Chalmers Johnson on America’s Strategic Decline


It’s good to go back every once in a while and get a refresher course on high octane Chalmers Johnson.
— Steve Clemons


22 comments on “Chalmers Johnson on America’s Strategic Decline

  1. DonS says:

    Operation Enduring Freedom
    FY10….104.8 (Obama’s first budget)
    FY11….119.4 (requested)
    (FY=fiscal year, Oct-Sep)
    2014 projection — $728 billion”
    Numbers, they are stubborn things.


  2. Don Bacon says:

    from “a senior defense official”
    Nov 23, 2010
    Q (Off mike) — you stepped away from talking about the exit of U.S. combat troops in 2014 —
    SR. DEFENSE OFFICIAL: No, I said — I said we don’t have exit strategy, is what I


  3. DakotabornKansan says:

    Into the charnel house of history


  4. JohnH says:

    Chalmers Johnson, Cassandra,


  5. DakotabornKansan says:
  6. Jackie says:

    Dakota Born Kansan,
    As a Missouri born Kansan, I have to say “River of Doubt” was a really good book. And I’m sorry Chalmers Johnson is gone.


  7. Don Bacon says:

    The Pentagon has announced 42 deaths so far this month. One of them was Robert Michael Kelly, the son of Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly.
    Lt. Kelly, 29, who was killed Nov. 9 in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, in Sangin, long a Taliban stronghold. He was leading his platoon on a combat patrol when he stepped on a concealed bomb.
    His father, speaking during the funeral service at the Ft. Myer Memorial Chapel adjacent to the cemetery, said he preferred not to eulogize just his son. He wanted to honor all those who enlisted after the Sept. 11 attacks ready to fight “an enemy that is as savage as any that ever walked the earth.”
    “He went quickly and thank God he did not suffer,” Kelly’s father, who is now based in Washington as commander of the Marine reserves, wrote to friends. “In combat that is as good as it gets.”


  8. DakotabornKansan says:
  9. Don Bacon says:

    Back when I was younger and naiver and I thought it would make a difference I was involved in peace marches. It was at one of them, as I was wearing my Smedley Butler T-shirt and carrying the society banner, that a young man approached me and quoted word-for-word, I swear, General Butler’s famous soliloquy on his Marine experiences:
    “I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
    And I just notice that Chalmers Johnson in his “The Sorrows of Empire” lists Smed’s bio “Maverick Marine” quoted above as a reference note.


  10. Don Bacon says:

    On Korea, the US position has been that “If North Korea is genuinely prepared to completely and verifiably eliminate their nuclear-weapons program, the Obama administration will be willing to normalize bilateral relations and replace the peninsula’s long-standing armistice agreement with a permanent peace treaty…,” — SecState Clinton, Feb 14, 2009
    Earlier this year, North Korea seemed ready ready to explore the possibility of trading its nuclear programs for a peace guarantee, however that moment was lost to US foot-dragging, the dynastic takeover turmoil in North Korea, the sinking of the Cheonan and the latest artillery barrage.
    The US is still technically in a state of war with North Korea under an armistice signed sixty years ago. This seems to suit the US just fine — in order to have the security state that Chalmers Johnson decried the US must have enemies to justify its naval fleets and its bases in South Korea (being expanded currently), Japan and Okinawa.
    Going further, Korea (like Germany) of course needs to be re-unified. There are people in Korea who want that, but both the US and China need buffer states so the final solution — re-unification — is a non-starter, and out of the hands of Koreans.


  11. Don Bacon says:

    Theodore Roosevelt was president 1901-1908. He set the pattern for the US to act as “an international police power.”
    from “Maverick Marine”, a Smedley Butler bio:
    March 1903 –
    “A US naval squadron was dispatched from Culebra, off Puerto Rico, across the Caribbean to Honduras, where a revolution was threatening US interests. A routine exercise in gunboat diplomacy, this was also thew beginning of three decades of escalating US military intervention in the Central American republics that became known as the Banana Wars.
    “The 1903 Honduran revolution involved a struggle for the presidency between a Liberal president . . .and Conservative aspirant Manuel Bonilla who won the popular vote. . .on 21 March, Butler and the Marines in the Panther, plus Marine detachments from the supporting warships of the Caribbean Squadron, stood by while arrangements were made for peaceful surrender by the government forces to about 1,500 Bonilla troops.
    “In asserting its regional hegemony, the United States blocked military intervention by other powers. It therefore took upon itself ‘the exercise of an international police power’ publicly proclaimed the following year as the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine.
    “Military interventions in the following decades frequently lacked substantive military objectives and were characterized by campaigns undertaken largely for presumed psychological effect — or as vindications of US power when political mastery proved otherwise elusive.” (end MM excerpts)
    The Honduras exercise was followed, after Roosevelt’s presidency, by further western hemisphere US military campaigns in Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico and Haiti. Roosevelt’s “international police” policy, already extended to Philippines and China as well, was later extended globally.
    Roosevelt’s December 1904 Annual message to Congress declared:
    “All that this country desires is to see the neighboring countries stable, orderly, and prosperous. Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count upon our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States. Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power.”– wiki


  12. Dan Kervick says:

    erichwwk, I brought up the Koreas because of today’s events.


  13. samuelburke says:

    Tom Engelhardt speaks on Chalmers Johnson.


  14. DakotabornKansan says:
  15. erichwwk says:

    “What were Johnson’s views on North and South Korea?”
    Out of all his thoughts on the big picture, on the incompatibility of imperialism with democracy,on bankruptcy and militarism, on the inevitable collapse of the U.S.– why N. and S. Korea? (although if you must, read his last book- “Dismantling of Empire”).
    “And other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”


  16. DakotabornKansan says:

    On the dark side, it was said that Theodore Roosevelt reveled in


  17. Dan Kervick says:

    What were Johnson’s views on North and South Korea?


  18. DakotabornKansan says:

    Thanks Dan, being a Dakota born Kansan, I was unaware of this piece of Kansas history.
    TR was inspiring, one of the greatest pronouncements for human welfare ever made:


  19. Dan Kervick says:

    What were Johnson’s views on Teddy Roosevelt?
    I have been very interested lately in the thinking of Teddy Roosevelt and the progressive movement. (I’m actually inclined to think that the two Roosevelts were our two greatest Presidents.)
    T. Roosevelt’s speech on the New Nationalism, 100 years old, seems as timely now as ever:


  20. sanitychecker says:

    Johnson didn’t get the CFR memo. The 800 military bases we have around the world are just a sign of our generosity. The world is begging us on their knees to be led by us. We’re the global Mother Teresa, protecting the weak and the defenseless.
    How killing hundreds of thousands of natives accomplishes that goal may not be obvious to your average person. But that’s precisely why we have IR departments in all our top schools. It takes a smart person to sell crass self-interest as god-ordained altruism.
    It’s not easy to square a circle, so our experts have come up with all sorts of bogus “schools” of thought, each named after some famous dead white guy. And so the Wilsonians fight the Jacksonians who turn to the Jeffersonians who invoke the Hamiltonians (of course, not realizing that this last word has already been copyrighted by physicists). It’s all empty theater of course. They actually all agree on the essentials. They just pretend to argue. Or rather they argue ferociously on whether to sit in the aisle seat or the window seat on a plane whose destination no one who wants to make it in that world dares to question.
    Johnson got sick of that show.


  21. JohnH says:

    Kudos for sharing Johnson’s sober, honest reflections of the perils of a military run amok.
    Too bad so few in policy positions are willing to call out the elephant in the room, the suicidal compact that will spell the end of the American empire.


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