Prophet For A Dying Empire – Chalmers Johnson
Every dying Empire has its truth telling prophet and America had its own with Chalmers Johnson. Johnson correctly compared the decay of the American empire, with its well over 600 overseas military bases, with the fall of the Roman Empire whereas the Senate becomes a wealthy corporate club and irrelevant compared to the ruling Military Industrial Congressional Complex
Chalmers Johnson was a truth teller and prophet in a political environment where few would stand up to the interests and secrecy of the Pentagon and the intelligence community ~ and since his passing in November of 2010, many of his prophetic fears have been realized in the Obama administration.
Johnson, author of Blowback, Sorrows of Empire and Nemesis,The Last Days of the American Republic, talks in this video interview about the similarities in the decline of the Roman and Soviet empires and the signs that the U.S. empire is exhibiting the very same symptoms ~ overextension, corruption and the inability to reform. ( Watch at least the first 20 minutes)
Johnson’ s main points were; The United States is treading the same three steps as the former Soviet Union;
- Inability to deal with corporate corruption.
- Imperial over-stretch is leading to fiscal insolvency ( 600 plus bases throughout the world )
- Inability to reform, thus accelerating the inevitable fall.
Chalmers offered the solution but suspected that it was already too late for America; ( with my inserts )
- Reform Congress ( Good luck )
- Reform corrupt election laws ( good luck )
- Re-division of electoral college ( good luck )
- Cutback funding of intelligence agencies and department of the defense and take steps to break up the Military Industrial Congressional Complex. ( more good luck )
Chalmers expected considerable resistance but also said that only the truth could avoid the inevitable fall of the American empire ~ as it did in bringing down the Soviet Union.
Thus, only the role of the alternative media in exposing the truth can rescue a crumbling Republic that has rapidly become a corrupt plutocracy.
It is my opinion, that there is one central truth that can bring down America’s Berlin wall of denial along with the deceit of the War on Terror ~ it’s the big, big lie and America’s greatest act of treason, it’s the rationale for the cloak of secrecy, torture, Guantanamo and illegal spying that now erodes our Republic ~ it’s the monstrous lie of 9/11 along with its unchallenged official story.
America’s present day prophet for our dying empire is Chris Hedges (America In the Time of Empire) who wrote in 2007 that all great empires or nations decay from within ~ “By the time they hobble off the world stage, overrun by the hordes at the gates or vanishing quietly into the pages of history books, what made them successful and powerful no longer has relevance. This rot takes place over decades, as with the Soviet Union, or, even longer, as with the Roman, Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian empires. It is often imperceptible…. and it all amounts to a tacit complicity on the part of a passive population. This permits the oligarchy to squander capital and lives. It creates a world where we speak exclusively in the language of violence. It has plunged us into an endless cycle of war and conflict that is draining away the vitality, resources and promise of the nation … It signals the twilight of our empire.”
Tom Engelhardt (tomdispatch.com) who knew Chalmers well and featured almost all of Johnson’s essays offered a fitting eulogy to Chalmers shortly after he died; “In the introduction to his final book, Dismantling the Empire, America’s Last Best Hope (just out in paperback), he took up a recurring topic of interest to him: “the choice between republic and empire,” and the way “our imperial dreams stretch our means to the breaking point and threaten our future.” Among “the alternatives available to us as a nation,” he wrote, “we are choosing what I call the suicide option.” He added that ” it might not have to be this way ~ that we could still move in a different direction.” Those were, in a sense, his last words. How true they remain three and a half months after his death.”
But that was two years ago and it is obvious that we are still choosing the suicide option ~ especially now as we escalate our proxy war to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and put the world on the brink of a major international war.
It is also obvious that in an Empire the people are not only considered ‘Barbarians’ and not to be trusted with the truth ~ but they are also expendable and secondary to the aims of the Empire.
Chalmers’s wife, Sheila Johnson, eulogized this true rebel and his work in early 2011 ~ “In going through my husband’s files, books, and papers after his death, I’ve been forcibly struck by two things. First, contrary to what many of his obituaries said, his writings and thoughts were remarkably consistent throughout his life. In other words, he was not a right-winger who became more liberal and outspoken as he got older. More than most people suspected, he was a radical all along, whose intellectual impulses were tempered only by his birth in the Depression year of 1931 and his determination to make a decent living without “joining the establishment” See article
Chalmers Johnson summarized the true intent of his The Sorrows of Empire in the final chapter of Nemesis; “The Sorrows of Empire was written during the American preparations for and launching of the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. I began to study our continuous military buildup since World War II and the 737 military bases we currently maintain in other people’s countries. This empire of bases is the concrete manifestation of our global hegemony, and many of the blowback-inducing wars we have conducted had as their true purpose the sustaining and expanding of this network. We do not think of these overseas deployments as a form of empire; in fact, most Americans do not give them any thought at all until something truly shocking, such as the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, brings them to our attention. But the people living next door to these bases and dealing with the swaggering soldiers who brawl and sometimes rape their women certainly think of them as imperial enclaves, just as the people of ancient Iberia or nineteenth-century India knew that they were victims of foreign colonization.”
In other words, Chalmers Johnson was one of those crazy truth tellers who thought they could change the world ~ and guess what, I’m also one of them and quite often they do change the world and maybe even save a dying Empire. 3 Minute video ~
About the Author: Allen L Roland is a Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist. He is also a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his web site at AllenRoland.com. He also guest hosts a Truthtalk, a national radio show that airs monthly. He is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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