Red Pepper Magazine – Review of The Bush Agenda

By Jonathan Wright, Red Pepper Magazine
October 1st, 2006

The Bush Agenda is both an exhilarating and disturbing read, confirming every fear we might have about the effects of international capitalism on the world.

Antonia Juhasz’s detailed research and meticulous analysis unravel the fiscal and military instruments the Bush administration uses to control the world’s economic and political resources. She argues that under the guise of “free trade”- which expands the rights of multinational corporations through deregulation – and in the name of “economic growth”, the “bush agenda” is giving western conglomerates a free rein to tighten their stranglehold over the global economy. Advocates of free trade argue that it generates wealth that benefits society. Yet they overlook the impact it has on poorer nations, which continue to suffer under an indomitable competition that prices them out of the market.

The key to this form of American imperialism, Juhasz argues, is the way in which it uses both economic force and military might to achieve its goals. A key feature of “war against terror” rhetoric is the marriage between the struggle for democracy and free movement of trade. The Bush administration has welded these two ideas together to create the illusion that one cannot thrive without the other. According to what the author describes as “Pax Americana”, US-led “free trade” is represented as crucial to the stability of the world and a catalyst to democracy. It is not recognized as an instrument that benefits the Bush administration and the multinational conglomerates with which it is inextricably intertwined.

Juhasz suggests that this “free trade” model, far from promoting peace in the world, has created further instability. By marginalizing and exploiting non-western countries and plundering their resources, US foreign policy has bred violence and resentment towards America and its allies, which has acted as recruiting sergeant for terrorist organizations.

These arguments are not new. But what makes this book so fascinating is the way it illustrates the relationship between different facets of social, economic, and political life. The most appealing thing about this thesis is not just its readability, nor its striking insights, but its relevance to the interrelated campaigns against the WTO, globalization and multinational capitalism. This book explains why these instruments of US imperialism need to be fought.

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