In celebration of the Fourth of July, 1821, John Quincy Adams delivered a speech before Congress that is famously titled, “In Search of Monsters to Destroy.” Adams used the occasion to describe the foreign policy of the United States:
Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.
But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.
She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
Needless to say, America abandoned that foreign policy long ago in favor of one based on going abroad in search of foreign leaders to destroy or replace. Central to that fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy has been the Central Intelligence Agency.
A recently published book details the role the CIA played in regime-change operations from its origin in 1947 through the early 1960s: The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret War, by Stephen Kinzer, a former reporter for the New York Times and currently visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.
(In 2008 Kinzer was a speaker at FFF’s conference, “Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties.” The video of his speech can be found here.)
Kinzer is author of several other books, some of which revolve around U.S. regime-change operations, such as Overthrow, All the Shah’s Men, and Bitter Fruit. The Brothers is a masterful culmination of Kinzer’s study in this area. What makes this book so fascinating is that it examines the role of two brothers, John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles, in the early years of the CIA.
The first part of the book constructs the personal backgrounds of the Dulles brothers, creating a foundation for the second part of the book, which focuses on the six “monsters” the Dulles brothers sought to destroy with the CIA, along with the repercussions and consequences of those operations.