Short book review: Vincent Bevins’ “The Jakarta Method”

Remember that leftist slogan, “Another world is possible”? Turns out, not only was another world possible, but in fact another world did exist, for a while at least, until it was brutally, violently, ruthlessly and systematically suppressed. Right after World War 2, as much of the Third World was shaking off the shackles of colonialism, the U.S. kicked off a counter-offensive, providing overt and covert military assistance and diplomatic and economic support to topple left-leaning governments and slaughter leftist movements across the Third World. Vincent Bevins tells in “The Jakarta Method” the story of how these anti-communists massacres to a large extent shaped the world we live in today. As a result, a global system was created “that only had two basic structural types — Western advanced capitalist countries and resource-exporting crony capitalist societies shaped by anticommunism” and most of the countries affected by the U.S.-backed global anti-communist campaign “slid right into the second category, becoming very much like Brazil” (p. 241). This book offers a key frame through which to understand the triple crisis — climate collapse, the rise of the far-right, and economic downturn — affecting the world today. For that reason, it is perhaps the most important book in international politics published in 2020.

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