I continue to read through Chalmers Johnson’s excellent book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. As many of you may know, this book was widely read during the 2008 campaign thanks to the influence of Dr. Ron Paul. The book is a thorough assessment of America’s military involvement in different parts of the world and as a major contributor to many of its own woes. Namely, a blowback. The only thing that has changed since the writing of the book is that instead of Japan being the second largest economy in the world (84), China has now assumed the privileged spot. Beyond that, all remains the same. The US, who accounts for 80 percent of the world’s total military spending (86) continues to be the leading arms supplier in the world. In 1995, the United States was “the source of 49 percent of global arms exports. It shipped arms of various types to some 140 countries, 90 percent of which were either not democracies or were human rights abusers (88).” This latter fact is merely one of many, which prove the theory of Blowback. As Johnson observes:
Arms sales are, in short, a major cause of developing blowback world whose price we have yet to begin to pay (89).
Saddam Hussein’s case is perhaps one of the more famous examples of this. In the 1980’s he was an outstanding customer with an almost “limitless line of credit because of his country’s oil reserves (89).” Many, like former CIA director James Woolsey, were aware of the potential consequences of this selling game, yet these voices are quickly silenced.