A PARAMOUNT NECESSITY
CIA analyst and distinguished scholar, Chalmers Johnson, has recently completed
a trilogy on the economic and military overreach of the United States. The title
of the third book is "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic." |
first two books, "Blowback" and "The Sorrows of Empire," argues that American
clandestine and military activity overseas has led to a direct disaster here in
the United States. Unintended, but harmful to the country's future. |
used "Nemesis" for the title of the latest book because "Nemesis was the ancient
Greek god of revenge, the punisher of hubris and arrogance in human beings."
| If you recall your
Greek mythology you know that she (Nemesis) is the one that led Narcissus to the
pond and showed him his reflection, whereupon he jumped in and drowned. |
title to Johnson means she's present in our county right now, "just waiting to
carry out her divine mission."
He continues his C-SPAN interview by stressing
the subtitle, "The Last Days of the American Republic," "is not just hype to sell
books. ...I'm here concerned with a very real, concrete problem in political analysis,
namely that the political system of the United States today, history tells us,
is one of the most unstable combinations there is --- domestic democracy and foreign
empire. A nation can be one of the other, a democracy or an imperialist, but can't
As illustrative of this thought, look at the former British
Empire, upon which the sun never sat. After the defeat of the tyrannical German
Nazi empire, it became evident that their world of money-making colonies were
waking up. They found their voice and began seeking to keep their riches at home
and to rule themselves.
Across the colonies of Africa and India, Britain's
crown jewel of a colony, the masses would no longer be subjected to foreign masters.
"They wanted their country back," to use a phrase now constantly misused in TAT
sessions (Teabagger Astro-Turfers). (Same simplistic thought as the odd saying
we will be hearing again in a couple of months: "Put Jesus back in Christmas."
For the uninformed, Jesus never left.)
The Germans lost most of their
colonies after World War I. But the
Dutch in Indonesia, the French in Vietnam, Spain in Cuba and the Philippines,
and the British (everywhere) were slow to see the writing on the wall. None of
these empires prepared their colonies how to rule themselves. Blame the empires,
not the former colonies that continue to have dictators, revenge and war.
Kenya had one government official of lower rank when Britain fled. The French
Foreign Legion had to be defeated on the battle field to leave Indo-China. Unfortunately,
the US government sided with the Dutch, French and British during those years
of transition. After Ho Chi minh defeated the French, pictures of Harry Truman
were in their victory parades in Hanoi. They liked the USA in 1954.
empire builders learned that to retain their colonies and economic paradises,
they would have to become more imperial than democratic. They would have to dictate
more and more to their far-flung money-makers. Democracy and dictators don't go
For further reference look up the 1953 American-led covert
ousting of Iran's freely elected Mossadegh and putting the Shah back on the throne
which brought 25 years of terror for the Iranians.
America is in danger
of becoming less democratic and more imperialistic with such an attitude as "we
always know best." It is evident this did not begin with the 2008 presidential
election. It has been building steam since the 1950s, from Iran to Guatemala and
back again. We tried to save Korea by force from the Communist. Half a century
later our Armed Forces are still there, as they are in 737 military bases on every
Our government began placing military bases all over the world.
Very few nations have ask us to leave. The "chosen" countries liked the income
from Uncle Sam. These overseas bases, over the last half century have cost the
tax payers umpteen trillions of dollars; while not adding not a single good thing
to our overseas image.
To maintain an empire requires the making of munitions,
machines, equipment and a lot of 18-year olds. The cost of today's huge military-industrial-congress
complex is not known. A smattering of the government budget is known, but the
complete totals will never be known.
We need to re-read President George
Washington's farewell address. He said that the great enemy of the republic was
a standing army. (This is read at the opening of the first session of every Congress.
Doesn't seem to have made an impression on the politicians.)
powers of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of our government are
meant to keep a check on each other. Oversight is impossible with an imperial
presidency. President Dwight Eisenhower, with very undiplomatic language, gave
the same message as George Washington. Lack of oversight has led to our present
A friend at church urged me to continue writing these pieces.
He confessed my writing sometimes causes his blood pressure to go up, but it makes
him think. That is all I wish to accomplish, make us think more and more often.
the Way with Britt
November 8, 2009 Column
Britt Towery, author of "Along the Way," welcomes comments.