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The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed Paperback – April 1, 2008
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"The Empire Has No Clothes is an excellent contribution to the debate on the Bush Doctrine of waging preventive wars, maintaining hegemony, and spreading democracy by force." —Lawrence J. Korb, former assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Defense
About the Author
Ivan Eland is senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute. His articles have appeared in such publications as the Chicago Sun-Times, Newsday, and USA Today, and he has appeared on the BBC, CNN, Radio Free Europe, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and World News Tonight. He is the author of The Efficacy of Economic Sanctions as a Foreign Policy Tool.
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The U.S. now has more than 700 military bases throughout the world, and maintains a significant position in NATO, an organization centered in Europe where the EU has the world's 2nd largest economy, but uses the US military as its security shield. Nice. And Japan uses us as their defense force while penetrating our economy and buying American domestic assets to our great detriment. Gee, the only thing made in America any more are its women and then increasingly by foreigners. But in the meantime we become the world's mercenary police force unfortunately paid by ourselves on behalf of others.
So the argument goes: we need Hawaii to protect the West Coast. Then Okinawa and Guam to protect Hawaii. Then Japanese bases to protect Okinawa. Then troops in South Korea to protect Japan and South Korea. Is there no end to this lunacy? I guess so -- only when we have troops all over the world to isolate any seemingly hostile country at its own borders. The problem, of course, is not only can we not afford this, it's that no other country agrees we need to do it. So by our own actions, we set ourselves up as the power to be defeated. And history proves that day will not be long in coming. Almost all empires have not lasted longer than 250 years -- (for us that would be 2039 at the latest.)
The author makes so many good points that it would take another book to recount them. But for example, he makes the case that Truman, Johnson and Bush I claimed the authority as President to take the U.S. into war. However, the pesky Constitution specifically states that the President is only the Commander-in-Chief, and that only Congress has the power to declare war. In addition, the people have the right to keep and bear arms for their own defense -- yet empire-mongering presidents have sought to eliminate that troublesome feature in the Constitution bit by bit to create subjects out of citizens. And on and on.
Everyone should read this book and ponder the ideas within. Author Eland has much to say, and there is much to learn here. The reader should not let himself be swept along by media propaganda to the downfall of the U.S. Even if I don't agree with all of the author's points, they still bear careful scrutiny and consideration. The reader will be the better for reading this work.
Oh, this review is based on the Updated Edition of 2008.
Eland is Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in California. Though his political philosophy differs significantly from mine, this book provides sound arguments against American imperialism that he manages to justify from both sides of American party politics. The general thrust of his writing is similar to Chalmers Johnson's (in fact, he references Johnson frequently), though the book focuses less on militarism and the loss of freedom and more on the general - and frighteningly, now commonly accepted - idea of an American Empire. A must-read for anyone looking for justification to forge a strong political movement for the dismantling of our empire.
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