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Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project) Paperback – January 22, 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project) + The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project) + Blowback, Second Edition: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (American Empire Project)
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Product Details

  • Series: American Empire Project
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; Reprint edition (January 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805087281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087284
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like ancient Rome, America is saddled with an empire that is fatally undermining its republican government, argues Johnson (The Sorrows of Empire), in this bleak jeremiad. He surveys the trappings of empire: the brutal war of choice in Iraq and other foreign interventions going back decades; the militarization of space; the hundreds of overseas U.S. military bases full of "swaggering soldiers who brawl and sometimes rape." At home, the growth of an "imperial presidency," with the CIA as its "private army," has culminated in the Bush administration's resort to warrantless wiretaps, torture, a "gulag" of secret CIA prisons and an unconstitutional arrogation of "dictatorial" powers, while a corrupt Congress bows like the Roman Senate to Caesar. Retribution looms, the author warns, as the American economy, dependent on a bloated military-industrial complex and foreign borrowing, staggers toward bankruptcy, maybe a military coup. Johnson's is a biting, often effective indictment of some ugly and troubling features of America's foreign policy and domestic politics. But his doom-laden trope of empire ("the capacity for things to get worse is limitless.... the American republic may be coming to its end") seems overstated. With Bush a lame duck, not a Caesar, and his military adventures repudiated by the electorate, the Republic seems more robust than Johnson allows. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The third book in a series begun with Blowback (2000), which predicted harsh comeuppance for the post-cold war American "global empire," and The Sorrows of Empire (2004), which continued Johnson's thesis with a lambasting of American militarism pre- and post-September 11, this book continues the author's broad condemnation of American foreign policy by warning of imminent constitutional and economic collapse. In a chapter analyzing "comparative imperial pathologies," Johnson reminds readers of Hannah Arendt's point that successful imperialism requires that democratic systems give way to tyranny and asserts that the U.S. must choose between giving up its empire of military bases (as did Britain after World War II) or retaining the bases at the expense of its democracy (as did Rome). Johnson also predicts dire consequences should the U.S. continue to militarize low Earth orbits in pursuit of security. To some extent a timely response to recent arguments in favor of American empire, such as those of Niall Ferguson in Colossus, this account also reiterates Johnson's perennial concerns about overseas military bases, the CIA, and the artifice of a defense-fueled economy. Brendan Driscoll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, is the author of the bestselling Blowback and The Sorrows of Empire. A frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, the London Review of Books, and The Nation, he appeared in the 2005 prizewinning documentary film Why We Fight. He lives near San Diego.

Customer Reviews

Nemesis is the last book in a trilogy.
S. Lilley
I read all three of Chalmers Johnson's trilogy; Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis.
C. B Collins Jr.
Each of these books is well written and well worth reading.
ct reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So declares Chalmers Johnson in NEMESIS, the completing volume of a trilogy that includes BLOWBACK and THE SORROWS OF EMPIRE. Nemesis is also the name of a Greek goddess who is "the spirit of retribution, a corrective to the greed and stupidity that sometimes governs relations among people." She stands for the "' righteous anger'" to which Americans must awake if our Republic is to survive rather than be as "doomed as the Roman Republic was after the Ides of March that spring of 44 BC."

In seven relentless chapters --
1. "Militarism and the Breakdown of Constitutional Government
2. Comparative Imperial Pathologies: Rome, Britain, and American
3. Central Intelligence Agency: The President's Private Army
4. US Military Bases in Other People's Countries
5. How American Imperialism Actually Works: The SOFA in Japan
6. Space: The Ultimate Imperialist Project
7. The Crisis of the American Republic
-- Johnson presents fact after fact to support his unswerving thesis that the United States government is empire building in an aggressive, Ugly American way; and that we Americans cannot sustain both a viable republic at home and a world hegemony. The two are incompatible.

Chapter 2's discussion alone is worth the price of NEMESIS. Johnson recounts the Roman slide from republic to tyranny which America is currently following. Then he contends that Britain's divestiture of its empire preserved its domestic democratic institutions, and states that for the USA, "the choice is between the Roman and British precedents."

Then the focus turns to topics that drive home the USA's far-flung web of control and the immense power it wields globally.
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275 of 300 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on February 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Johnson points out that we are the world's greatest producer and exporter of arms on the planet, spend more on our armed forces than all other nations combined - while going deeply into debt to do so, and station over 500,000 troops, spies, contractors, dependents, etc. on more than 737 bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count). Further, statistics compiled by the Federation of American Scientists analyzed by Gore Vidal show 201 military operations initiated by the U.S. against others between the end of WWII and 9/11 - none of which are directly resulted in the creation of a democracy.

Many have accused Bush II of violating international treaties - Johnson, however, is the first that I know of to make the point that our Constitution (Article 6) makes all Treaties made under authorization of the U.S. to be the supreme Law of the Land." Thus, much of Bush's international actions are not only objectionable on moral and practical grounds - they are illegal as well.

As for why few of the world's billion+ Muslims like the U.S. - estimates range from 500,000 to 1 million Iraqi children killed as an outgrowth of U.S. sanctions. Johnson also goes on to document U.S. blocking contracts to improve Iraqi water and other utilities just prior to our invasion. Then there are the matters of torture and secret renditions. (How do these acts reduce terrorism?)

The situation in the U.S. has gone downhill as well - Bush II's administration ignoring/violating the Freedom of Information Act, questionable wire-tapping, letter-opening, Internet surveillance, etc.

What is the dollar cost of these misadventures?
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157 of 172 people found the following review helpful By L. F Sherman on February 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The third in a series that started with "Blowback" is the strongest statement of the lot. The experience, expertise, and brain power demand a careful reading rather than simplistic name calling by those who don't like the conclusions (for them labeling "Liberal" saves bothering to think or develop a logical counter argument). Furthermore, there are numerous Conservatives who would find much of the argument justified.

Every citizen should read the last chapter before investing, making long term plans, or evaluating this `MBA war President'.

Whether one totally `buys into' the argument (well made) that the Republic is about gone because of an irresponsible Congress bypassed by the Military Industrial Complex (a Republican's term you remember) and rotten pervasive dominance of those interests, it should be carefully evaluated not dismissed by name calling as some reviewers have done.

No President as asserted so many excess powers via extreme secrecy, curtailing civil rights, creative legal fatwas, signing statements, making himself "the decider" snubbing Congress. And has any other claimed to talk to God? American arrogance compounded by megalomania - my conclusion not Johnson's.

Johnson is not a Pacifist, but he makes a strong case that realistic American interests could be supported with perhaps 40 bases rather than 740 that pollute relations in countries where they are placed. (His detailed experience with Japan and Okinawa is more than I'd care to know but one example.)

Long ago one President suggested that the US could lead by example or by asserting power and that the later approach would undermine the former as our own Republic and democracy was destroyed.
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