Though a slightly slimmer volume than some of its celebrated predecessors, The New Rulers of the World will surely be read no less avidly. Pilger is unique not just for his undimmed anger but also for the sharpness of his focus, the range of the targets he chooses and the meticulous precision with which he hits them – often with their own words. It’s also the vitality of the human stories he tells that makes his work so luminous and inspiring. He provides us with plenty of ammunition too. Looking for the sanctuaries of international terrorists? How about New York (Thiounn Prasith, Pol Pot’s henchman in Cambodia), Miami (Chilean military junta member Armando Fernandez Larios) or Hawaii (Argentine military junta member Jorge Enrico)? Pilger describes the al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan as ‘kindergartens compared with the world’s leading university of terrorism at Fort Benning in Georgia’.
There is a minor difficulty with the title – the ‘new’ rulers of the world turn out to be quite old. As Pilger points out, however, an entirely new danger is that the US Government’s military reach now far exceeds its economic grasp – which has passed to transnational corporations – making it predisposed to rely on armed force.
‘Who will put aside the chessboard,’ he asks, ‘and explain that only when great grievance, injustice and insecurity are lifted from nations will terrorism recede?’ Reading this book renders the question almost rhetorical.David Ransom
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