I just saw today that Chalmers Johnson had passed away yesterday. Steve Clemons has written a long tribute to him at The Washington Note. Though he had a long career before he became a leading critic of American empire, it is for this criticism that he is best known to those of us in my generation. He and his arguments will be missed. Here is an excerpt from David Isenberg’s TAC review of Johnson’s The Sorrows of Empire:
The four sorrows that provide Johnson with his title, however, refer to much more long-term and dire developments, above all for Americans themselves, that follow from this empire of
bases and the military-industrial complex that stands behind it. As Johnson writes:
If present trends continue, four sorrows, it seems to me, are certain to be visited on the United States. Their cumulative impact guarantees that the United States will cease to bear any resemblance to the country once outlined in our Constitution. First there will be a state of perpetual war leading to more terrorism against Americans wherever they may be and a growing reliance on weapons of mass destruction as they try to ward off the imperial juggernaut. Second, there will be a loss of democracy
and constitutional rights as the presidency fully eclipses Congress and is itself transformed from an
‘executive branch’ of government into something more like a Pentagonized presidency. Third, an already
well-shredded principle of truthfulness will increasingly be replaced by a system of propaganda, disinformation, and glorification of war, power, and the military legions. Lastly, there will be bankruptcy, as we pour our economic resources into ever more grandiose military projects and shortchange the education, health, and safety of our fellow citizens.