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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3261/our-job-was-to-build-up-the-american-empire/

“Our Job Was to Build Up the American Empire”

March 3, 2005 by

On C-Span2′s Book TV this past Sunday, author John Perkins offered up a fascinating talk about his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Perkins, a former government loan shark, has spent twenty years contemplating this book, and has struck a goldmine with the timing of its release. I suspect he is a political moderate, though he occasionally let fly the usual liberal cliches.Perkins started off his session by saying, “This is an Empire.” “We are run by a corporatocracy,” he notes. He decided to write his book post-9/11, and his very surprising assessment of that scenario was correctly termed “blowback.” Chalmers Johnson would be proud.

As an economic hit man, his job was to force Third-World countries to take on massive debt for financing services and infrastructure construction that usually benefitted the businessmen and upper tier of poor societies, including dictators and their collective. These loans, often from the World Bank, couldn’t possibly be paid back. The US government went after poor nations rich in natural resources, and often took payment in the form of cheap oil or other resources. The usual, corporate suspects were allied with government in scam after scam: Halliburton, Bechtel, etc.

The word Perkins often mentioned in regards to The Empire’s oppression and piracy was “coercion.” Perkins does not mince words; he calls it as it is. He stated that the US Empire is not altruistic in regards to its Third-World relations. Rather, the US is lining the pockets of statist, corporate America, and cooperative Third-World dictators. The type of dictators the US would approach were indeed corrupt, or in the least, corruptable.

Perkins calls the US military a means of last resort. In other words, if you can’t get ‘em to join, take ‘em down. Had Saddam bought into the deals offered him by the US, said our author, Saddam would still be heading up Iraq, and we’d be sending him all the planes, tanks, and guns that he needed to build his Mideast Empire. So the US Empire sent in its “jackals” to do the dirty work. But they couldn’t get to Saddam. His bodyguards were far too loyal, and Saddam’s doubles caused quite a stir for the US government’s CIA lackeys. The result of Saddam not cooperating with the US was the first Iraq war.

Upon returning from the Amazon, recently, where he is working with a non-profit group, John Perkins had this to say: “The headhunters of the Amazon were very safe, unlike the bastards I served here.”

You can watch Perkins here. Buy the book here. Read an interview with Perkins here. This is a fascinating man, with an incredible book. Buy it, and be not disappointed.

The heroic Major General Smedley Butler once said: “I was a high class muscleman for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.”

No, he wasn’t a gangster for “capitalism”; he was a hired oppressor for the government-enabled corporatist State and its tyrannical lackeys.


Roger D. McKinney March 4, 2005 at 10:04 am

Ms. De Coster has been seriously misled by Perkins. I don’t know her age, but I suspect she is under 30, because an older person, such as myself (51), who has lived in the Middle East and kept abreast of events as they unfolded, will not recognize Perkins’ version of history. As with most conspiracy theorists, he relies heavily on his omniscience in assessing the motives of others, rather than sticking with the facts. Perkins’ theory is right up their with the theories that say the Illuminati\Jews\bankers\CFR\UFOs control the world, “Elvis is Alive!”, global warming and other nuts. All Perkins has to say, boiled down, is that Haliburton and Bechtel control the world; they’re omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Wait a minute! I’ve heard of Someone else with those attributes!

Karen De Coster March 4, 2005 at 4:37 pm

Mr. McKinney:

“I lived there and I am old, therefore I am right.” Amusing. Your personal insults are amusing, too, but of -0- value toward the discourse of this issue. You don’t know anything about me, or my knowledge therein. However, since I’d say you are terribly misled and wrong about the Perkins thesis, therefore, I guess we agree to agree that the other is misled and consequently wrong. In that case, misinformed, unknowable, personal trashing is best kept out of such disagreement. Lastly, I wonder how your silly, rhetorical guffaws are any better than that which you purport to criticize?

Vanmind March 5, 2005 at 4:09 pm

Maybe it’s time to get out the dueling pistols.

Harold Scott March 5, 2005 at 7:33 pm

I also watched the show.
my recollection is that he noted that in many cases neither the economic deal nor the “jackals” attack worked.

Matt March 5, 2005 at 11:26 pm

I am currently reading Perkin’s book; it is a gripping read. I highly recommend it. Basically, he just gives us page after page of examples of how the State is in the business of destabilizing other countries that may be a threat to American business interests (Texaco being a prime beneficiary of American foreign policy) and how the American government leverages her size and strength any way she can to help herself at the expense of others, going so far as funding revolutionaries, faking grassroots unrest, and importing paid rioters to create the impression of widespread dissent against an uncooperative government. It’s absolutely logical. I don’t see why there’s any controversy at all, except that the current political climate is extremely submissive and supportive of big government and big business and people want to idealize America as what she was 50 years ago. Of what I’ve read so far, Perkin’s experience matches what I would expect. Of course America wants to stay on top by any means necessary. Of course Texaco wants to control energy completely. Of course human suffering has no value compared to America’s financial and political ends. Of course America wants to coerce others into massive debt and end up with a controlling interest in their assets. Of course America (and everyone else) ties their aid to their own companies’ products. DUH.

What amazes me is that naive people don’t actually think this stuff happens, and they just buy into the cut-and-dried simpleton’s version of history that you get from Ann Coulter (facts optional, of course). But then again, I have a PoliSci degree from way back, so maybe I’ve just read more politics and economics than the average person, and maybe I’m just a tad more realistic than the average “you shuddup about my President, faggot!” flag-waving cretin.

In short (too late!), it makes logical sense that the status quo “powers that be” would want to cripple any foreign competition whenever they can. It’s not nice, but it’s the way it is. But any intelligent person can reason out in his own mind the possible threats of a massive unrestrained and amoral government bureaucracy coupled with lazy, greedy, corrupt, and anticompetitive companies who want to buy out (extort, destroy, or slander into bankruptcy) the competition in order to maintain higher prices and lower quality products and services. If you are interested in politics and partake of more than just the State-approved media outlets, you hear tales of this sort every once in a while; this book is special because specific well-known examples are rarely dissected and explained to us as true by someone very much on the “inside” for so many years.

Ike Hall March 6, 2005 at 3:04 pm

Mr. McKinney,

Perhaps you should review the historical role of the banking industry offered by Murray Rothbard before you lump them in with the “other nuts” you cite. There is too much evidence of the influence of these bankers on US monetary and foreign policy to blithely dismiss.

Aakash March 9, 2005 at 4:48 pm

This is slightly off-topic, but I see a link to a book on Amazon.com in this blog entry, which doesn’t seem to include the character code of anyone’s “Associates” account. Typically, when many websites and blogs link to items on Amazon.com, they do so using their “Associates” account link. Sorry for deviating from the direct topic of this entry, but I’ve been thinking about this matter recently, perhaps due to my monetary situation. :-)

Thanks, and please keep up the great work with all the Institute is doing.

P.M.Lawrence March 13, 2005 at 8:10 am

Well, if you want to test the hypothesis, just watch what is going on in the two countries of Sao Tome y Principe, and Equatorial Guinea. It looks as though the former has been turned to fit the US procrustean bed and will in turn be used to apply pressure to other countries with interests in the same as yet undeveloped seabed oilfields.

As I said, watch this space. There have been the right sort of dogs not barking in the night to raise my attention, ever since Mark Thatcher’s misfortunes in the area made me look at it (and in the years before I looked).

kbi March 12, 2006 at 2:18 pm

I would disregard Mr. McKinney’s comment. It suggests he hasn’t even looked at the book or watched either of Amy Goodman’s interviews.

Rowan Berkeley March 13, 2006 at 12:56 am

Personally I have rather suspected ever since Perkins first popped up on Amy Goodman’s show that he is a phoney, even though his story is basically an accurate reconstruction of how the CIA/corporation interface works in the so-called ‘developing world’. He is a bit too good to be true, and his carefully calculated confession that it was via his sexual needs that the system hooked him is just a little too perfect.

History is full of literary-political fabrications which accurately depict unprovable truths. I had better not name any, though.

Ryan Fuller March 13, 2006 at 2:48 am

I take issue with this claim: “The result of Saddam not cooperating with the US was the first Iraq war.”

Saddam invaded Kuwait. Everybody and their dog retaliated. Describing those events as the result of Saddam’s lack of cooperation with the US just doesn’t hold water.

We helped Saddam bleed Iran for us, and when that ended he had more Soviet military hardware than he knew what to do with. The Kuwaitis were right next door, with all those oil wells and accusations flying around about their drilling draining Iraqi fields, Saddam invaded.

I don’t know if the other allegations have merit, but saying that the United States started the first gulf war to punish Saddam is obviously untrue.

Paul Edwards March 13, 2006 at 10:15 am


“On July 25, 1990, eight days before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, a quiet, largely unreported meeting took place between Saddam Hussein and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie at the Presidential Palace in Baghdad,


“Saddam Hussein:
“If we could keep the whole of the Shatt al Arab – our strategic goal in our war with Iran – we will make concessions (to the Kuwaitis). But, if we are forced to choose between keeping half of the Shatt and the whole of Iraq (which, in Saddam’s view, includes Kuwait) then we will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. (pause) What is the United States’ opinion on this?”

(Pause, then Ambassador Glaspie speaks carefully)

U.S. Ambassador Glaspie:
“We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960′s that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.”

(Saddam smiles.)

… Later …

Journalist 2:
“You knew Saddam was going to invade (Kuwait), but you didn’t warn him not to. You didn’t tell him America would defend Kuwait. You told him the oppose – that America was not associated with Kuwait.”

Journalist 1:
“You encouraged this aggression – his invasion. What were you thinking?”

U.S. Ambassador Glaspie:
“Obviously, I didn’t think, and nobody else did, that the Iraqis were going to take ALL of Kuwait.”

Journalist 1:
“You thought he was just going to take SOME of it? But how COULD YOU?! Saddam told you that, if negotiations failed, he would give up his Iran (Shatt al Arab Waterway) goal for the “WHOLE of Iraq, in the shape we wish it to be.” You KNOW that includes Kuwait, which the Iraqis have always viewed as an historic part of their country!”

(Ambassador Glaspie says nothing, pushing past the two journalists to leave)

“America green-lighted the invasion. At a minimum, you admit signalling Saddam that some aggression was okay – that the U.S. would not oppose a grab of the al-Rumalya oil field, the disputed border strip and the Gulf Islands (including Bubiyan) – territories claimed by Iraq?”

(Again, Ambassador Glaspie says nothing as a limousine door closes behind her and the car drives off.)

The link to this can be found at


“the go ahead”
Saddam invaded Kuwait on the OK of US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie. But don’t count on the American MSM to make such a fact clear.

After all, the job of the American MSM is to issue state propaganda, distortions of the truth, and bald-faced lies.

BOB April 10, 2007 at 1:46 pm

The meeting with Saddam might be more relevent had the war was started because Iraq invaded Kuwait.

If you recall the war happend because Saddam refused to GET OUT of Kuwait. He had plenty of warning and opportunity to reverse his course before hostilities began.

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