In his latest book, Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope, Chalmers Johnson explores a theme familiar to readers of his bestselling Blowback Trilogy (Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis): American empire, its causes, its costs, and its consequences. His argument is straightforward: we “must liquidate our empire or else it watch it liquidate us.” And he gives these three reasons:
1. “We can no longer afford our postwar expansionism.”
Johnson points out that the United States budget deficit as of 2010 stands at close to $1.75 trillion, and that’s not including the cost of US military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. He grants that the Obama administration has announced cuts–to the tune of some 9 billion–in wasteful weapons spending, but says ”far bolder cuts in our military expenditures will obviously be required in the very near future if we intend to maintain any semblance of fiscal integrity.”
2. “We are going to lose the war in Afghanistan and it will help bankrupt us.”
Between Pakistani duplicitousness; poor intelligence; the seeming impossibility of establishing control over the lawless tribal areas; the ambivalence–at best–toward the US project of the Afghani population; and the lack of a coherent strategy, the US campaign is doomed, he argues. ”We should recognize that we are wasting time, lives, and resources in an area where we have never understood the political dynamics and continue to make the wrong choices.”
3. “We need to end the secret shame of our empire of bases.”
The United States maintains a global network of hundreds of bases, from which, Johnson argues, U.S. servicemen have perpetrated sexual violence against local women and girls “preying on them like foreign conquerors.” He goes on: ”The problem of rape has been ubiquitous around all of our bases on every continent and has probably contributed as much to our being loathed abroad as the policies of the Bush administration or our economic exploitation of poverty-stricken countries whose raw materials we covet.” He adds that Status of Forces Agreements between the US and host governments prevent the latter from gaining jurisdiction over troops who commit crimes overseas, which only serves to aggravate tensions. The only thing to be done, he writes, is to ”radically reduce the size of our standing army and bring the troops home from countries where they do not understand their environments and have been taught to think of the inhabitants as inferior to themselves.”
This post first appeared on the blog of the Progressive Book Club.
by The U.S. Army
By Progressive Book Club Blogger
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