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In Blowback, published before 9/11, Chalmers Johnson warned that secret U.S. operations in Iraq and elsewhere around the globe would exact a price at home. Now, in a series of essays written over the last three years, Johnson measures that price and the resulting dangers America faces as its power wanes. The nation's reliance on Pentagon economics, a global empire of bases, and war without end is, he declares, nothing short of "a suicide option."
Dismantling the Empire explores the subjects for which Johnson is now famous, from the origins of blowback to Barack Obama's Afghanistan conundrum, including inept spies, bad behavior in other countries, ill-fought wars, and capitulation to a military that has taken ever more control of the federal budget. There is, he proposes, only one way out: President Obama must begin to dismantle the empire before the Pentagon dismantles the American Dream. If the nation does not learn from the fates of past empires, he suggests, its decline and fall are foreordained. This is Johnson at his best: delivering both a warning and an urgent prescription for a remedy.
THE SUICIDE OPTION
During the last years of the Clinton administration I was in my mid-sixties, retired from teaching Asian international relations at the University of California and deeply bored by my specialty, Japanese politics. It seemed that Japan would continue forever as a docile satellite of the United States, a safe place to park tens of thousands of American troops, as well as ships and aircraft , all ready to assert American hegemony over the entire Pacific region. I was then in the process of rethinking my research and determining where I should go nex