Book Review - How They Run the World by Pedro Banos (Ebury Press, UK, 2019) By Nigel Jackson

     This international bestseller caused a few ripples when it was learned that, for this English language version, some references to the power wielded by the Rothschild family which appeared in the original 2017 Spanish first edition, have been omitted. A storm in a teacup: the author appears genuinely to have avoided negative bias against any political, ethnic or religious group. He is a colonel in the Spanish army and was formerly chief of counter-intelligence and security for the European Army Corps. He is said to be one of Europe’s top specialists in geopolitics, terrorism and intelligence.

     It is a sobering account, drawing from worldwide evidence taken from the near and far past, as well as present time. It is an antidote to much of the half-baked idealism common in Australia among political commentators and agitators. In his introduction Banos remarks: ‘The powerful have always tried to seize control wherever their tendencies can reach…..It’s important that we are aware of these strategies that allow the powerful to rule the world. We like to think of ourselves as free individuals who make autonomous choices about our lives….. However, we are in fact continually being induced to make certain choices, and the same thing is happening at the geopolitical level – countries are manipulated into making particular decisions and alliances, and their populations have no say in the matter.’

     Much of the discussion is given to ‘twenty-two fundamental geopolitical strategies’ universally used throughout human history. Banos writes with succinct, well-informed, well-documented and precise analysis as he lays bare the huge amount of deception in world politics. In his epilogue he explains that he has written his book ‘to make people more aware of how much they are manipulated; to encourage them to come together and make collective decisions that might change society for the better.’ He wants a world which prioritises ‘human security over national security.’

     The book is filled with trenchant exposures of political myths. Just consider this one example: ‘Obama’s eight years as president offer a prime example of the Mr Nice Guy strategy. A global media campaign that presented him as a friendly, modest and tolerant figure not only repaired the damage to US prestige caused by his predecessor, George W. Bush, but allowed the same hegemonic policies pursued by his predecessors to be glossed over and even excused.’ There’s a lot in those two sentences! Perhaps we had a real life rival to ‘the great Gatsby’ with his magical smile!

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