Is USA a Military Empire?




 
--
 
July 2nd, 2004  
FlyingFrog
 

Topic: Is USA a Military Empire?


I would say of course yes.

Here an interesting interview:

Dissing the Republic To Save It
A conversation with Chalmers Johnson
by Marc Cooper
http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/32/features-cooper.php
In the darkest days of the Cold War, UC Berkeley professor and sometimes
consultant to the CIA Chalmers Johnson heartily denounced anti-Vietnam War
protesters as misguided. Nowadays, Johnson is a hero to a new generation of
peace protesters. One of the most outspoken critics of the Bush
administration, his 2000 best-seller, Blowback, decried the boomerang effect
the U.S. suffered by supporting Islamic fundamentalists in the 1980s. And
his new volume, Sorrows of Empire, is a timely denunciation of the
militarization of American foreign policy. The L.A. Weekly's Marc Cooper
spoke with Johnson recently as he passed through Los Angeles.

L.A. WEEKLY: Your view of American policy has completely reversed itself
since the 1960s. But what about your feelings about your country? Can you
still be patriotic while being such a fierce critic?

CHALMERS JOHNSON: Of course! As Lord Byron said, "I would have saved them if
I could." I mean, I like living here. But I think we are trending like the
Soviet Union was in 1985. If I had said then that the Soviets were five
years away from extinction, you'd have said I had spent too much time
inhaling exotic substances around Berkeley.

L.A. WEEKLY: What provoked your political shift?

CHALMERS JOHNSON: After the Soviets, who I thought were a real threat,
collapsed, I expected a
much greater demobilization, a pullback of American troops, a real peace
dividend, a re-orienting of federal expenditures to domestic needs. Instead,
our government turned at once to find a replacement enemy: China, drugs,
terrorism, instability. Anything to justify this huge apparatus of the Cold
War structure.

L.A. WEEKLY: So where does that leave today's authentic patriots?

CHALMERS JOHNSON: The role of the citizen now is to be ever better informed.
When Benjamin
Franklin was asked, "What have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" he
replied: "A republic if you can keep it." We've not been paying attention to
what we need to do to keep it. I think we made a disastrous error in the
classic strategic sense when in 1991 we concluded that we "had won the Cold
War." No. We simply didn't lose it as badly as the Soviets did. We were both
caught up in imperial overreach, in weapons industries that came to dominate
our societies. We allowed ideologues to capture our Department of Defense
and lead us off - in a phrase they like - into a New Rome. We are no longer
a status quo power respectful of international law. We became a revisionist
power, one fundamentally opposed to the world as it is organized, much like
Nazi Germany, imperial Japan, Bolshevik Russia or Maoist China.

L.A. WEEKLY: Indeed, your thesis is that since September 11, the U.S. ceased
to be a
republic and has become an empire.

CHALMERS JOHNSON: It's an extremely open question if we have crossed our
Rubicon and there is no going back. Easily the most important right in our
Constitution,
according to James Madison, who wrote much of the document, is the one
giving the right to go to war exclusively to the elected representatives of
the people, to the Congress. Never, Madison continued, should that right be
given to a single man. But in October 2002, our Congress gave that power to
a single man, to exercise whenever he wanted, and with nuclear weapons if he
so chose. And the following March, without any international consultation or
legitimacy, he exercised that power by staging a unilateral attack on Iraq.

The Bill of Rights - articles 4 and 6 - are now open to question. Do people
really have the right to habeas corpus? Are they still secure in their homes
from illegal seizures? The answer for the moment is no. We have to wait and
see what the Supreme Court will rule as to the powers of this government
that it appointed.

You know from your study of history that when we traditionally speak of
empire, we have in mind the model of European colonialism - the Brits in
India, the French in Algeria and Indochina. Surely that's not what you mean
when you refer to an American empire.

By an American empire I mean 725 military bases in 138 foreign countries
circling the globe from Greenland to Asia, from Japan to Latin America. This
is a sort of base world - a secret, enclosed, separate world where our
half-million troops, contractors and spies live quite comfortably around the
world. I think that's an empire. Granted, the unit of European imperialism
was the colony. The unit of American imperialism is the military base.

These American bases are an outgrowth of U.S. containment policy from the
Cold War. What's their role now? Are they just pork? Or are they there to
defend U.S. investment?

What they don't do is defend U.S. security. They just grew, whether or not
they had or have strategic value. We have 101 bases today in Korea even
though the war has been over for 50 years. Once created, the military is
endlessly creative in finding new functions for them, long after their real
value has evaporated. This base world becomes part of the vested interest we
associate not with security but with militarism, the danger of the
military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned against.

L.A. WEEKLY: You're saying the real impetus here is more a self-perpetuating
military
bureaucracy rather than some grand rational strategy?

CHALMERS JOHNSON: Right. I think Eisenhower was right when he spoke of how
we didn't recognize the unwarranted power of the arms industry. You know, a
piece of the B-2 bomber is built in every one of the continental states.

L.A. WEEKLY: What are the costs of this empire to democracy and the
republic?

CHALMERS JOHNSON: There's the literal cost. We are flirting with bankruptcy.
We are not paying
for what is now a $750 billion tab. The defense appropriation itself is
about $420 billion. That doesn't include another $125 billion, which is the
cost of Afghanistan and Iraq. Then another $20 billion for nuclear weapons
in the Department of Energy. Add in another $200 billion or so for military
pensions and for health benefits for our veterans. Together, that's
three-quarters of a trillion dollars.

We are putting it on the tab, running up some of the most extraordinary
budget and trade deficits in history. If the bankers of Asia and Japan
should tire of financing this, if they notice the euro is now stronger than
the dollar, then all this ends - whether or not they like the Boy Emperor
from Crawford. We would face a terrible crisis.

The greater cost is what the public will lose, if they haven't already lost
it: the republic, the structural defense of our liberties, the separation of
powers to block the growth of a dictatorial presidency.

L.A. WEEKLY: But American history didn't begin on January 20, 2001, or on
9/11. Isn't
much of what you describe a situation that dates back a full century or
more? Why blame so much of this on George W. Bush?

CHALMERS JOHNSON: Yes, this goes back a long way - to Teddy Roosevelt
acquiring colonies from
the Spanish. But Bush dropped the mask. He comes out and says we are a New
Rome, we don't need the U.N. or any friends. We now put countries on hit
lists. Certainly, if there were some steering committee for an American
imperial project, it would consider Bill Clinton a much better imperial
president than George W. Bush. It's always better strategy to not show your
hand, to take an indirect approach but to know exactly where you are going.

L.A. WEEKLY: In a recent review of your book, leftist writer Ian Williams
chides you for
investing too much belief in the evil of the Bushies. Williams argues that,
looking at Iraq, one might conclude that rather than grand imperialists, the
Bush folks are instead spectacular screwups.

CHALMERS JOHNSON: Well, undoubtedly they bungled things in Iraq, from not
using enough troops
to misreading the intelligence, and there is more evidence of it every day.
But there was never a plan to leave Iraq because there is no intention of
leaving Iraq. We are currently building 14 bases there. Dick Cheney can't
imagine giving up that oil. And the military can't imagine giving up those
bases. That's why they can't come up with a plan to leave.

L.A. WEEKLY: Yet Bush's policies have provoked international and domestic
backlashes.
Does that make you hopeful?

CHALMERS JOHNSON: The political system alone can no longer save the
republic. Even if Congress wanted to exercise real oversight, how can it
when 40 percent of the
military budget is secret? All of the intelligence budget is secret. The
only hopeful sign I saw was a year ago when 10 million people demonstrated
in the streets for peace. We also saw the recent election in Spain as a
response to what is happening. If we can see that now in the U.S., in the
U.K., in Italy, then maybe we can have some hope. Otherwise we will soon be
talking about the short happy life of the American republic.

http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/32/features-cooper.php
July 2nd, 2004  
RnderSafe
 
 
The US a "Military Empire?"

Johnson used to have a lot of interesting things to say .. within the past few years, he's jumped in the ultra far leftwing tinfoil hat wearers wagon and has pretty much lost any credibility with me. His statements about US military members was enough to make him a no-show on my radar.

Thanks for posting it though, I love a good laugh.
July 3rd, 2004  
silent driller
 
 
Yep, pretty funny. We are not an "empire." We are simply the world's friggin police force. We are constantly getting in someone else's beezwax.
--
July 3rd, 2004  
c/Commander
 
 
The problem with the US is that apparently we can never do anything right. If we hadn't gone into Iraq, people would be yelling at us for leaving an evil dictator in power. When we did, people yelled at us for not having a reason to go to war. We just can't win.

To answer the question though, NO the US is not a military empire. We do not use our military to take and hold territory so therefore we are not an empire. Haha.
July 3rd, 2004  
FlyingFrog
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCDR_SurfWar
The problem with the US is that apparently we can never do anything right. If we hadn't gone into Iraq, people would be yelling at us for leaving an evil dictator in power.
But on the issue Iraq, I think most people and most countries were against USA's invasion to Iraq, but Bush still went his own way even ignoring United Nations.

In a democracy, there are always "these people" are for and and "those people" are against something, so there will always be people "yelling"
July 3rd, 2004  
FutureRANGER
 
 
Yea other countries opposed it... France... Germany... all them. Of course, they have nothing to do with it. They're not the ones being oppressed under a tyrannical regime, or the ones trying to spread peace and freedom throughout the world.
July 4th, 2004  
Damien435
 
 
The US is the closest thing to an empire still remaining in the World, the UK is not, one over seas colony in the Falkland Islands can not be considered an Empire, France still has a Foriegn Legion post in Africa and French Guinea, but that is all. We have Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and military bases all around the world. So if their is an Empire in this world it is the US.
July 4th, 2004  
Mark Conley
 
 
even with all the bases, and the islands we have as territory, and not full fledged states, id have to say the US is not a military empire. Id think if we were actually into empire building with our military, we wouldn't care to spend as much within those areas..by congressional mandate. We'd just simply use force to totally shut it all down, without one nickel spent on these countries we are in at all.

Now does our military protect US interests? In some cases, yes. Are we acting as some kind of world policeman? Id say yes. I don't see anyone else in the world that went in to mogadishu to stop the misplacement of food. Or go to the Sudan to stop libyan air attacks (what did we want in the sudan?). Or go to lebanon to try and stop their problems in 1982 (whats in lebanon that we'd want?). How about the time we had to go to lebanon in 1961. What was that all about? or any of the other places around the world we just go to? Bosnia. Serbia. greece in 1946-50. Somehow, our congress and our president have always found something for us to do. I guess to keep them self occupied between wars, the Foreign Leigon built roads and forts. With the US, I guess its being a policeman

Policeman yes. But a military empire? No.
July 4th, 2004  
Uncle_Sam
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Conley
even with all the bases, and the islands we have as territory, and not full fledged states, id have to say the US is not a military empire. Id think if we were actually into empire building with our military, we wouldn't care to spend as much within those areas..by congressional mandate. We'd just simply use force to totally shut it all down, without one nickel spent on these countries we are in at all.

Now does our military protect US interests? In some cases, yes. Are we acting as some kind of world policeman? Id say yes. I don't see anyone else in the world that went in to mogadishu to stop the misplacement of food. Or go to the Sudan to stop libyan air attacks (what did we want in the sudan?). Or go to lebanon to try and stop their problems in 1982 (whats in lebanon that we'd want?). How about the time we had to go to lebanon in 1961. What was that all about? or any of the other places around the world we just go to? Bosnia. Serbia. greece in 1946-50. Somehow, our congress and our president have always found something for us to do. I guess to keep them self occupied between wars, the Foreign Leigon built roads and forts. With the US, I guess its being a policeman

Policeman yes. But a military empire? No.
Correct.....
What kind of a s.. err.... question is that? To be empire, you first have to have an emperor I would rather say some eastern countries were & want to be empires, but US just don't let them be
July 4th, 2004  
FlyingFrog
 
Quote:
To be empire, you first have to have an emperor I would rather say some eastern countries were & want to be empires, but US just don't let them be


USA must hurry up a bit otherwise being overtaken by new powers then cannot stop them anymore