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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From the author of the prophetic national bestseller Blowback, a startling look at militarism, American style, and its consequences abroad and at home

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 now,

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Overview

From the author of the prophetic national bestseller Blowback, a startling look at militarism, American style, and its consequences abroad and at home

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 now, in the wake of 9/11, as a "New Rome." Here, Chalmers Johnson thoroughly explores the new militarism that is transforming America and compelling its people to pick up the burden of empire.

Reminding us of 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 supports them. He offers a vivid look at the new caste of professional warriors 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 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 leading the way.

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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
From the Publisher

“Chilling . . . a frightening picture . . . of the spread of American military and economic control over the world.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Original and genuinely important . . . The role of the prophet is an honorable one. In Chalmers Johnson the American empire has found its Jeremiah. He deserves to be heard.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Trenchantly argued, comprehensively documented, grimly eloquent . . . Worthy of the republic it seeks to defend.” —The Boston Globe

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429900515
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2007
Series:
American Empire Project
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
523,069
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt


From The Sorrows of Empire:

As of September 2001, the Department of Defense acknowledged that at least 725 military bases exist outside the United States. Actually, there are many more, since some bases exist under informal agreements or disguises of various kinds. And others have been created in the years since. This military empire ranges from al-Udeid air base in the desert of Qatar, where several thousand troops live in air-conditioned tents, to expensive, permanent garrisons built in such unlikely places as southeastern Kosovo,

Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Much like the British bases in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Srinagar—those north Indian hill stations used for the troops’ rest and recreation in the summer heat—U.S. armed forces operate a ski and vacation center at Garmish in the Bavarian Alps, a resort hotel in downtown Seoul, and 234 military golf courses worldwide. Seventy-one Learjets, thirteen Gulfstream IIIs, and seventeen Cessna Citation luxury jets are ready and waiting when U.S. admirals and generals come due for some R&R.

Meet the Author

Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego, is a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times and The Nation. His previous books include MITI and the Japanese Miracle. He lives in Southern California.


Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, is the author of the bestselling books Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis, which make up his Blowback Trilogy. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, the London Review of Books, Harper's Magazine, The Nation, and TomDispatch.com.

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