The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic

The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic

by Chalmers Johnson
     
 

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"Impressive . . . a powerful indictment of U.S. military and foreign policy."
-Los Angeles Times Book Review, front page

In the years after the Soviet Union imploded, the United States was described first as the globe's "lone superpower," then as a "reluctant sheriff," next as the "indispensable nation," and in the wake of 9/11, as a "New

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Overview

"Impressive . . . a powerful indictment of U.S. military and foreign policy."
-Los Angeles Times Book Review, front page

In the years after the Soviet Union imploded, the United States was described first as the globe's "lone superpower," then as a "reluctant sheriff," next as the "indispensable nation," and in the wake of 9/11, as a "New Rome." In this important national bestseller, Chalmers Johnson thoroughly explores the new militarism that is transforming America and compelling us to pick up the burden of empire.

Recalling the classic warnings against militarism-from George Washington's Farewell Address to Dwight Eisenhower's denunciation of the military-industrial complex-Johnson uncovers its roots deep in our past. Turning to the present, he maps America's expanding empire of military bases and the vast web of services that support them. He offers a vivid look at the new caste of professional militarists who have infiltrated multiple branches of government, who classify as "secret" everything they do, and for whom the manipulation of the military budget is of vital interest.

Among Johnson's provocative conclusions is that American militarism is already putting an end to the age of globalization and bankrupting the United States, even as it creates the conditions for a new century of virulent blowback. The Sorrows of Empire suggests that the former American republic has already crossed its Rubicon-with the Pentagon in the lead.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A Ciceronian indictment of our nation's transformation from lone superpower to imperial bully. "Like other empires of the past century," writes Japan Research Policy Institute president Johnson (Blowback, 2000, etc.), "the United States has chosen to live not prudently, in peace and prosperity, but as a massive military power athwart an angry, resistant globe." In the absence of rivals such as the Soviet Union and with the ascendance of an administration driven by crony capitalism, which spells an end to the cherished ideals of free enterprise and the leveling influence of the free market, the American state has become an analogue to ancient Rome. It employs, Chalmers writes, "well over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents, and civilian contractors in other nations," extending Fortress America's reach to every corner of the globe and, not coincidentally, enriching civilian enterprises that have been favored by insider trading within the Pentagon and State Department (think Halliburton) with fabulously lucrative contracts. Indeed, writes Johnson, there are something like 725 American bases abroad-probably many more, for that number is only what the Department of Defense acknowledges-with more added as client states in Central Asia and Eastern Europe join the American fold. What does this all mean? Perhaps a permanent military dictatorship one day, to extend the Roman model even farther. Certainly increased alienation between the US and the rest of the world, which is unlikely to shed tears when future iterations of 9/11 occur. What can be done? "There is one development that could conceivably stop this process of overreaching: the people could retake control ofthe Congress, reform it along with the corrupted elections laws that have made it into a forum for special interests, turn it into a genuine assembly of democratic representatives, and cut off the supply of money to the Pentagon and the secret intelligence agencies." Fat chance. And so, Johnson concludes this deeply unsettling essay, "the United States is probably lost to militarism." Agent: Sandra Dijkstra/Sandra Dijkstra Agency

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805077971
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/2005
Series:
American Empire Project Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
524,387
Product dimensions:
8.26(w) x 5.38(h) x 1.08(d)

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From The Sorrows of Empire:

- The 725 U.S. military bases acknowledged by the Department of Defense do not include the many used for communications espionage, control of the world's oil supply, or those that are simply too embarrassing for the government to speak about openly (such as the fourteen permanent bases being built in Iraq).

- The United States maintains about 347,000

soldiers, airmen, and marines at military bases in 140 of 189 member states of the United Nations.

- The American military budget is so large that the next-highest military budget in the world-

Russia's-is only fourteen percent of our own.

- Ninety-three percent of the American budget dedicated to international affairs is allocated to the military and only seven percent to the State Department.

- The Congressional Budget Office projects federal deficits over the next five years of more than $1 trillion, on top of an already existing government debt in February 2003 of $6.4 trillion. Military operations in Iraq so far have cost $143 billion; reconstruction will run from between $50 and $100 billion.

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