Chalmers Johnson – USA

Linked with, with JPRI The Japan Policy Research Institute; with about Chalmers Johnson’s “Nemesis”-book, with Iraqi Wars – (or how to end it?), and with his presentation of February 19, 2006.

Chalmers Ashby Johnson is an author and professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. He is also president and co-founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute, an organization promoting public education about Japan and Asia. He has written numerous books including, most recently, three examinations of the consequences of American Empire. (full text).

Read: Empire v. Democracy, Why Nemesis Is at Our Door, February 1, 2007.

He says: ”In early 2003, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, I was putting the finishing touches on my portrait [The Sorrows of Empire] of the global reach of American military bases. In it, I suggested the sorrows already invading our lives, which were likely to be our fate for years to come: perpetual war, a collapse of constitutional government, endemic official lying and disinformation, and finally bankruptcy. At book’s end, I advocated reforms intended to head off these outcomes but warned that ‘failing such a reform, Nemesis, the goddess of retribution and vengeance, the punisher of pride and hubris, waits impatiently for her meeting with us” … (full text).

Read: Cold Warrior in a Strange Land, March 22, 2006.

Chalmers Johnson - USA.jpg

Chalmers Johnson – USA

He works for the Japan Policy Research Institute JPRI.

Read: Republic or empire: A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States, January 2007.

Listen to his longer interview on AntiWarRadio (February 5, 2007).

See his blog: The American Empire Project.

He says also: “By the end of the first century BC, Rome had seemingly, again, “inadvertently” acquired an empire that surrounded the entire Mediterranean Sea. They then discovered that the inescapable accompaniment, the Siamese twin of imperialism, is militarism. You start needing standing armies. You start having armies that are demobilized, of men who have done nothing but spend all their lives in the military. It’s expensive to pay them. You have to now provide them, in the Roman Empire, with farms or things of this sort. They become irritated with the state. And then along comes the military populist, the figure who says, “I understand your problems. I represent your interests against the Roman Senate.” And, certainly, Julius Caesar is the model for this. “The only requirement is that I become life dictator for this” — Napoleon Bonaparte, Juan Peron, this type of figure.

I wrote a little essay on the subject for the Internet. Two weeks after it was published, General Clark entered the Democratic race, and I thought, “My God, it’s coming with the speed of FedEx these days.” Here we have a four-star general offering himself to the public as a way to solve their problems. Indeed, one wonders whether we have already crossed our Rubicon, whether we can go back. I don’t know.

I remain enormously impressed by these brilliant speeches that Senator Robert Byrd, from West Virginia, gives week-in/week-out to an empty Senate chamber. They sound like Cicero. They really do sound like a passionate lover of our constitution and what it stood for. Nobody is listening to him. The news media don’t report it. And Cicero did end up with his head and both hands nailed to the Forum wall by the young Octavian. (full interview text).

Read: Evolving Empire: Chalmers Johnson on Bush’s Major Troop Realignment, August 17th, 2004.

His bio on AntiWarRadio.

Read: Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson, Coming to Terms with China.

And he says: Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize winning economist, and a colleague at Harvard have put together a real Pentagon budget which, for the wars we’re fighting right now, comes out to about $2 trillion. What they’ve added in are things like interest on the national debt that was used to buy arms in the past. Turns out to be quite a few billion dollars. Above all, they try to get a halfway honest figure for veterans’ benefits. For this year, it’s officially $68 billion, which is almost surely way too low given, if nothing more, the huge number of veterans who applied for and received benefits after our first Gulf War. (full text).

Read: Q&A on California Alumni;

His publications:
on wikipedia;
on amazon;
on e-bay;
on JPRI;
on AlterNet;
on in motion magazine.

Then he says: “The roots of this military empire go back, of course, to World War II, which is when we conquered Germany, Japan, Italy, places of that sort, and did not withdraw after the war was over. We’ve been in Okinawa, for example, ever since 1945. The people there have been fighting against us ever since 1945, in three major revolts — they hate it.

But the critical point comes with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Paul Wolfowitz, who was then in the Department of Defense working for Dick Cheney in the first Bush administration, wrote that our policy now is to prevent any nation, or combination of nations, from ever having the kind of power that could challenge us in any way militarily.

This is when we really invite “Nemesis,” the goddess of retribution, vengeance, and hubris, into our midst by proclaiming that we “won” the Cold War. It’s not at all clear that we’ve won the Cold War. Probably, we and the U.S.S.R. lost it, but they lost it first and harder because they were always poorer than we were. The assumption was that we were now the global superpower; we were the lone superpower; we were a new Rome. We could do anything we wanted to. We could dominate the world through military force.

This is as clear a statement of imperial intent as I think one could imagine, and it is what leads to such radical ideas as war as a choice, preventive war, wars such as that in Iraq, which was essentially to expand the empire by providing a new stable base for us in the Middle East, having lost Iran in 1979, and having so antagonized the Saudis that they were no longer allowing us to use our bases there the way we like”. (full text).

Remark: ‘American Empire’ is a term used to describe the historical expansionism and the current political, economic, and cultural influence of the United States on a global scale. It is usually part of a politically charged debate which involves three basic questions:

  • Is the United States currently an empire?
  • If the United States is an empire, when did it become one?
  • If the United States is an empire, is that good or bad?
  • However, there are also more neutral uses of the term. (to be seen on this wikipedia stub).
  • See also its wikipedia disambiguation.

Finally he says: “I recall forty years ago, when I was a new professor working in the field of Chinese and Japanese international relations, that Edwin O. Reischauer once commented, “The great payoff from our victory of 1945 was a permanently disarmed Japan.” Born in Japan and a Japanese historian at Harvard, Reischauer served as American ambassador to Tokyo in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Strange to say, since the end of the Cold War in 1991 and particularly under the administration of George W. Bush, the United States has been doing everything in its power to encourage and even accelerate Japanese rearmament. (full long text).

book reviews and comments about Chalmers Johnson:


Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson on garrisoning the planet;

Half a million dollars, in postage;

America’s Empire of Bases.

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