Other Books

Because We Say So

Simmons, Dan - Finished Dec 10, 2016

Run-on Sentence Summary

The USA is seriously the worst.

Impressions

As the annoying foreword mentions, Noam Chomsky is maybe the most important “public intellectual” in the US today. He is the father of a lot of modern linguistics, and in his later years has gone on to become an outspoken critic of the USA’s geopolitics. This book, one of many, is a collection of strongly critical essays about the USA’s foreign policy.

Between this, traveling in Latin America, and Trump’s first weeks in office, it has becoming impossible to not feel down on the United States recently. The main threads of the book are about the US’s backwards global warming policies, our continued interventionism, and how dangerous and destabilizing Israel has been.

He shatters our self-concept as champions of human rights and democracy, and repeatedly cites a 2013 study that showed how worldwide, the USA is viewed as far and away the largest threat to world peace, far outdistancing runner-up Pakistan. If we perceive Russia as spooky and evil for invading the Ukraine, how does our invasion of Iraq make us look to the rest of the world?

Final Thoughts

I didn’t agree with all of what he was saying, such as his confusing support for Iran’s nuclear program. How could a shift in the balance of power be worth even more people having nuclear weapons? Still, it was impossible not to read this book and not be left with an over all much worse impression of my home.

Favorite Quote

The reason was provided by St. Augustine in his tale about the pirate asked by Alexander the Great, “How dare you molest the sea?” The pirate replied, “How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an Emperor.”