Dismantling the Empire

Dismantling the Empire

America's Last Best Hope

Book - 2010
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The author of the bestselling Blowback Trilogy reflects on America's waning power in a masterful collection of essays

In his prophetic book Blowback , published before 9/11, Chalmers Johnson warned that our secret operations in Iraq and elsewhere around the globe would exact a price at home. Now, in a brilliant series of essays written over the last three years, Johnson measures that price and the resulting dangers America faces. Our reliance on Pentagon economics, a global empire of bases, and war without end is, he declares, nothing short of "a suicide option."

Dismantling the Empire explores the subjects for which Johnson is now famous, from the origins of blowback to Barack Obama's Afghanistan conundrum, including our inept spies, our bad behavior in other countries, our ill-fought wars, and our capitulation to a military that has taken ever more control of the federal budget. There is, he proposes, only one way out: President Obama must begin to dismantle the empire before the Pentagon dismantles the American Dream. If we do not learn from the fates of past empires,he suggests, our decline and fall are foreordained. This is Johnson at his best: delivering both a warning and an urgent prescription for a remedy.

Publisher: New York :, Metropolitan Books,, [2010]
Edition: 1st ed
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780805093032
Branch Call Number: 973.92 J63d 2010
Characteristics: 212 pages ; 22 cm


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Jan 22, 2017

Though written in 2010, Dismantling the Empire is every bit as relevant in 2017 as it was when Johnson wrote it. In fact, the book is a collection of essays which he had written from 2000 to 2010. The theme is constant, the military-industral-complex will be the death of the US and the CIA should be eliminated.
This isn't part of his Blowback Trilogy - Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (2000), The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (2004), and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2006) but is in keeping with it.

A summarization of his message is:
"A nation can be one or the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but it can’t be both. If it sticks to imperialism, it will, like the old Roman Republic, on which so much of our system was modeled, lose its democracy to a domestic dictatorship."

Thought provoking and well conceived. And with the Trump imperial presidency things are going to get much worse very quickly.

Jan 12, 2014

After reading Johnson's books, I suspected I was too harsh or critical on the patrician author, who should know better, who had far more intimate experience with them at the highest levels than I ever would, but who always refused to "name the names"! After hearing him on several progressive radio show interviews, I realized I wasn't harsh enough! He blames the lowest level soldier, and the most miniscule politician, without ever going to the source. It wasn't simple happenstance that when Nixon and Kissinger (long the henchman of the Rockefeller family) flew to China in 1973, David Rockefeller accompanied them on those trips and, in point of fact, opened banking operations in both Beijing and Moscow in 1973. As Gen. Smedley Butler explained many decades previously, "War Is A Racket" (the title of his book) - - and war and "military advantures" are undertaken on behalf of multinationals for their profit and benefit. Chalmers Johnson always reduces everything to the trivial (although I agree with most of his remedies, which will never be realized, as they never go to the source of the problem, and therefore obfuscates the actual problem) level. Overextending the empire ignores who derives the profits from such a process, and why such always happens!

Aug 30, 2010

This short collection of essays neatly sums up what Johnson's "Blowback Trilogy" covered in greater detail. Sobering, saddening, maddening, concise... Unfortunately, the ten-step program Johnson recommends for dismantling rather than crashing the American Empire is unlikely to see the light of democratic reform.

Here are the ten steps:

1. Stop the profligate environmental damage produced at our approximately 800 overseas bases (and at the domestic bases, as well).

2. Recover the "opportunity costs" wasted on maintaining the worldwide deployment of about 500,000 military personnel to those 800 bases.

3. Stop torturing people (duh).

4. Cut the "camp followers, dependents, civilian employees of the DoD, and hucksters that follow our military enclaves around the world." (Note: this is hard to distinguish from No. 2.)

5. "Discredit the myth ... that our military establishment is valuable to us in terms of jobs, scientific research, and defense." (This is also covered by No. 2.)

6. Stop supplying arms to the rest of the world and encourage other suppliers to follow suit.

7. Abolish the ROTC.

8. Eliminate mercenaries and re-establish "discipline and accountability" within the armed forces.

9. Reduce the size of our military (No. 2, again).

10. Stop using the military as the primary means to gain foreign policy goals.

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