- Series: American Empire Project
- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1st edition (February 6, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805079114
- ISBN-13: 978-0805079111
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 112 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (American Empire Project) Hardcover – February 6, 2007
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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.
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
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Chalmers Johnson was one of the first Americans to recognize that our actions will have repercussions and he coined the term "blowback". This book is a good introduction to his thinking and will help broaden the perspective and add to the understanding of those with an open mind. I appreciate that having an open mind is not at all common in the United States where bigotry rules the day. It is far easier for the elites to control a population when they are able to set one faction against another.
Nemesis covers a range of topics to support Johnson's primary thesis and warning.
First, he points out how militarism may contribute to the breakdown of constitutional government. Johnson supplies many examples but history could certainly provide more including the downfall of Napoleon III.
Second, Johnson compares the American Empire with the Roman and British Empires. Actually Johnson's thesis is one of hope and optimism for he relates how Rome was unable to turn from military imperialistic goals and restore a republic yet Great Britian was able to gradually lose an empire but strengthen its democratic and republican political structures. The American people however are not ready for this message from Johnson and therefore it must fall to a few insightful folks to steer America to a stronger committment to democratic republic principles as a series of economic crisis begin to remind Americans that we are not invulnerable.
Third, Johnson offers us a biting criticism of the CIA with its lack of performance and accountability.
Fourth, the expansive network of military bases and the wide claims of our military industrial complex are explored.
Fifth, Johnson offers the most original analysis and critique of the Star Wars program that I have seen in print. This chapter is worth the price of the book.
Finally, Johnson offers hope in that an empowered citizen body in the US must constantly monitor the processes and activities of our government. The issues are tremendously complex and thankfully we have political scientists such as Chalmers Johnson who are willing to do the hard work of putting all the puzzle pieces together to provide us a clear picture of a disturbing future unless we strengthen America's democratic republic roots and decrease the power of an imperial presidency and a government run in secret.
verifiable facts. His experience is unquestionable and he brings real life situations to bear on many of his conclusions.
His book should be read and reread by all Americans that care about their nation and the survival of our way of life . President Eisenhower
gave the American People a direct warning about the military/industrial complex in his farewell speech . Chalmers Johnson shows us the details
and outcomes of our folly with militarism .
These warnings and real life examples are more relevant now than when he wrote the book . I'm afraid that our current economic situation
was well predicted in Johnson's three book trilogy . Blowback , The Pains of Empire and Nemesis are books worth reading.