The economic hegemony of the United States during the latter half of the 20th century had never been disputed by any power. The Soviet Union was too weak economically in order to threaten the USA, although its military was extremely powerful (probably because of its large size and excellent technology). But how did the USA manage to spread its power all over the world?
Enter the Economic Hit Men (EHMs). These highly-paid professionals worked for some of the top corporations in every field – oil, construction, military-industrial complex, etc. They were the new face of imperialism – one based on an economic takeover of the sovereignty of the “Third-World” countries. From Saudi Arabia to Colombia to Indonesia, these countries were convinced by these experts to borrow large sums of money from the World Bank and other international institutions. These funds had to necessarily be used for large construction projects such electricity grids, airports, highways, dams and other infrastructure – most of which enriched the large businessman and the folks in power and impoverished the masses. As the country “developed”, an artificial divide was created between the rich and poor sections of the society.
The author confesses that he was one of the EHMs who helped ruin the masses in these countries while the elites in both the target country and the USA raked in millions of dollars. He explains how he doctored reports which exaggerated the growth rates of these countries in order to convince politicians to invest in infrastructure development projects. He describes his role in bribing Saudi officials using prostitution and other schemes and manufacturing their consent for his plans. Of course, no one denies the “development” in those countries. But it has come at a cost – the cost of the ordinary taxpayers of the country, the loss of traditional cultures and ways of life, enslavement of the people under debt – in other words, a total screw-up of the country. But of course, the elites don’t care about all that.
A few years after taking the loan, the country would find it impossible to repay its debt, even though the World Bank squeezes every single dollar possible from it. When the country finally reaches a point where it cannot pay further without risking a total collapse, the US government swoops in like a vulture and promises to waive away part of the debt as long as it does a few favors – allowing US companies unlimited access to the countries natural resources, voting for the USA in the United Nations, allowing the establishment of US military bases in the country, etc.
Perkins alone talks about how he did this in Indonesia, Panama, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and Iran. He gives an excellent insight into how the “American Raj” increased its colonial empire almost completely beneath the radar. Countries with important resources or located in strategic parts of the world were forced to take these loans. Any leader who resisted died under mysterious circumstances – Mossadegh of Iran, Torrijos of Panama and Roldos of Ecuador are cited as examples. The book explains how the Arabian Gulf countries are servile to American interests despite their populations’ growing anti-Americanism. It also gives a very good picture of the scenario in Iran just before the 1979 Revolution that brought the Ayatollah to power.
As the USA’s bad boy reputation increases all over the world, most Americans don’t understand the reasons for it and think it’s because other countries resent the “freedoms” that they enjoy. But it is actually because the USA has meddled in the internal affairs of most countries in the world in the past, and still continues to do so. It is time people realized the enormous amount of harm the USA has caused to the people of this world in the name of freedom and equality – two concepts it’s the sworn enemy of. “The Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” is an excellent book which forces us to rethink the way the USA achieved its current dominance over other countries and how it continues to wield tremendous amount of power in large parts of the world.