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Author Topic: Empires and Democracies
Jerry West
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Babbler # 1545

posted 31 January 2007 01:16 PM      Profile for Jerry West   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
An informative article for those interested in international relations and why we have wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other things:

quote:

History tells us that one of the most unstable political combinations is a country—like the United States today—that tries to be a domestic democracy and a foreign imperialist. Why this is so can be a very abstract subject. Perhaps the best way to offer my thoughts on this is to say a few words about my new book, Nemesis , and explain why I gave it the subtitle, "The Last Days of the American Republic." Nemesis is the third book to have grown out of my research over the past eight years. I never set out to write a trilogy on our increasingly endangered democracy, but as I kept stumbling on ever more evidence of the legacy of the imperialist pressures we put on many other countries as well as the nature and size of our military empire, one book led to another.

Professionally, I am a specialist in the history and politics of East Asia. In 2000, I published Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire , because my research on China, Japan and the two Koreas persuaded me that our policies there would have serious future consequences. The book was noticed at the time, but only after 9/11 did the CIA term I adapted for the title—"blowback"—become a household word and my volume a bestseller.

I had set out to explain how exactly our government came to be so hated around the world. As a CIA term of tradecraft, "blowback" does not just mean retaliation for things our government has done to, and in, foreign countries. It refers specifically to retaliation for illegal operations carried out abroad that were kept totally secret from the American public. These operations have included the clandestine overthrow of governments various administrations did not like, the training of foreign militaries in the techniques of state terrorism, the rigging of elections in foreign countries, interference with the economic viability of countries that seemed to threaten the interests of influential American corporations, as well as the torture or assassination of selected foreigners. The fact that these actions were, at least originally, secret meant that when retaliation does come—as it did so spectacularly on September 11, 2001—the American public is incapable of putting the events in context. Not surprisingly, then, Americans tend to support speedy acts of revenge intended to punish the actual, or alleged, perpetrators. These moments of lashing out, of course, only prepare the ground for yet another cycle of blowback....


Link to full article


From: Gold River, BC | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
siren
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Babbler # 7470

posted 31 January 2007 03:06 PM      Profile for siren     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Interesting article. Johnson published a similar essay in January's edition of Harper's.

The thesis is that America hovers between democracy and imperialism and one or the other must be repudiated. Obviously Johnson favours the repudiation of empire and the assertion of democracy. He sees no means of asserting this democracy other than in the economic collapse of American which will result in the collapse of empire and resurgence of democracy. (If I'm reading it correctly.)

Barring military coups, popular democratic uprisings, etc. economic collapse is a given, Johnson seems to say:

quote:
So my own hope is that—if the American people do not find a way to choose democracy over empire—at least our imperial venture will end not with a nuclear bang but a financial whimper....

I wonder though, has Johnson not heard of deep integration and the rise of the Amero? It seems to me this is another way out for America, a way to keep the illusion of democracy at home and empire abroad: Canadian natural wealth, Mexican cheap labour and American -- uh, ingenuity?

Surely the author is aware of deep integration plans? Perhaps he feels that the atmosphere of America is so poisoned no Canadian leader in their right might would hitch their wagon to America's train wreck. If so, he just might be underestimating PM Harper's devotion to the neo-conservative agenda.

I know little to nothing about how Mexicans and the Mexican government feel about the deep integration concept. Perhaps someone who reads/speaks Spanish can weigh in on their perspective.


From: Of course we could have world peace! But where would be the profit in that? | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 31 January 2007 04:30 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's a great name for an American (i.e., US) website. It never ceases to amaze me how many USians don't even know of Tom Paine or his writings and deeds. Paine, for example, is credited with NAMING the United States of America. However, two and a half centuries later he is still too radical for many. BTW, it was Paine's birthday two day ago on the 29th of January.

Thomas Paine at 69. Paine was the author of Common Sense (he invented the term), The Rights of Man, and other important works that were crucial to developing the intellectual climate for the War of Independence and the freeing of the American Colonies.

[ 31 January 2007: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Jerry West
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Babbler # 1545

posted 31 January 2007 04:52 PM      Profile for Jerry West   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Another article on this issue:

The Anti-War March on Washington: The Real Issue Is Empire


From: Gold River, BC | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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Babbler # 4140

posted 31 January 2007 06:15 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A few other points from the first article on "Empire Vs. Democracy' by Chalmers Johnson:

* there are now 737American military bases maintained around the world;

* we now station over half a million U.S. troops, spies, contractors, dependents, and others on military bases located in more than 130 countries, many of them presided over by dictatorial regimes that have given their citizens no say in the decision to let us in.

It looks like "empire" is winning.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged

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