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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Imperialism Via Globalization

"Proponents of globalism, particularly American academic economists and political scientists, cling to it with religious fervor . . . . Many otherwise sober business and political leaders in the United States have been carried away by globalization's messianic claims. This phenomenon, too, is not new. Classical liberalism blinded no small number of Englishmen to the racism, genocide, and ruthless exploitation that accompanied the growth of the British Empire. As Hannah Arendt remarked about that earlier period of market worship: 'The fact that the "white man's burden" is either hypocrisy or racism has not prevented a few of the best Englishmen from shouldering the burden in earnest and making themselves the tragic and quixotic fools of imperialism.' It is critically important to understand that the doctrine of globalism is a kind of intellectual sedative that lulls and distracts its Third World victims while rich countries cripple them, ensuring that they will never be able to challenge the imperial powers. . . . THERE IS NO KNOWN CASE IN WHICH GLOBALIZATION HAS LED TO PROSPERITY IN ANY THIRD WORLD COUNTRY [emphasis supplied], and none of the world's twenty-four reasonably developed capitalist nations, regardless of their ideological explanations, got where they are by following any of the prescriptions contained in globalization doctrine. What globalization has produced, in the words of de Rivero, is not NICs (newly industrialized countries) but about 130 NNEs (nonviable national economies) or, even worse, UCEs (ungovernable chaotic entities). There is occasional evidence that this result is precisely what the authors of globalization intended. In 1841, the prominent German political economist Friedrich List (who had immigrated to America) wrote in his masterpiece, The National System of Political Economy, 'It is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up, in order to deprive others of the means of climbing up after him.' Much of modern Anglo-American economics and all of the theory of globalization are attempts to disguise this kicking away of the ladder."

C. Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire, pp. 261-62.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Huge Concentration of Troops in Japan

"[T]he Spanish-American War [1898] first set us on our modern path of imperialism. Some of the bases we acquired at that time--Guantànamo Bay, Pearl Harbor, Guam--are still overseas military outposts or are on territories that we later directly annexed . . . . It was was not until World War II that our empire of bases achieved its global reach, and the United States still seems to regard its continuing occupation of the territory of its former Axis foes as something akin to a natural birthright. The Korean War, though ended in a stalemate, nonetheless projected us onto the Asian mainland . . . . According to the Pentagon's September 2001 Base Status Report, the United States has seventy-three bases in Japan. These bases house some 40,217 uniformed service personnel, plus 6,431 civilian employees of the Department of Defense and 42,653 dependents . . . . The Japanese government pays us some $4 billion per annum to help defray the costs . . . making Japan perhaps the only country that pays another country to carry out espionage against itself. The troops on these bases have no military functions. They have been held in reserve for deployment elsewhere in Asia--in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, the Philippines, East Timor, and other places--as the need (or opportunity) arises."

C. Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire, pp. 189, 202.

Monday, July 13, 2009

U.S. Military Empire & Public Awareness

In The Sorrows of Empire, Chalmers Johnson writes that U.S. military bases in Israel "are known simply as Sites 51, 53, and 54. Their specific locations are classified and highly sensitive. There is no mention of American military bases in Israel in any of the Department of Defense's official compilations . . . . [O]ur own nation is filled with military installations--there are 969 separate bases in the fifty states . . . . The modern American empire can only be perceived, and understood, by a close look at our basing policies, the specific way we garrison the earth. To trace the historical patterns of base acquisition and to explore our basing systems worldwide is to reveal the sinews of what has until very recently, for most Americans, been a largely hidden empire [pp. 153, 188]."

So that's 900 military installations in the U.S. and some 800 abroad [Blowback, p. 36].

One had no idea. This is a huge phenomenon. And one reads the NYTimes on a regular basis and watches the corporate media virtually every night.

Totally in the dark.

Thank God one's local community access TV station broadcast an interview with Chalmers Johnson. The extent to which the corporate media fail to deliver crucial information to the American public is astonishing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"I don't know, sir, but I'll find out."

"Given that many of our bases around the world are secret, that some are camouflaged by flags of convenience, and that many consist of multiple distinct installations, how can anyone assess accurately the scope and value of our military empire? It is not easy. If the Secretary of Defense were to ask his closest aides with the highest security clearances how many bases abroad he had under his control, they would have to reply, using an old naval officers' cop-out, 'I don't know, sir, but I'll find out.' "

C. Johnson, Sorrows of Empire, p. 152-53.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mercenaries & U.S. Foreign Policy

"[T]he [estimated] revenues of the private military companies [i.e., mercenaries like Blackwater], which were at $55.6 billion in 1990, will rise to $202 billion by 2010. The companies even have their own industry trade group, the International Peace Operations Association--a name George Orwell would have cherished . . . . Much of this privatization of our armed forces is actually deeply disliked by uniformed professionals. As Colonel Bruce Grant notes, 'Privatization is a way of going around Congress [i.e., avoiding Congressional oversight] and not telling the public [about the nature of military operations being conducted by these firms]. Foreign policy is made by default by private military consultants motivated by bottom-line profits.' "

C. Johnson, Sorrows of Empire, pp. 141-42.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An American President Said That?

Bush Junior to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post:

"I'm the commander--see, I don't need to explain--I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

Sorrows of Empire, pp. 291-92.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

An Empire of Military Bases

In Blowback: The Costs & Consequences of American Empire (New York: Henry Holt, 2000), Chalmers Johnson comments that "Globalization seems to boil down to the spread of poverty to every country but the United States" (p.214) and notes that "There are still today, ten years after the end of the Cold War, some eight hundred Department of Defense facilities located outside the United States, ranging from radio relay stations to major air bases (p.36)."

Shouldn't the number of American military bases located abroad have decreased as a result of the end of the Cold War?

Eisenhower's words ring ominously in one's ears.

U.S. Foreign Policy: Diplomacy or Gunfights?

In the Sorrows of Empire, Chalmers Johnson notes that "the Pentagon's budget is almost twenty times larger than the State Department's" (p. 137); that "Since 1991, the United States has been by far the largest single seller of munitions on the earth. From 1997 to 2001, it exported $44.82 billions in arms ...."(p. 133); that "The General Accounting Office has identified at least 185 black programs [i.e., covert operations abroad whose budgets are kept secret] and notes that they have increased eightfold during the 1981-1986 period. There is no authoritative total, but the GAO once estimated that $30 to $35 billion per year [!!!] was devoted to secret military and intelligence spending" (p.118); points out that by using depleted uranium [DU] ammunition "the military is deliberately flouting a 1996 United Nations resolution that classified DU ammunition as an illegal weapon of mass destruction" (p.101); and concludes that "One certain legacy of the war in Iraq is that American political and military leaders can no longer be believed or trusted" (p. 95).