Best Quotes by Greg Grandin

Is Donald Trump a fascist? It’s an interesting question that has generated insightful commentary over the past few months, with the best answers situating Trumpian illiberalism within America’s long history of racial oppression, slavery, Jim Crow apartheid, and the ongoing backlash to the loss of white privilege.

Greg Grandin

Harriet Washington, in ‘Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present,’ documents the smallpox experiments Thomas Jefferson performed on his Monticello slaves. In fact, much of what we now think of as public health emerged from the slave system.

Greg Grandin

Toughness’ and ‘credibility’ are leitmotifs that run through both Trumpian and Kissingerian deal-making. Both men insist that war and diplomacy are inseparable and that, to be effective, diplomats need to be able to wield threats and offer incentives in equal, unrestricted measure.

Greg Grandin

The argument that capitalism was dependent on slavery is, of course, not new. In 1944, Eric Williams, in ‘Capitalism and Slavery,’ made the case.

Greg Grandin

In 2012, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, acting through its ambassador, Mari Carmen Aponte, threatened to withhold critical development aid unless El Salvador passed a major privatization law.

Greg Grandin

If all Henry Kissinger contributed to the Middle East were a regional arms race, petrodollar addiction, Iranian radicalization, and the Tehran-Riyadh conflict, it would be bad enough. His legacy, however, is far worse than that: He has to answer for his role in the rise of political Islam.

Greg Grandin

The effect of Bill Clinton’s NAFTA and Hillary Clinton’s Colombian Free Trade Agreement has been devastating to Michigan and most of the rest of the country, and accounts for the appeal of Donald Trump.

Greg Grandin

Beyond institutional amnesia, a rejection of causal analysis is the existential rock on which American Exceptionalism sits. The United States unique sense of itself depends on an ambiguous relationship to the past. History is affirmed, since it is America’s unprecedented historical success that justifies the exceptionalism.

Greg Grandin

Within days of Richard Nixon’s inauguration in January 1969, national-security adviser Kissinger asked the Pentagon to lay out his bombing options in Indochina. The previous president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, had suspended his own bombing campaign against North Vietnam in hopes of negotiating a broader cease-fire.

Greg Grandin

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was an active promoter of increased resource extraction in Latin America, pushing both fracking and the privatization of petroleum production.

Greg Grandin

In Texas, the rangers were established on an ad hoc basis in the 1820s to protect the settlers making inroads into Spanish borderlands. Soon, Mexicans and Mexican Americans replaced Native Americans as the prime target of ranger repression.

Greg Grandin

Most critical histories of U.S. involvement in Iran rightly began with the joint British-U.S. coup against democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, which installed Pahlavi on the Peacock Throne. But it was Kissinger who, in 1972, greatly deepened the relationship between Washington and Tehran.

Greg Grandin

It wasn’t until 1973 that Congress and journalists began to investigate ‘Operation Menu,’ around the same moment that the Watergate scandal was unfolding.

Greg Grandin

Like Hillary Clinton in the United States, Kuczynski is a prototypical member of the trans-American governing class, with deep roots in both the private and public sector and its revolving-door relationship between Washington think tanks, the State Department, and high-level Latin American ministries.

Greg Grandin

Obama and Kuczynski each promised to do all they could to enact the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Greg Grandin

Ronald Reagan, who led the larger New Right project of re-sanctifying U.S. foreign policy after its Vietnam disaccreditation, felt compelled to drape his support for Central American death squads in the rhetoric of American exceptionalism.

Greg Grandin

If you search for Colombia on The Nation’s website, you will see how key the country has been in regional politics.

Greg Grandin

One of the things that has made America exceptional – compared to other crisis-prone and class-conflicted countries – is that it has long enjoyed a benefit no other modern nation in the world could claim: the ability to engage in ceaseless, endless movement outward.

Greg Grandin

According to some tallies, since 1776, the United States has been at war 93 percent of its existence, passing through a mere 21 years of peace.

Greg Grandin

America is exceptional, it is asserted, because, with the exception of the abolition of slavery, it has been able to extend the promise of liberal reform mostly peacefully, through its democratic institutions.

Greg Grandin

Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, heavy-handedly provoked South American governments on any number of issues, including a rush to endorse the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela, which only worked to steel resistance and build solidarity.

Greg Grandin

Honduras in 2009 and Paraguay in 2012 were low-hanging fruit, small countries with outsized oligarchies, where mild reformers were easily dispatched.

Greg Grandin

In Honduras, in particular, Hillary Clinton as Obama’s secretary of state was instrumental in legitimizing the coup’s subsequent death-squad regime.

Greg Grandin

Without U.S. input, the countries of South America joined forces in 2008 to shut down a coup attempt in Bolivia and prevented a war between Ecuador and Colombia.

Greg Grandin

In the 1960s, as a rising defense intellectual, Kissinger was a Nelson Rockefeller man, firmly entrenched in the center-right establishment. When he attended the infamous 1964 Republican convention in San Francisco, he was horrified by Goldwater supporters, whom he likened to fascists.

Greg Grandin

Kissinger’s unusually high body count and singular moral imperiousness has the effect, among his critics, of obscuring his didactic utility. An outsized personality who has committed outsized mayhem, Kissinger eclipses his own context. Yet, as animals were to the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, Kissinger is good to think with.

Greg Grandin

In the 1960s, as a rising defense intellectual, Kissinger was a Nelson Rockefeller man, firmly entrenched in the center-right establishment. When he attended the infamous 1964 Republican convention in San Francisco, he was horrified by Goldwater supporters, whom he likened to fascists.

Greg Grandin

Kissinger’s unusually high body count and singular moral imperiousness has the effect, among his critics, of obscuring his didactic utility. An outsized personality who has committed outsized mayhem, Kissinger eclipses his own context. Yet, as animals were to the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, Kissinger is good to think with.

Greg Grandin

Kissinger celebrants inevitably point to two things to justify their admiration: an opening to China – ‘rapprochement’ – and improved relations with the Soviet Union – detente – which included SALT, a historic arms-limitation treaty.

Greg Grandin

Endorsing Ronald Reagan in 1980, Kissinger threw in with America’s new militarists, who would jump-start a revived Cold War and drive to retake the Third World.

Greg Grandin

One of the first things the PT government did when it took office in 2003, after Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva won the presidency, was to create a ‘dirty list’ of hundreds of companies and individual employers who were investigated by labor prosecutors and found to be using slaves.

Greg Grandin

Brazil imported more enslaved Africans than any other American nation and was the last country in the hemisphere to abolish the institution, in 1888.

Greg Grandin

After Plan Colombia came the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. Hillary Clinton opposed the treaty when she was running against Barack Obama in 2008 but then supported it as secretary of state.

Greg Grandin

The idea that Hillary Clinton wants to do to Central America what her husband did to Colombia is troubling.

Greg Grandin

As she was about to run for president in 2008, Clinton opposed a free-trade agreement with Panama – an agreement that, as Sanders pointed out, would make the kind of money-laundering we learned about from the Panama papers even more pervasive.

Greg Grandin

In 1954, Guatemala’s deposed president, the democratically elected Jacobo Arbenz, was forced to strip down to his underwear and photographed before being allowed to leave the country.

Greg Grandin

According to Colombia’s respected Escuela Nacional Sindical, as of April 2015, 105 union activists had been executed in the four years since Clinton’s free-trade treaty went into effect. That’s just trade unionists.

Greg Grandin

Caceres was a vocal and brave indigenous leader, an opponent of the 2009 Honduran coup that Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, made possible.

Greg Grandin

Berta Caceres, a Lenca woman, grew up during the violence that swept through Central America in the 1980s. Her mother, a midwife and social activist, took in and cared for refugees from El Salvador, teaching her young children the value of standing up for disenfranchised people.

Greg Grandin

Such is the nature of the ‘unity government’ Clinton helped institutionalize. In her book, ‘Hard Choices,’ Clinton holds up her Honduran settlement as a proud example of her trademark clear-eyed, ‘pragmatic’ foreign policy approach. Berta Caceres gave her life to fight that government.

Greg Grandin

America’s militarized brand of malignant exceptionalism is founded on the idea that the United States transcends history.

Greg Grandin

The question of causality is complex. For some philosophers and physicists, time might not exist. And since cause-and-effect reasoning needs the concept of time – of one thing preceding another – the effort to establish causality is a mug’s game, an infinite regression of increasingly unanswerable questions.

Greg Grandin

Blowback,’ as many ‘Nation’ readers are aware, was a term introduced into popular circulation by the late political scientist Chalmers Johnson, an old Cold Warrior turned dissident.

Greg Grandin

Hillary Clinton’s progress as a public figure and politician can, in fact, be indexed perfectly by her relationship to Henry Kissinger.

Greg Grandin

As first lady, Hillary Clinton spent the early months of her husband’s administration drafting healthcare-reform legislation, only to see it put on the back burner by the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Greg Grandin

On April 14, 1986, when the Reagan administration launched an airstrike on Libya in clear violation of international law, Kissinger did the rounds on news shows to justify the bombing. The day after the bombing, Kissinger appeared on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ to voice his ‘total support.’ Attacking Libya, he said, was ‘correct’ and ‘necessary.’

Greg Grandin

In 2015, El Salvador suffered nearly 50,000 cases of dengue. Cuba had 1641 cases, no deaths, and one of the lowest incidence rates in the Americas.

Greg Grandin

Since 2010, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, with the aid of Brazil, France, and Canada and in league with the Clinton Foundation and other ‘philanthropists,’ put into place something like a never-ending coup, an everlasting intervention.

Greg Grandin

Migrants don’t come to the United States because, as Ambassador Aponte argued in her press conference, of ‘lies’ told by smugglers that, once here, you can’t get deported. They come because their countries have been destroyed by U.S. policy.

Greg Grandin

It is a job requirement of U.S. envoys to El Salvador to be skilled in the art of the threat. And Aponte, named ambassador in 2010, is a pro. In particular, she’s been tasked with making sure the former insurgent FMLN, which first won the presidency in 2009 and was reelected in 2014, reconciles itself to neoliberal reality.

Greg Grandin

The first mention of a ‘ranger’ is as early as 1622, during the 1622 Powhatan rebellion, a near-successful effort to drive the British out of what is now Virginia.

Greg Grandin

The removal of the British after the American Revolution opened the floodgates of paramilitary ranger power. For instance, in 1786, ranger units, including one that included Daniel Boone, attacked a number of friendly Shawnee towns along the Mad River.

Greg Grandin