hard for many Americans to accept. Blum pulls no punches but instead goes full steam ahead, methodically showing how U.S. foreign policy has destabilized nations resulting in the removal of dozens of foreign leaders and political turmoil which continues to haunt many of those nations to this day. David Talbot, author of ‘The Devil’s Chessboard‘, revealed the dark rise of the CIA and its actions which influenced American foreign policy following World War II. Similar to Talbot, Blum brings to light many dark secrets that the average American would rather not know. Almost all of us born in America were raised to believe that the United States is the leader when it comes to democracy, justice, liberty and freedom for all. Throughout the years, we have enforced our system of government around the world, or as Blum puts it, exporting democracy. But a critical question arises. In the nations to which we exported democracy, was it needed or asked for? As Blum shows us, U.S. foreign policy dictated that it was. But in many countries nations, it wasn’t needed and as a result, millions of people around the world have suffered at the hands of U.S. foreign policy. Air raids, propaganda and economic penalties are just some of the methods used against those nations which do not comply with the agenda of the U.S. From Mossadegh in Iran in 1954 to the current war on terror, many important facts have been hidden from the American public, allowing us to believe that all actions carried out in the name of freedom have been in the best interests of the people of the United States. On a regular basis, the media shows us a purported new “threat” from a number of foreign nations. But as Blum asks us, “who is really going to attack the US?”.
Some will read this book and believe that Blum is unpatriotic, cynical and even treasonous. But I believe that thoughts of that nature are severely misguided. Contrary to what many may think, it is possible to be patriotic but still question and even expose the wrongdoings by our own government. And as Jesse “The Body’ Ventura recently said in a video regarding Colin Kaepernick, the government has to earn patriotism. In the eyes of many around the world, we are seen as the big brother that exerts his influence wherever he goes. But our most tragic mistake is to believe that everyone desires to live as we do. No government is perfect and every country has its regrettable moments. But is the duty of every American to acknowledge when our country is wrong and/or misguided and see things from the eyes of those who we persecute either intentionally or inadvertently. I’ve always felt that people who are the most critical of this nation are also some of the most patriotic. It is their belief in the good of the nation that forces them to confront its shortcomings. People such as William Blum are doing their part to show other Americans what has been occurring right under our noses. You don’t have to agree with everything he says, but if you open your mind and digest what he’s written, you may find that you have a new understanding of the pitfalls of a misguided foreign policy and why it brings shame on the United States of America.