Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Voluntarily lowering the flag on the American Empire

An excerpt of an article by Chalmers Johnson

[America finds itself in] August of 2010 with guns blazing in one war in Afghanistan, even as we try to extricate ourselves from another in Iraq. I wish I had a crystal ball to peer into and see what historians will make of August in 2060.

Let me begin by asking: What harm would befall the United States if we actually decided, against all odds, to close those hundreds and hundreds of bases, large and small, that we garrison around the world?  What if we actually dismantled our empire, and came home? Would Genghis Khan-like hordes descend on us?  Not likely.  Neither a land nor a sea invasion of the U.S. is even conceivable.

Would 9/11-type attacks accelerate?  It seems far likelier to me that, as our overseas profile shrank, the possibility of such attacks would shrink with it.

The main fears you might hear in Washington — if anyone even bothered to wonder what would happen, should we begin to dismantle our empire — would prove but chimeras.  They would, in fact, be remarkably similar to Washington’s dire predictions in the 1970s about states all over Asia, then Africa, and beyond falling, like so many dominoes, to communist domination if we did not win the war in Vietnam.

We would still be a large and powerful nation-state with a host of internal and external problems. An immigration and drug crisis on our southern border, soaring health-care costs, a weakening education system, an aging population, an aging infrastructure, an unending recession — none of these are likely to go away soon, nor are any of them likely to be tackled in a serious or successful way as long as we continue to spend our wealth on armies, weapons, wars, global garrisons, and bribes for petty dictators.

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One Response to “Voluntarily lowering the flag on the American Empire”

  1. More from Chalmers Johnson:

    Thirty-five years from now, America’s official century (say from 1945-2045) of being top dog will have come to an end; its time may, in fact, be running out right now.

    We are likely to begin to look ever more like a giant version of England at the end of its imperial run, as we come face-to-face with, if not necessarily to terms with, our aging infrastructure, declining international clout, and sagging economy.

    If, however, we were to dismantle our empire of military bases and redirect our economy toward productive, instead of destructive, industries; if we maintained our volunteer armed forces primarily to defend our own shores if we began to invest in our infrastructure, education, health care, and savings, then we might have a chance to reinvent ourselves as a productive, normal nation.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. Peering into that foggy future, I simply can’t imagine the U.S. dismantling its empire voluntarily.


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