Is the American Empire on the Brink of Collapse?
U.S. military expert Chalmers Johnson argues the catastrophe in Iraq and the staggering cost of running a military that stretches across 130 countries on 737 bases may finally cost America its empire.
Karlin: When Bush says we have to accomplish the mission, or Cheney says we have to achieve victory, the question hangs out there as to what our mission is now? And what could possibly be victory in these circumstances? To them, mission or victory mainly means that we are perceived as winning and Iraq remains under our control.
Johnson: I believe that’s absolutely true. It’s one of the reasons why we didn’t have a withdrawal strategy from Iraq — we didn’t intend to leave. […]
Karlin: In Nemesis you draw comparisons to the Roman empire. As you point out, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, we became the most powerful nation, at least in our self-perception. But in terms of our economy, we are at the mercy of all the countries that are keeping our economy afloat through loans. Militarily, we have the most powerful weapons, but this seems to have done nothing for us in Iraq.
Johnson: Nothing at all. In fact, sticking to Iraq just for a moment, one of the most absurd things is the fact that we have a defense budget that’s larger than all other defense budgets on earth. This army of 150,000 troops that we’ve sent to Iraq — a country with the GDP of Louisiana, I’d say — they’ve been stopped by 20,000 insurgents. This is a scandal and a discrediting of the military, the Pentagon, and the strategies we’ve pursued.
Karlin: What will collapse first in America, according to your scenario, in the last days of the American republic?
Johnson: […] If you had asked me what I think actually will happen — and again, I cannot foresee the future — the economic news encourages me in this thought. I believe we will stagger along under the façade of constitutional government until we’re overtaken by bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will not mean the literal end of the United States, any more than it did for Germany in 1923, or China in 1948, or Argentina just a few years ago, for 2001 and 2002.
But it would mean a catastrophic shake up of the society, which could conceivably usher in revolution, given the interests that would be damaged in this. It would mean virtually the disappearance of all American influence in international affairs. The rest of the world would be greatly affected, but it would begin to overcome it. We probably would not.
That’s what I think is the most likely development, given the profligacy of our government in spending money that it doesn’t have, in borrowing it from the Chinese and the Japanese, and the defense budgets that are simply serving the interest of the military-industrial complex.
Previously in this blog:
When An Economy Crashes, Baby, There Are No Airbags!
And Then Google’s Stock Finally Thank You Jesus Crashes And Takes The Entire Global Economy Down The Toilet, Thank You Science!
The Road to Great Depression 2.0