Chalmers Johnson: rogue Brahmin
When the cold war ended, Chalmers Johnson; a die-hard cold warrior, member of the august Council of Foriegn Relations, and possessor of stratospheric security clearances, began to wonder why the US wasn’t disarming. Given that it had “won” the Cold War, that there were no foes left, he thought the US should have started laying down their guns. Instead, the US was agressively military strength. Why, he thought, was this happening?
Thus began a long journey, and this once strong supporter of US policy now believes, as he detailed in a talk at the Midnight Special bookstore in Santa Monica on Sunday, that the Cold War was just a cover for US imperialism.
While he’s written many books, his first book to get major public attention was the recent BlowBack: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, which details the devastating side effects of imperialism, using Japan, of which he is an expert, as an example.
His latest book, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, goes even further, and takes a wider view. He’s deeply unsettled at what is happening here. An out of control military which wishes to insure its position by having ever more wars, aided by increasingly severe governmental restrictions on freedom and liberty, is leading us towards, he believes, what happened to Rome. The republic, and freedom along with it, vanished, and was replaced by a military dictatorship, bankruptcy, then collapse.
He sees the same thing happening here. He’s not sure it can be stopped, feeling the process may already be irreversible. He holds out faint hope that social movements could ignite the needed changes. I’m more optimistic that that, I think social movements absolutely can make the difference. That’s why I’m in ANSWER.
Someone asked him what they could do. He, half-jokingly, said, find a cheap apartment in Vancouver…
These are not normal times we are living in. However, great danger is also great opportunity.
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality“, Alighieri Dante