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"my country is launched on a dangerous path that it must abandon or else face the consequences",
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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.
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Initial post: Nov 9, 2010 7:53:27 PM PST
Marcia V. Riquelme says:
If you study recent U.S. history, let's say starting with our takeover of the Manila in the days of Mark Twain, and continue to date, you should see that Chalmers Johnson is not biased. Not at all. It is difficult to accept that we are the rogue nation not only of the western hemisphere but have and still are running roughshod over every nation which has resources we want to have a strong hand in controlling. This is my simplistic, ultra brief analysis, but I am also a student (many long years) of international affairs as they pertain to the actions of my dear nation, and I have gotten over the grieving and faced the reality. Out of conscience. Have had to let go of my idealistic wish to embrace and accept my nation embarrassing global reach as something positive. For the most part we have overstepped ourselves and are now paying for it. I could give you a bibliography that dates as far back as 1885, and periodicals on microfilm, unsealed data from the Library of Congress files of the Congressional Record. The pattern of our deceit about what we were doing overseas began back that far, really further, and has not substantially changed. I love the people of this nation, but we are provincial and ignorant about what sordid and ugly escapades we send our youthful troops on, and whose pockets their sacrifice help line. It is unconscionable, and we need to be patriotic in the effort to clean up our act. Bias, no, Chalmers Johnson sees us clearly, and we need many great chroniclers of history like him to speak loudly and often regarding the knowledge he has gathered. He is honest, clear, thorough, and wise.
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