From the author of the prophetic national bestseller Blowback, a startling look at militarism, American style, and its consequences abroad and at home
In the years after the Soviet Union imploded, the United States was described first as the globe's "lone superpower," then as a "reluctant sheriff," next as the "indispensable nation," and now, in the wake of 9/11, as a "New Rome." Here, Chalmers Johnson thoroughly explores the new militarism that is transforming America and compelling its people to pick up the burden of empire.
Reminding us of the classic warnings against militarism—from George Washington's farewell address to Dwight Eisenhower's denunciation of the military-industrial complex—Johnson uncovers its roots deep in our past. Turning to the present, he maps America's expanding empire of military bases and the vast web of services that supports them. He offers a vivid look at the new caste of professional warriors who have infiltrated multiple branches of government, who classify as "secret" everything they do, and for whom the manipulation of the military budget is of vital interest.
Among Johnson's provocative conclusions is that American militarism is putting an end to the age of globalization and bankrupting the United States, even as it creates the conditions for a new century of virulent blowback. The Sorrows of Empire suggests that the former American republic has already crossed its Rubicon—with the Pentagon leading the way.
This timely book from accomplished historian Johnson (Blowback) collects previously published articles that make succinct, hard-hitting attacks on what the author perceives as America's ruinous imperial follies. Johnson is especially critical of the U.S. penchant for covert operations run by the CIA "the president's private army" and its enthrallment to what Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex. For Johnson, the country's devotion to the "military Keynesianism" ascendant since WWII has not only caused untold and unnecessary damage at home and abroad but is "a form of slow economic suicide." His proposal to abolish the CIA and sell off the more than 700 military bases around the world may sound fanciful, but, Johnson insists, "Change is in the air." Indeed, he's no voice in the wilderness: recent movements across the Congressional aisle to drastically curb Pentagon spending suggest a new and serious attempt to address the problem so compellingly presented here.