Posted by: Dan | March 1, 2007

America, Democracy, and Imperialism

Along the lines of my brief aside a while back on Why Do We Go To War?, Democracy Now! had a show earlier this week that intrigued me. In it, Amy Goodman interviewed Chalmers Johnson on his new book, “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic”.

In his new book, CIA analyst, distinguished scholar, and best-selling author Chalmers Johnson argues that US military and economic overreach may actually lead to the nation’s collapse as a constitutional republic. It’s the last volume in his Blowback trilogy, following the best-selling “Blowback” and “The Sorrows of Empire.” In those two, Johnson argued American clandestine and military activity has led to un-intended, but direct disaster here in the United States. [includes rush transcript]

Chalmers Johnson is a retired professor of international relations at the University of California, San Diego. He is also President of the Japan Policy Research Institute. Johnson has written for several publications including Los Angeles Times, the London Review of Books, Harper’s Magazine, and The Nation. In 2005, he was featured prominently in the award-winning documentary film, “Why We Fight.”

It’s an interesting question – can we maintain a healthy democracy while continuing to be an imperialist power, or will we sink deeper into becoming a nation of tyrants, lead by authoritarians, and placing our own economic interests abroad above that of our democratic ideals?

Other related questions:

Do our economic interests abroad nullify George Washington’s warnings on “foreign entanglements,” or Eisenhower’s warnings on the “Military-industrial complex?”

Why do we implicitly condone a “J. Edgar Hoover-esque” CIA, which has been active since the Cold War began?

And another perspective that suggests we’re re-living Vietnam and the early days of the Cold War: The Quiet American.


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