Don't Know Much About History
Greg Grandin's book Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism is giving me a headache-- the Drug War stuff I read revealed the tip of another iceberg, American intervention and meddling in Latin America, and I never learned any of this stuff history class but I feel like I should know the basics; Grandin does lay out some simple cause and effect at the start of the book: "it was in Central America where the Republican Party first combined the three elements that give today's imperialism its moral force: punitive idealism, free-market absolutism, and right-wing Christian mobilization" but then things get complicated, for example "it was Carter, not Reagan who began to increase the military budget at the expense of social services" and it was Jimmy Carter who created the Rapid Deployment Force, to be used "pre-emptively" in trouble spots around the world (he supported the mujahideen six months before the Russians invaded Afghanistan) and it was Carter who vowed to protect the Persian Gulf region "by any means necessary" and, believe it or not, it was Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney who blindsided Henry Kissinger and his Realpolitik, and the two of them pushed for a "morality plank" in American diplomacy and a world political view based on "a belief in the rights of man, the rule of law, and guidance by the hand of God" instead of secrecy, coercion, and undue concessions . . . which makes the whole Abu Ghraib thing quite ironic.