78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "my country is launched on a dangerous path that it must abandon or else face the consequences"
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...
Published on March 2, 2007 by K. M.
55 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Imperial America?
Certainly Chalmers Johnson thinks we are an imperial power and at great length provides information to prove that we are. Nemesis is the final book in Johnson's triology and he returns to familiar themes of exalted executive power, a far-reaching military presence, and a sinister, near-independent CIA bent on evil.
Some thoughts. While Johnson notes 700 plus...
Published on June 29, 2007 by Philip A. True
Most Helpful First | Newest First
78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "my country is launched on a dangerous path that it must abandon or else face the consequences",
This review is from: Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project) (Hardcover)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. The incredible hubris of the US as it occupies Iraq, as it establishes secret prison bases internationally, as it reneges on agreements and interferes in other sovereign nations' elections, as it spends hundreds of billions of dollars on defense systems and occupations that don't demonstrably defend the homeland, as it blots out additional rights at home in the name of security, is copiously documented. Generally, the overwhelming criticism of US government actions is persuasive due to the unfailing use of sources: the Notes at the end of NEMESIS cover fifty pages. However, the discerning reader will at times perceive that Johnson has stacked the deck. The author's preoccupation with indicting American actions sometimes glosses the fact that the US isn't the only nation to play fast and loose in the game of international posturing and positioning. Still, any reader who possesses a grounded grasp of history and understands that other countries in the world also act -- sometimes precipitously and with their own thirst for empire-building -- will recognize Johnson's bias and compensate for it.
NEMESIS is an important, well-written, well-substantiated contribution to the growing library of books warning that America's political and military policies are sliding us closer to imperialistic totalitarianism, a very real threat. This third volume of the Blowback Trilogy is highly recommended reading for all Americans who feel "righteous anger" and truly want to prevent such a fate.
275 of 300 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time to Connect the Dots!,
This review is from: Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project) (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? Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel-prize winner in economics, estimates a total cost to-date of Iraq II alone at about $2 trillion - includes ongoing veterans benefits, equipment repair, etc. Meanwhile, the U.S. is trying to militarize space - further adding to our military expenditures and indebtedness.
Finally, Johnson sees our military costs eventually bankrupting the U.S. (if our escalating trade deficit doesn't first), aka Rome.
Unfortunately, it all makes sense to me.
156 of 171 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important ideals and ideas,
This review is from: Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project) (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.
88 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anti - Imperialist,
" Colossus ", and apologist for Imperialism is nailed to the wall by Mr. Johnson. The misinformation and outright falsehood spouted by the Bush Admistration, and its allies in Congress, and the press, is thoroughly documented. The American Press has been a faithful ally in the effort to achieve American world hegemony.Dispite its tag as being " liberal " , the main Stream Media, has for the most part been pro - corporatist and nationalist, follies that would young men and woman are paying the price for today.The CIA is nothing but an arm of big - business and greed. To say such things is heresy, but it is the truth. It is about time Americans wake up and discover the truth about " America Spreading Freedom and Democracy. Mr Johnson points out how " free trade " cripped India. A must read !
60 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another veteran speaking against military fundamentalism.,
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's book "Stop Teaching Our Kids To Kill" goes into the details of how our youth are being indoctrinated to love authority and domination, as does Nick Turse's work on our military industrial info-tainment complex.
In many moments, Johnson feels hopeless; but he does see at least the potential for a largely inactive populace to become engaged citizens. He cited the programs he was recently interviewed on ("Democracy Now!" and "Air America") as examples of responsible media. He is also noting a much greater receptivity as he speaks at universities and bookstores. I share some of his pessimism, and one wonders if the Sopranos of the power elite will bring the hammer down on a mass popular movement, as they've brought it down on people throughout the world. But I keep in mind the wise words of another veteran, Howard Zinn, who said, "To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness . . . And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of present moments, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the brink of a military dictatorship,
For him, the heart of the matter is `military Keynesianism' (the US economy is mightily based on weapon manufacturing) and the goal of the military-intelligence community (full spectrum dominance over the world and in space).
But this imperial adventure is far too costly. The US spends more on armed forces than all other nations on earth combined, for more than 737 military bases in more than 130 countries. Also, space weapons are pure waste. A space shield doesn't work, because weapons cannot make a distinction between warheads and free floating space debris. `The neoconservative lobbyists are only interested in the staggering sums required.'
The US enormous military budget (of which 40 % is secret) is not paid by US taxpayers, but by foreign investors in US debt.
In the meantime, democracy is undermined. Chalmers Johnson doesn't see `any president or Congress standing up to the powerful vested interests of the Pentagon, the secret intelligence agencies and the military-industrial complex.' The separation of powers is becoming a dead letter. The legislative and the judicial branches have lost their independence.
The author is extremely hard for the current government, calling members of the Administration `desk-murderers'. For him, `putting the ruler above the law is the very definition of dictatorship.' Its TIA (Total Information Awareness) program `is the perfect US computer version of Gestapo and KGB files.' He is extremely angry with the US media, calling them `Pravda-like mouthpieces of the powerful.'
For him, what Congress really should do is abolish the CIA and remove all purely military functions from the Pentagon.
This hard-hitting book is more than a very solid warning. It is a must read for all those interested in the future of mankind.
For a view from the South, I highly recommend `Dilemmas of Domination' by Walden Bello.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Analysis Of Our Imperial System,
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you read only one book this year, let it be Nemesis,
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fearless insights,
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!,
This book should be required reading for every high school student.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (The American Empire Project) by Chalmers A. Johnson (Audio CD - February 2, 2007)