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Johnson - The Sorrows of Empire (2004) - Synopsis

Johnson - The Sorrows of Empire (2004) - Synopsis

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Published by Mark K. Jensen
Synopsis of Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004). Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on February 27, 2006.
Synopsis of Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004). Discussed at Digging Deeper (www.ufppc.org) on February 27, 2006.

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Published by: Mark K. Jensen on Jun 04, 2009
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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper XIV: February 27, 2006, 7:00 p.m.
Chalmers Johnson,
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End othe Republic
(New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004).Prologue.
Historical overview (2-3). This book is “a guide to the Americanempire” (4). Separate from, but alsoacting upon, U.S. society. Visit toOkinawa in Feb. 1996 provoked Johnson’sinterest in the subject (6-7).
(2000) (8). CIA consultancy, 1967-73 (9-11). Subject: American militarism, itsphysical presence in the world, thegrowth of the ‘special forces’ as a privatearmy of the president, and the secrecythat allows every more militarized andsecret institutions to survive” (12). Ournews resembles official gazettes (13).
Ch. 1: Imperialisms, Old and New.
Roman history (15-16). End of Cold Warunforeseen, misunderstood, andmisinterpreted triumphally (16-21). 1989to 2002: from “foreign policy” to “militaryempire” (22). An empire of bases” (23).Bases as “pure manifestations of militarism” (23). Not self-financing (24-25). Remote-control ‘precisionwarfare(26-28). Definitions and forms of imperialism (28-32). Cold War as apretense for militarism (32-34).Overseas bases; SOFAs (35-37).
Ch. 2: The Roots of AmericanMilitarism.
Origins of U.S. militarism inSpanish-American War of 1898 (39-45).Elihu Root creates general staff, NationalGuard (45-46). Woodrow Wilson foundshumanitarian interventionism for‘democracy’ (46-52). WWII’s ambiguouscontribution to militarism (52-55). ColdWar defense expenditures militarizedU.S. political economy (56-58).Indicators of onset of militarism: (1)professional military class and itsglorification (58-62) (Vietnam’s‘counterintuitive’ contribution tomilitarism [60]; ‘civilian militarism’ of ‘chicken hawks’ [60-62]); (2)preponderance of military (or armsindustry reps) in high positions (62-63);(3) devotion to military preparedness ashighest priority of the state (63-64).Experiences, ideas about war, andgrowth of arms industry transformeddefense establishment into a “militaristestablishment” (64-65).
Ch. 3: Toward the New Rome.
Twoimperialist camps in U.S.: (1) advocatesof “hard Wilsonianism” (Max Boot) (67-71); (2) humanitarian imperialists (71-72). American militarism is imperialist(72-78). U.S. in 1874 & 2003 compared(78-79). Quest for dominance of space(79-85). Wolfowitz doctrine: deny to anyhostile power regions with resources (85-86). China (86-88). North Korea andnuclear proliferation (88-95).
Ch. 4: The Institutions of AmericanMilitarism.
Recruitment (97-99).Depleted uranium (100-02). Socialcharacteristics of the military (102-07).Crime and racism “ubiquitous” (107-10).Military recruiters force access to schools(110-12). Support for pro-war films (112-14). Public relations (embeddedreporters; civilian joyrides) (114-16).Black budgets (117-19). Erosion of PosseComitatus Act of 1878 (119-20). U.S.“state terrorism” (120-21). NorthernCommand (121-22). Expanding:Pentagon wants veto over foreigninvestment, subpoena power, exemptionfrom environmental protection laws (122-23). Special forces (123-24). CinCs (124-26). Covert operations (128-30).
Ch. 5: Surrogate Soldiers andPrivate Mercenaries.
Recruitingforeign soldiers to do the dirty work is“among the traditions of imperialism”(131-34). IMET (132,137). “Sepoystrategy” vs. “private military companies
strategy” (134-36). School of theAmericas (136-37). FMF (137). Evasionof congressional control (137-38). SepoyMutiny, 1857-58, comparable toAfghanistan and 9/11 (138-39). Militarycontractors (140-49). Camp Bondsteel &oil strategy (143-46).
Ch. 6: The Empire of Bases.
Rationales for bases (151-52). Sources:
Base Structure Report 
(153-54).Manpower Report (154-55). Baseinventory (156-60). Signals intelligence(sigint) bases (155, 161-65). Intelligencesharing; Echelon: U.S.-U.K.-Canada-Australia-N.Z. (165-67). Oil asexplanation for bases (168-72). Caspianbasin energy reserves (168-72).Kazakhstan pipeline (173-74).Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey pipeline (174-76). Afghan pipeline (176-79). Decisionto overthrow the Taliban (180-81). After9/11, U.S. obtains bases in region “withastonishing speed and efficiency” (181-85).
Ch. 7: The Spoils of War.
Reflectionson a new sort of imperialism, “solely anempire of bases” (187-90). LatinAmerican bases (190-93). Germany(193-98). Japan (esp. Okinawa) (198-202). Korea (202-03). Spain (203-04).Greece (204-07). Philippines (207-14). A“picture of our empire” (214-15).
Ch. 8: Iraq Wars.
British imperialism inthe Persian Gulf (217-18). U.S.-Saudirelationship, 1938-91 (218-19). U.S. andIran, 1953-79 (219-21). Diego Garcia(221-22). “Momentous” IranianRevolution of 1979 (222-23). CIA role inBaath Party taking power in Iraq (223-24). Iran-Iraq war (224-25). Gulf War(225-26). Vast expansion of U.S. bases inPersian Gulf region between two Iraqwars (226-27). 9/11 (227). Project for aNew American Century proposals (226-27). Propagandistic rationales for war onIraq after 9/11 (229-33). Other theories:(1) Iraqi oil (233-34). (2) Influence of Israeli Likud Party (234-35). (3) DomesticU.S. politics (235-36). Betterexplanation: “the inexorable pressures of imperialism and militarism” (236-37). Al-Qaeda as an unintended consequence of bases in Saudi Arabia (237-41). Bases inKuwait (242-44). In Bahrain (244-46). InQatar (246-49). In United Arab Emirates(249-50). In Oman (250-52).
Ch. 9: Whatever Happened toGlobalization?
Globalization ascamouflaged imperialism (255-56).Aftermath of 9/11 means “the end of globalization” (257). U.S.-U.S.S.R. post-WWII economic rivalry faded insignificance (257-58). Neoliberal projectspawns globalization (259-61). Hiddenagenda: “kicking away the ladder” forother countries’ development (261-64).World Bank & IMF, floating exchangerates, and ‘structural adjustmentprograms’ (264-68). WTO created in1995 to manage trade rivalry andprevent Third-World industrialization(269-72). Growing problems: Asianfinancial collapse of 1997, Seattledemonstrations of 1999, Meltzer Reportof 2000, Argentine economic collapse,Enron (272-77). Arms trade as economicmainstay (277-81). U.S. dependence onimports makes it vulnerable (281).
Ch. 10: The Sorrows of Empire.
Iraqwar’s consequences make it “a fiasco”(283). Shedding of euphemismsdisguising imperialism (283-84). Four“sorrows of imperialism” all butinevitable: (1) Perpetual war (285-91).(2) Loss of democracy and constitutionalrights (291-98). (3) Culture of statepropaganda, disinformation, andglorification of war & the military (298-306). (4) Financial ruin and bankruptcy(306-09). Near-term uncertainties (310-11). People could reverse trends bytaking control of Congress, but this is“difficult to imagine” (312).
54 pages. Of interest: David B.Abernathy,
The Dynamics of GlobalDominance: European Overseas Empires

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