U.S. Foreign Policy

Includes information on the June 2019 SRRT program with Phyllis Bennis on U.S. foreign policy and on the June 2019 program with Stephen Kinzer on “Interfering with Other People’s Elections;” reading lists of titles on U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East suggested by Phyllis Bennis and on U.S. interventions abroad suggested by Stephen Kinzer; and links to SRRT resolutions on U.S. foreign policy.

SRRT’s 50th Anniversary Keynote Speech by Phyllis Bennis

Phyllis Bennis’ Reading List (Sections on Palestine/Israel, Broader Middle East, and Internationalism and U.S. Foreign Policy More Broadly)

IRTF Program with Stephen Kinzer

Stephen Kinzer’s Reading List

Other Relevant Books by Stephen Kinzer

Other Programs

SRRT Resolutions

Citations to Our Webpages

SRRT’s 50th Anniversary Keynote Speaker

Phyllis Bennis
Phyllis Bennis
Photo source: Lannan

Phyllis Bennis spoke at SRRT's 50th Anniversary Party at Busboys & Poets in Washington, DC., 2019.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. She focuses on the Middle East, U.S. wars, and United Nations issues. She is also a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. Her writing appears regularly in The Nation magazine and other independent periodicals. Among her latest books is Understanding ISIS & the New Global War on Terror: A Primer.

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U.S. Foreign Policy, Phyllis Bennis’s Reading List especially on the Middle East

Palestine/Israel

Barghouti, Omar. BDS: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights. Chicago, Ill.: Haymarket Books, 2011.
Thirty years ago, an international movement utilizing boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) tactics rose in solidarity with those suffering under the apartheid regime of South Africa. The historic acts of BDS activists isolated South Africa as a pariah state and heralded the end of apartheid. Now, as awareness of the apartheid nature of the State of Israel continues to grow, Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, presents a renewed call to action. [From publisher description]

Bennis, Phyllis. Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer. Revised and updated seventh ed. Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press, an imprint of Interlink Publishing Group, 2019.
Bennis answers basic questions about Israel and Israelis, Palestine and Palestinians, the US and the Middle East, Zionism and anti-Semitism; about complex issues ranging from the Oslo peace process to the election of Hamas to the Goldstone Report and Trump's move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Together her answers provide a comprehensive understanding of the longstanding Palestinian-Israeli conflict. [From publisher description]

Boullata, Kamal, and Kathy Engel. We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon. Northampton, Mass.: Interlink, 2008.
We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine and Lebanon contains poems written in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon together with new ones rising from the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon. Following a great tradition of poetry throughout history, this book shows the vast conscience and lyrical spirit of resistance on the part of poets in support of the dignity, rights, and humanity of the Palestinian and Lebanese people. We Begin Here is an affirmation of the human and poetic spirit, reminding us that poetry and struggle always “begin here,” always leading us back to ourselves, to each other, in community, seeking truth and beauty across all borders. [From Al-Awda: The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition]

Corrie, Rachel. Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009.
Documents the story of a twenty-three-year-old American activist who was killed in 2003 in the Gaza Strip, in an account based on her personal writings that offers insight into the origins of her beliefs. [From WorldCat]

Erakat, Noura. Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2019.
Justice in the question of Palestine is often framed as a question of law. Yet none of the Israel-Palestinian conflict's most vexing challenges have been resolved by judicial intervention. Occupation law has failed to stem Israel's settlement enterprise. Laws of war have permitted killing and destruction during Israel's military offensives in the Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accord's two-state solution is now dead letter. Justice for Some offers a new approach to understanding the Palestinian struggle for freedom, told through the power and control of international law. Focusing on key junctures--from the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to present-day wars in Gaza--Noura Erakat shows how the strategic deployment of law has shaped current conditions. Over the past century, the law has done more to advance Israel's interests than the Palestinians’. But, Erakat argues, this outcome was never inevitable. Law is politics, and its meaning and application depend on the political intervention of states and people alike. Within the law, change is possible. International law can serve the cause of freedom when it is mobilized in support of a political movement. Presenting the promise and risk of international law, Justice for Some calls for renewed action and attention to the Question of Palestine. [From WorldCat, provided by publisher.]

Falk, Richard. Palestine: The Legitimacy of Hope. Charlottesville, Virginia: Just World Books, 2014.
The distinguished legal scholar Richard Falk recently completed his term as UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine. Now, with Palestine: The Legitimacy of Hope, he powerfully illuminates the transformation of the Palestinians’ struggle over recent years into a struggle for legitimacy, similar to that pursued by all the anti-colonial movements of the twentieth century. This shift, he writes in the Introduction, “is… reinforced by disillusionment with both Palestinian armed resistance and conventional international diplomacy, most recently dramatized by the collapse of direct negotiations on April 29, 2014… Such disillusionment also coincides with the spreading awareness that the so-called ‘two-state consensus’ has reached a dead end. [From Publisher website]

Jewish Voice for Peace. On Anti-Semitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017.
In this collection of essays curated by Jewish Voice for Peace, a broad range of activists, movement theorists, and public figures grapple with these critical questions about contemporary antisemitism. It provides an essential tool for Palestinian solidarity activists, educators, and Jewish communities. Featuring contributions from Omar Barghouti, Judith Butler, and Rebecca Vilkomerson, as well as other activists, scholars, students, and cultural workers, On Antisemitism includes the voices of those who are often marginalized in mainstream discussions of antisemitism. [From book’s website]

Said, Edward W, Moustafa Bayoumi, and Andrew Rubin. The Selected Works of Edward Said, 1966-2006: Originally Published in Shorter Form as the Edward Said Reader. Second Vintage Books ed. New York: Vintage Books, 2019.
The Selected Works includes key sections from all of Said’s books, including his groundbreaking Orientalism; his memoir, Out of Place; and his last book, On Late Style. Whether writing of Zionism or Palestinian self-determination, Jane Austen or Yeats, or of music or the media, Said’s uncompromising intelligence casts urgent light on every subject he undertakes. The Selected Works is a joy for the general reader and an indispensable resource for scholars in the many fields that his work has influenced and transformed. [From Penguin Random House website]

Suárez, Thomas. State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel. Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press, 2017.
This new book shows how the use of terror by supporters of the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine was systematic, routine, and accepted by Jewish leaders as necessary to achieve their aims. At the height of the British Mandate in Palestine, terrorist acts were carried out at a frequency and with an intensity that has been largely forgotten, even though daily newspaper headlines in the US, Britain, and Palestine spoke of bombings, assassinations, and massacres against Arabs and British civilians, as well as soldiers. Suarez tells this story using the terrorists’ own accounts in secret internal papers boasting of their successes, and quoting from contemporary intelligence briefings and secret diplomatic correspondence. [From WorldCat]

Broader Middle East (Iraq war, ISIS, Syria, Afghanistan...)

Bennis, Phyllis. Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy U.S. Power. Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press, 2006.
The author traces the U.S. policies in regard to the Iraq War, and examines the challenges in reclaiming the UN as part of the global peace movement. [From WorldCat]

Bennis, Phyllis. Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror: A Primer. First American ed. Understanding Global Issues. Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press, 2015.
Clear explanations of recent events in the new global War on Terror. The US is back at war. A new version of what was once known as George W. Bush's global war on terror has become the central component of American foreign policy. The US/NATO assault on Libya in 2011, thousands of troops on the ground in Iraq, plans to keep combat troops in Afghanistan, drone wars rising in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere and now new air wars are underway against ISIS and others in Iraq, Syria and perhaps beyond. In this newest addition to Interlinks wide-ranging Understanding Global Issues series, Phyllis Bennis asks and answers the basic questions facing so many Americans: What is ISIS? Why are they so violent? Should Obama have kept troops in Iraq? Is ISIS the same as al-Qaeda? Can you really go to war against terror? How should the US respond to ISIS violence? What dangers lie ahead? Without jargon, in an easy-to-use Frequently Asked Questions format, Bennis sorts through the hype to get to the root of this newest edition of the continuing global war on terror. [From WorldCat]

Falk, Richard A. Humanitarian Intervention and Legitimacy Wars: Seeking Peace and Justice in the 21st Century. Global Horizons, 14. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2015.
In the aftermath of the Cold War there has been a dramatic shift in thinking about the maintenance of peace and security on a global level. This shift is away from a preoccupation with how to prevent major wars between sovereign states to a preoccupation about non-state transnational warfare and violence and strife within states in a world order that continues to be juridically and politically delimited by spatial ideas of national sovereignty and national independence as signified by international boundaries. In this book, Richard Falk draws upon these changes to examine the ethics and politics of humanitarian intervention in the 21st Century. As well as analysing the theoretical and conceptual basis of the responsibility to protect, the book also contains a number of case studies looking at Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Syria. The final section explores when humanitarian intervention can succeed and the changing nature of international political legitimacy in countries such as India, Tibet, South Africa and Palestine. This book will be of interest to students of International Relations theory, Peace Studies and Global Politics. [Provided by publisher]

Internationalism and U.S. Foreign Policy More Broadly

Ahmad, Eqbal, Carollee Bengelsdorf, Margaret Cerullo, and Yogesh Chandrani. The Selected Writings of Eqbal Ahmad. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.
This work is the first to collect Ahmad's writings in a single volume. It reflects his distinct understanding of world politics as well as his profound sense of empathy for those living in poverty and oppression. He was a fierce opponent of imperialism and corruption and advocated democratic transformations in postcolonial and third-world societies. A uniquely perceptive critic of colonialism and U.S. foreign policy, Ahmad was equally vigilant in his criticisms of third-world dictatorships. [From publisher’s website]

Bennis, Phyllis. Before & After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the War on Terrorism. New York: Olive Branch Press, 2003.
Noted Middle East authority Bennis explains the history and consequences of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Deeply critical of American foreign policy in general and the Bush administration in particular, Bennis (Institute for Policy Studies) surveys the impact of U.S. militarism and neocolonialism on the Middle East and explains the origins and motivations of current pushes towards war. Much of her attention is spent on the numerous countries that impact and are impacted by the “War on Terrorism,” leading to a more sophisticated analysis than works that simply view current events through the lens of a so-called “clash of civilizations.” She suggests that current policies will create a singularly more dangerous world and calls upon Americans to push for an end to policies of empire. [From WorldCat]

Bennis, Phyllis. Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today's UN. Rev. & updated ed. New York: Olive Branch Press, 2000.
The United Nations remains a favorite scapegoat for U.S. and allied failures in places like Rwanda, Iraq, Kosovo, and East Timor. Few look beyond the headlines to the primary responsibility of the United States for what are all too often called “UN failures.” Filled with tales of UN intrigue and diplomatic carrots and sticks, Calling the Shots exposes how U.S. financial and political bribes are backed by threats and punishments for recalcitrant nations who refuse to toe the U.S. line. The new edition examines U.S.-UN relations at the close of the 20th century: now $1.6 billion in debt to the UN, Washington increasingly undermines or even ignores the world organization, seeking to replace the UN’s authority with that of favored military alliances such as NATO. [From Transnational Institute website]

Klein, Naomi. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. 1st ed. New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2007.
Journalist Klein introduced the term “disaster capitalism.” Whether covering Baghdad after the U.S. occupation, Sri Lanka after the tsunami, or New Orleans post-Katrina, she witnessed remarkably similar events: people still reeling were hit again, this time with economic “shock treatment,” losing their land and homes to corporate makeovers. This book retells the story of Milton Friedman’s free-market economic revolution. In contrast to the myth of this movement's peaceful global victory, Klein shows how it has exploited moments of shock and extreme violence in order to implement its economic policies. At its core is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization combined with the privatization of the disaster response itself. Klein argues that by capitalizing on crises, created by nature or war, the disaster capitalism complex now exists as a booming new economy, the violent culmination of a radical economic project that has been incubating for fifty years. [From publisher description]

Prashad, Vijay. The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World. A New Press People's History. New York: New Press, 2007.
The Darker Nations reconstructs the prehistory of the Third World, recalling the now-forgotten 1927 Brussels conclave of the League Against Imperialism, an international effort that brought Albert Einstein together with Jawaharlal Nehru, Madame Sun Yat-Sen, and hundreds of other far-flung revolutionaries. The narrative then goes on to recount the 1955 conference in Bandung, Indonesia, where twenty-nine African and Asian countries launched the Third World project. Prashad traces the hopes of this decades-long global movement, and delineates its limitations and ultimate downfall in the 1980s. [From jacket]

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IRTF Program, 2019

“Subverting Other People’s Elections: History and Resources”
With Stephen Kinzer

The SRRT Chair’s Program for 2019, organized by the International Responsibilities Task Force, was “Subverting Other People’s Elections: History and Resources” featuring noted journalist, author, and scholar Stephen Kinzer. Interference by the Russian government in the 2016 U.S. presidential election generated enormous discussion, outrage, and concern about future elections. In this program Stephen Kinzer drew upon his own research to discuss the history of U.S. attempts to subvert the elections and electoral outcomes in other countries. The program was held during the 2019 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in Washington, D.C.

Stephen Kinzer

Photo source: stephenkinzer.com

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Stephen Kinzer’s Reading List on US Interventions in Other Countries
April 2020

This is a list of titles compiled by Stephen Kinzer specifically for the SRRT website.

Blasier, Cole. The Hovering Giant: U.S. Responses to Revolutionary Change in Latin America, 1910-1985. Rev. ed. Pitt Latin American Series. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985.
In the first edition of The Hovering Giant, Cole Blasier analyzed U.S. response to revolutions in Latin America from Madero in Mexico to Allende in Chile. He explained why U.S. leaders sponsored paramilitary units to overthrow revolutionary governments in Guatemala and Cuba and compromised their own differences with revolutionary governments in Mexico and Bolivia. The protection of private U.S. interests was part of the explanation, but Blasier gave greater emphasis to rivalry with Germany or the Soviet Union. Now in this revised edition, Blasier also examines the responses of the Carter and Reagan administrations to the Grenadian and Nicaraguan revolutions and the revolt in El Salvador. He also brings up to date the interpretation of U.S.-Cuban relations. Blasier stresses U.S. defense of its preeminent position in the Caribbean Basin, as well as rivalry with the Soviet Union, to explain these later U.S. responses. Seemingly unaware of historical experience, Washington followed patterns in Central America and Grenada similar to earlier patterns in Guatemala, Cuba, and Chile even though the latter had adverse effects on U.S. security and economic interests. [From GoodReads.]

Blum, William. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. 2nd ed., Updated. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2004.
Is the United States a force for democracy? In this classic volume, William Blum serves up a forensic overview of U.S. foreign policy spanning sixty years. For those who want the details on our most famous actions (Chile, Cuba, Vietnam, to name a few), and for those who want to learn about our lesser-known efforts (France, China, Bolivia, Brazil, for example), this book provides a window on what our foreign policy goals really are.—[From publisher’s description.]

Kinzer, Stephen. Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. First ed. New York: Times Books/Henry Holt, 2006.
“Regime change” did not begin with the administration of George W. Bush, but has been part of U.S. foreign policy for more than one hundred years. Starting with the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893 and continuing into our own time, the United States has not hesitated to overthrow governments that stood in the way of its political and economic goals. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 is the latest, though perhaps not the last, example of the dangers inherent in these operations. Foreign correspondent Kinzer tells the stories of the audacious politicians, spies, military commanders, and business executives who took it upon themselves to depose monarchs, presidents, and prime ministers in fourteen countries, including Cuba, Iran, South Vietnam, Chile, and Iraq. He also shows that the U.S. government has often pursued these operations without understanding the countries involved; as a result, many of them have had disastrous long-term consequences. [From publisher’s description.]

LaFeber, Walter. Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993.
The author sees U.S. policy in Central America as having been based for more than a century on fear of revolution, and argues that the U.S. dependency system, often buttressed by force, ironically fuels a growing revolutionary process. This is a scholarly account from a strongly and uniformly critical viewpoint. The volume contains no explicit set of policy recommendations, nor does it address the basic question of an alternative, if there is one, to a dependency relationship for Central America. [From review by Robert D. Crassweller in Foreign Affairs, Winter 1983/84.]

McPherson, Alan L. A Short History of U.S. Interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Viewpoints/Puntos De Vista. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, 2016.
A Short History of U.S. Interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean presents a concise account of the full sweep of U.S. military invasions and interventions in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean from 1800 up to the present day. Engages in debates about the economic, military, political, and cultural motives that shaped U.S. interventions in Cuba, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, and elsewhere. Deals with incidents that range from the taking of Florida to the Mexican War, the War of 1898, the Veracruz incident of 1914, the Bay of Pigs, and the 1989 invasion of Panama. Features also the responses of Latin American countries to U.S. involvement. Features unique coverage of 19th century interventions as well as 20th century incidents, and includes a series of helpful maps and illustrations. [From WorldCat.]

Musicant, Ivan. The Banana Wars: A History of United States Military Intervention in Latin America from the Spanish-American War to the Invasion of Panama. New York: Macmillan, 1990.
Musicant has worked together a series of small histories of Western Hemisphere campaigns by America during the last 100 years. His is a wonderfully researched & well-told history. He covers the various Cuban & Haitian dramas; wars in Nicaragua & Panama, plus the Dominican Republic emergency &, finally, the Grenada invasion. In every case there’s an initial effort to explain the politics, followed by an accessible description of the campaign. It’s a fine work that enables people to understand both the politics of Western Hemisphere intervention, plus the military realities. [From GoodReads.]

Pearce, Jenny. Under the Eagle: U.S. Intervention in Central America and the Caribbean. 1st U.S. ed. Boston: South End Press, 1982.
The Caribbean basin is one of the most volatile areas of the world today. Since the last century the United States has maintained its supremacy in the region through direct and indirect military intervention, alliances with local oligarchies and economic domination. The poverty, repression and underdevelopment which characterize the region today are part of this legacy of American economic penetration and political influence. But these conditions have led to increasing social and political unrest which, for the first time, are threatening United States control over events in its own backyard. Under the Eagle, traces the history and motivations of United States policy in Central America and the Caribbean, from President Monroe to President Reagan, and assesses its impact on the impoverished people of the region. It concentrates in particular on events since the Cuban revolution and includes a special focus on EI Salvador and the United States’ latest attempts to suppress the struggle for social justice and self-determination of those who live Under the Eagle. [From GoodReads.]

Prados, John. Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006, 2009.
From its founding in the aftermath of World War II, the Central Intelligence Agency has been discovered in the midst of some of the most crucial and most embarrassing episodes in United States relations with the world. Richard Nixon’s 1969 presidential order that declared CIA covert operations necessary to the attainment of American foreign policy goals was an acknowledgment that secret warfare tools had a much wider application than just the cold war conflict with the Soviet Union. The question of what, exactly, these operations have contributed to U.S. policy has long been neglected in the rush to accuse the CIA of being a “rogue elephant” or merely listing its nefarious deeds. Safe for Democracy for the first time places the story of the CIA’s covert operations squarely in the context of America’s global quest for democratic values and institutions. National security historian John Prados offers a comprehensive history of the CIA’s secret wars that is as close to a definitive account as is possible today. He draws on three decades of research to illuminate the men and women of the intelligence establishment, their resources and techniques, their triumphs and failures. In a dramatic and revealing narrative, Safe for Democracy not only relates the inside stories of covert operations but examines in meticulous detail the efforts of presidents and Congress to control the CIA and the specific choices made in the agency’s secret wars. Along the way Mr. Prados offers eye-opening accounts of the covert actions themselves, from radically revised interpretations of classic operations like Iran, Guatemala, Chile, and the Bay of Pigs; to lesser-known projects like Tibet and Angola; to virtually unknown tales of the CIA in Guyana and Ghana. He supplies full accounts of Reagan-era operations in Nicaragua and Afghanistan, and brings the story up to date with accounts of more recent activities in Somalia, Bosnia, and Iraq, all the while keeping American foreign policy goals in view. [From Stanford University, Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) Reading List.]

Weiner, Tim. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. New York: Doubleday, 2007.
Here is the hidden history of the CIA: why eleven presidents and three generations of CIA officers have been unable to understand the world; why nearly every CIA director has left the agency in worse shape than he found it; and how these failures have profoundly jeopardized our national security. For sixty years, the CIA has managed to maintain a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, burying its blunders in top-secret archives. Its mission was to know the world—when it did not succeed, it set out to change the world instead. Now Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Weiner offers the first definitive history of the CIA, based on more than 50,000 documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA itself, and hundreds of interviews with CIA veterans, including ten Directors of Central Intelligence. [From publisher’s description.]

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Other Relevant Books by Stephen Kinzer

Kinzer, Stephen. All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2003, 2008.
Half a century ago, the United States overthrew a Middle Eastern government for the first time. The victim was Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran. Although the coup seemed a success at first, today it serves as a chilling lesson about the dangers of foreign intervention. In this book, the author, a veteran New York Times correspondent, gives a full account of this fateful operation. This book is centered around an hour-by-hour reconstruction of the events of August 1953, and concludes with an assessment of the coup’s “haunting and terrible legacy.” [From WorldCat, adapted from jacket.]

Kinzer, Stephen. The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allan Dulles & Their Secret World War. New York: Time Books/Henry Holt and Co., 2013.
During the 1950s, when the Cold War was at its peak, two immensely powerful brothers led the United States into a series of foreign adventures whose effects are still shaking the world. John Foster Dulles was secretary of state while his brother, Allen Dulles, was director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In this book, Stephen Kinzer places their extraordinary lives against the background of American culture and history. He uses the framework of biography to ask: Why does the United States behave as it does in the world?.... Propelled by a quintessentially American set of fears and delusions, the Dulles brothers launched violent campaigns against foreign leaders they saw as threats to the United States. These campaigns helped push countries from Guatemala to the Congo into long spirals of violence, led the United States into the Vietnam War, and laid the foundation for decades of hostility between the United States and countries from Cuba to Iran. [From publisher description.]

Kinzer, Stephen. The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2017.
How should the United States act in the world? Americans cannot decide. Sometimes we burn with righteous anger, launching foreign wars and deposing governments. Then we retreat—until the cycle begins again. No matter how often we debate this question, none of what we say is original. Every argument is a pale shadow of the first and greatest debate, which erupted more than a century ago. Its themes resurface every time Americans argue whether to intervene in a foreign country. Stephen Kinzer transports us to the dawn of the twentieth century, when the United States first found itself with the chance to dominate faraway lands. That prospect thrilled some Americans. It horrified others. Their debate gripped the nation. The country’s best-known political and intellectual leaders took sides. Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and William Randolph Hearst pushed for imperial expansion; Mark Twain, Booker T. Washington, and Andrew Carnegie preached restraint. Only once before—in the period when the United States was founded—have so many brilliant Americans so eloquently debated a question so fraught with meaning for all humanity [From WorldCat, from jacket flap.]

Schlesinger, Stephen, Stephen Kinzer, and John H. Coatsworth. Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala. Rev. and expanded ed. David Rockefeller Center Series on Latin American Studies, Harvard University, 3. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, 1982, 2005.
A comprehensive and insightful account of the CIA operation to overthrow the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954. First published in 1982, this book has become a classic, a textbook case of the relationship between the United States and the Third World. The authors make extensive use of U.S. government documents and interviews with former CIA and other officials. It is a warning of what happens when the United States abuses its power. [From WorldCat, from publisher description.]

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Other Programs

2011

“Daniel Ellsberg on War and Secrecy.” Co-sponsored by SRRT with OLOS, Video Round Table, ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, ALA President, and ALA Executive Director.

“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” (film showing and Q & A with Daniel Ellsberg). Co-sponsored by SRRT with OLOS, Video Round Table, ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom, ALA President, and ALA Executive Director.

2010 “Afghanistan in Context: the Background to the War that Every Librarian Should Know.” Speakers were Anne Brodsky, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Psychology and past director of Gender and Women's Studies at University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Nasrine Gross, Afghan-American writer, women's rights activist, founder and president of Kabultec in the US and Roqia Center for Women's Rights, Studies, and Education in Afghanistan; and Fahima Vorgetts, director of Afghan Women's Fund. Presented by SRRT International Responsibilities Task Force.
2005 “Destabilization, Disinformation, and Librarians: From Chile, to Cuba, to Venezuela.” Venezuelan-American attorney Eva Gollinger provided a history of recent U.S. destabilization efforts in Venezuela. Al Kagan narrated a PowerPoint presentation by Chilean librarian Clara Budnik on libraries under the Pinochet dictatorship, and Ann Sparanese spoke on what librarians can do about destabilization and disinformation programs–a topic that became the focus of the discussion. Rhonda Neugebauer chaired the meeting. Jointly sponsored by SRRT and the Progressive Librarians Guild.
2004 “Librarians Confront the War in Iraq.” Speakers were Cynthia Banas, a retired librarian and member of Voices in the Wilderness; Chris Gaunt, library assistant from Grinnell College; and Michael Malinconico, professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. Presented by the SRRT International Responsibilities Task Force.
2001 “Cuba: Sovereignty, Development and Intellectual Freedom.” Speakers were Rhonda Neugebauer, Latin American Studies bibliographer at University of California in Riverside; and Larry Oberg, librarian at Willamette College in Salem, Oregon. Ann Sparanese, head of adult and young adult services at Englewood (New Jersey) Public Library, chaired the meeting. Marta Terry from Cuba was invited to speak but her visa was denied. Presented by SRRT International Responsibilities Task Force.
1995 “Cuba: Cultural Cost of the Blockade.” Speakers were Marta Terry who was Director of the Biblioteca National Jose Marti in Havana, Jose Manual Perez of Ediciones Melcher in Puerta Rico, and Ann Sparanese from the Englewood (NJ) Public Library. Co-sponsored by SRRT International Responsibilities Task Force with Progressive Librarians Guild.
1993 “Central America into the Next Millennium: Prospects for Peace.” Speakers were scholars Michael Powelson and Diego Savalag. Presented by the SRRT Peace Information Exchange Task Force.
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SRRT Resolutions Related to U.S. Interventions Abroad

Year SRRT Resolution Outcome
2019 Resolution on CIA Recruitment at ALA Meetings
  • Defeated in ALA Membership Meeting [1]
  • Defeated in ALA Council
2009 Resolution on Libraries and the Continuing Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Passed in ALA Membership Meeting
  • Defeated in ALA Council [2]
2008 Resolution on the Confiscation of Iraqi Documents from the Iraq National Library Archives
2007 Resolution on Defunding the Iraq War
  • Defeated in ALA Council [3]
2005 Resolution Against Disinformation Campaigns
2005 Resolution on the Connection Between the Iraq War and Libraries
2004 Resolution Against the Use of Torture as a Violation of Our Basic Values as Librarians
2004 Resolution Against the Use of Racist Training Materials by the U.S. Military
  • Not presented to ALA Council [4]
2004 Resolution on the Occupation of Iraq
  • Defeated in ALA Council [5]
2003 Resolution on the Iraq Crisis
  • Defeated in ALA Council
2002 Resolution Against the War in Afghanistan
  • Defeated in ALA Council [6]
2000 Resolution on Cuban Libraries
1999 Resolution on the Militarization of ALA and General Powell’s Keynote Speech
  • Not presented to ALA Council
1999 Resolution Calling for a New Policy Towards Iraq [Note: Need to add pdf to website]
  • Not presented to ALA Council
1991 Resolution on the Persian Gulf
  • Defeated in ALA Council. However, Council adopted a brief anti-war statement submitted by E.J. Josey. [7]
1984 Military Withdrawal from Central America
  • Passed in ALA Membership Meeting
  • Defeated in ALA Council [8]
1970 Vietnam War
  • In 1970 the ALA Membership Meeting voted not to consider the resolution. [9]
  • A weaker resolution was adopted by ALA Council in 1971. [10]


[1] Tara Brady, “Councilor’s Report from ALA Annual Conference 2019,” SRRT Newsletter, Issue 208, Oct. 2019.

[2] Al Kagan, “ALA Council Report to SRRT,” SRRT Newsletter, Issue 168, Sept. 2009.

[3] Al Kagan, “ALA Council Report to SRRT, Midwinter, 2007,” SRRT Newsletter, Issue 160/161, Dec. 2007, p. 6.

[4] Michael Santangelo, “Highlights of SRRT Meetings at ALA Annual 2004,” SRRT Newsletter, Issue 148/149, Dec. 2004, p. 3.

[5] Al Kagan, “Report on ALA Council to SRRT,” SRRT Newsletter, Issue 148/149, Dec. 2004, p. 12.

[6] Al Kagan, “Report to SRRT on ALA Council, January 2002,” SRRT Newsletter, Issue 138/139, p.7.

[7] “Resolutions Passed by SRRT Action Council, ALA Midwinter Conference, Chicago, 1991,” SRRT Newsletter, Issue 99, March 1991, p. 2.

[8] Doris Kirschbaum, “Coordinator’s Memo,” SRRT Newsletter, Issue 73, Sept. 1984, p. 1.

[9] “Membership Meeting—Wednesday,”Social Responsibilities Round Table [Conference] Newsletter, Issue 9, July 1, 1970, p. 1.

[10] Trina Magi, Editor; Martin Garnar, Assistant Editor, A History of ALA Policy on Intellectual Freedom: A Supplement to The Intellectual Freedom Manual, 9th edition (Chicago: Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, , 2015), p. 31.

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Citations to Our Webpages

As of the spring of 2003, approximately 242 webpages had linked to our resource page on the war against terrorism. Many were websites at colleges and universities in the US and internationally. At the same time 371 web pages had linked to our page on the war against Iraq. At the time, Tom Twiss hosted these pages at the University of Pittsburgh.

Citations in the Mainstream Press

Turim, David . “Use the Web to walk a mile in the other guys’ shoes.” Chicago Tribune, 02 Nov 2001: 5.1. Includes listing of our website on “Alternative Resources on the War Against Terrorism.” : https://web.archive.org/web/20011103055549/http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/lifestyle/chi-0111020024nov02.story?coll=chi-leisure-hed

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/8/2001
http://old.post-gazette.com/headlines/2001antiwar4.asp

World News Archive, 1/1/2005
http://archive.wn.com/2005/01/01/1400/terrorwire/

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/3/2006
https://www.post-gazette.com/news/world/2006/01/03/The-War-on-Terrorism-Iraq/stories/200601030136

Citations in the Library Press

Choice, June 2002 : https://books.google.com/books?id=ihNGMgRDwh0C&pg=PA1841&lpg=PA1841&dq=%22alternative+resources%22+war+terror+internet+sites&source=bl&ots=kRogQOGKlm&sig=ACfU3U0BxM7Q_xMdjP1vEtoaLDaUs2XaZQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwikmbW04e3rAhWKlHIEHXeWBQoQ6AEwCXoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22alternative%20resources%22%20war%20terror%20internet%20sites&f=false

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