24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Useful survey of the American empire and its threat to democracy,
This review is from: Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project) (Hardcover)
This is the last volume of American historian Chalmers Johnson's trilogy on the American empire, following Blowback (2000) and The Sorrows of Empire (2003). Nemesis was the Greek goddess of retribution, who punished human transgression and the arrogance that caused it.
Johnson claims that imperial overreach is undermining the USA's democracy. Comparing the US empire to the Roman and British empires, he shows how "imperialism and militarism are the deadly enemies of democracy."
He notes that between 1945 and 2001, the USA carried out 30 major and 170 minor overseas military operations in which the USA struck the first blow. He observes that since 1947, "in no instance has democratic government come about as a direct result."
He describes the CIA as the president's secret, unaccountable private army, which does what the president wants, including taking the rap for his crimes He shows how the current presidency is the most imperial ever, based on a huge standing army, 727 overseas bases, continuous wars and ruinous military spending. He shows how Congress and courts alike have failed to assert their constitutional rights against presidents' usurpation of powers.
Johnson details the recent crimes of the US state, `the systematic killing of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq', the systematic mass torture of prisoners, sanctioned by Bush and Rumsfeld, and the brutal looting of Iraq's heritage.
He notes the 1,000 CIA `rendition' - kidnapping for torture - flights using Europe's airports, with the complicity of the British, German, Italian, Swedish, Rumanian and Polish governments. The Labour government allowed 210 landings at British airports between September 2001 and September 2005.
The US state's overseas bases are governed by Status of Forces Agreements which Johnson examines through the example of Japan. He shows how the US state has wasted $100 billion on missile defence and space weapons. The World Policy Institute called it the `pork barrel in the sky'.
In all, this is an excellent survey of the threat that militarism and corporatism pose to democracy in the USA.
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Initial post: 30 May 2011 13:26:19 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 May 2011 13:42:38 BDT
C. W. Bradbury says:
An excellent review Mr Podmore, on the strength of which I shall buy the book, but from demographics alone America must now fall; no matter what they do. With America goes the last Western World Power and the Asian Millenium begins, BUT it didn't have to be this way.
The real tragedy is that even in the 1920's numerous politicians were stridently warning that the horrendous casualties of WWI had gravely weakened the Western World. By the 1930's Adolf Hitler was advocating a United Europe/Festung Europa from the Urals to the Atlantic; Stalin planned for the Sovietization of Europe; Roosevelt for the American Century. This was not because any of them 'wanted war' but because each wanted to re-establish the underlying cultural/political unity of the Western World Order that WWI had shattered. To "Bind up the nations wounds" as Lincoln had put it after America's civil war; but on the basis of full political union, rather than the informal 'Dynastic Marriage' system of Victoria's era which failed so badly in 1914.
The difference between these rival 'programmes' was actually minimal, mostly location of the Capital (Berlin, Moscow, Washington) and which faction (Fascist, Communist or Republican) held power following the union, but with that power came untold wealth and the negotiations went badly. Those involved were mostly combat veterans, brutalised by WWI, Russia's Civil War and the conflicts of Empire, like Rome's Senators or Al Capone's Mafiosi they turned easily to violence. By the time WWII and the Cold War were over Europe was a broken shell, the Soviet Union had collapsed bankrupt and America could not possibly stand alone against China. Why? Because while Europe's 'leaders' achieved nothing but the massacre and industrial decline; in the east Chairman Mao built 'Der Grossraum' with Peking not 'Germania' as the capital. Since 1945 all the predictions made about 'the workers paradise', the Aryan Millenia etc... have become a living reality, but in Red China not the West. It's Red China which has seen the most rapid population, industrial and financial growth ever recorded on this planet while a still deeply divided West has dwindled in all these things, now seemingly destined for the history books.
More than a thousand years ago the Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire faced a position very similar to that of America today. The last surviving remnant of a once great world order; the Byzantine Empire was still militarily dominant, but surrounded and massively outnumbered by 'barbarian' neighbours grown relatively stronger only due to Rome's decline. Like today's USArmy/USMC, the Byzantine Army also fought and won innumerable 'brush fire' wars, designed to destablise her foes and preserve her financial/political dominance; but with only a fraction of the old Imperial Roman Empire's population/industry and commerce, survival was impossible in the longer term. The end came on August 26'th 1071 at Manzikert, when an army of Seljuq Turks led by Alp Arslan shattered/slaughtered the Byzantine Army prior to the conquest/Islamification of Anatolia (Now known as Turkey). We can only hope the American armed forces avoid a similar fate.
1910. Approx Populations.
India - 360,000,000.
Europe - 380,000,000.
China - 400,000,000.
2010. Approx Populations.
India - 1,200,000,000.
Europe - 400,000,000.
China - 1,400,000,000.
Read it and weep for the folly of our fathers.
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