Talk World Radio: Alfred McCoy on Empire and the Supposed Rule-Based Order that He Claims China Threatens

By Talk World Radio, November 29, 2021

Talk World Radio is recorded as audio and video on Here is this week’s video and all the videos on Youtube. We’re using only the guest video and not the host this week, because Riverside is getting them out of synch when combining.

Alfred W. McCoy is the author of a tremendous new book called To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change. He also holds the Harrington Chair in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After earning his Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history at Yale in 1977, his writing has focused on Philippine political history, the history of modern empires, and the covert netherworld of illicit drugs, syndicate crime, and state security. His first book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (1972), sparked controversy over the CIA’s attempt to block its publication. His book A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror (2006) provided the historical dimension for the Oscar-winning documentary feature, Taxi to the Darkside.

Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

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2 Responses

  1. Though I appreciate Alfred McCoy’s focus on history in relation to geopolitics,and his suggested solution to war and hegemony a world governing body of sorts, I find his vilification of China, too much like one representing the USG, as we continue to plunder and destroy across the globe. I have noted this in his articles of late, as well as here. As to his concern over climate change and Shanghai, I think given he is a US national he should worry more about cities here, as the USG continues to do nothing about global warming, clean water, forest fires, poverty, healthcare, and oil drilling. We continue to intervene in other nations whether with sanctions or weapons. China won’t let Shanghai sink, they are so far ahead of the west on all fronts. As to his concerns over China’s militarism, China has a long way to go to catch up to the US given they have only one military base outside the US, while the US has at the very least 850. While China builds and develops nations in Africa, the US now has all 54 nations covered by Africom. So in future Mr. McCoy, whose books I have enjoyed, should perhaps focus more on what his nation is doing.

  2. I found the interview very interesting. Professor McCoy has been a leading light in exposing some of America’s worst human rights crimes. But I think his general line is off the planet rather than on it. Yes, we are certainly facing catastrophic change but at the present rate we won’t be hanging round into the second half of the century.

    His own analysis is contradictory here. We are supposedly recognising environmental crisis but not the need for political action. In fact, in no meaningful way do we truly recognise the former.
    Economic growth and industrialisation on a small planet with compounding ecosystem limits mean that humankind is in dire evolutionary overshoot. What David Swanson said is spot on. We need to act immediately to save ourselves by international cooperation, social justice, peacemaking, and genuine environmental sustainability.

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