Chalmers Johnson on *Republic or Empire* in Harper's Magazine of January 2007


Chalmers Johnson on *Republic or Empire* in Harper's Magazine of January 2007

15 December 2006 at 2:33:02 PM

Extremely interesting article that has, at its core, Military Keynesianism, which Johnson defines as "in which the domestic economy requires sustained military ambition in order to avoid recession or collapse". Recently, I saw the documentary "Why we Fight" which began with a clip of President Eisenhower warning against the dangers of the military-industrial complex, and considered the question of how much the United States is tied to its military economics. I have read recently that Bush, who desperately wants to be seen as the Decider and hopes to have a legacy that will shine instead of appearing as the worst president in history, is planning to send more troops to Iraq. In one scenario that he apparently has rejected, probably because it makes him look like his Daddy's little clueless boy, the troops, at least some number of them, would be removed from Iraq... but put elsewhere, perhaps Afganistan. That is not draining the swamp, that's just moving around the alligators. In other words, sometimes I think I would like to see us move away from militarism, but the ending of the Iraq conflict would not cause that effect.

Johnson has some numbers in this article, which I highly recommend reading, as he talks about what would happen to cause a fall of the Roman American Empire.

Between 1940 and 1996, for instance, the United States spent nearly $4.5 trillion on the development, testing and construction of nuclear weapons alone. By 1967, the peak year of its nuclear stockpile, the United States possessed some 32,000 deliverable bombs. None of them was ever used, which illustrates perfectly Keynes's observation that, in order to create jobs, the government might as well decide to bury money in old mines and "leave them to private enterprise on the well-tried principles of laissez faire to dig them up again". Nuclear bombs were not just America's secret weapon; they were also a secret economic weapon....

To understand the real weight of military of the United States-that is, the reported budget of the Department of Defense- does not include: The Department of Energy's spending on nuclear weapons ($16.4 billion slated for fiscal 2006), the Department of Homeland Security's outlays for the actual *defense* of the United States ($41 billion) or the Department of Veteran's Affairs responsibilities for the lifetime care of the seriously wounded ($68 billion). Nor does it include the billions of dollars the Department of State spends each year to finance foreign arms sales and militarily related development or the Treasury Department's payments of pensions to military retirees and widows and their families (an amount not fully disclosed by official statistics). Still to be added are interest payments by the Treasury to cover past debt-financed defense outlays. The economist Robert Higgs estimates that in 2002 such interest payments amounted to $138.7 billion.

Johnson has a section, among others that include Unitary Presidency, on Bankruptcy and Collapse. Look on p 68 for figures about how Operation Enduring Freedom, etc cost about $10 billion per month, or an extra $120.3 BILLION FOR THE YEAR.  After going through some more astounding figures, he turns to the deficit. In 2005, the US trade deficit stood at $782.7 billion dollars, and, I hadn't realized this, Bush, since he took office, has raised the national debt limit... FOUR times.

Had Congress not raised it, the US government would not have been able to borrow more money and would have had to default on its massive debts.

The question, overall, is, MUST we be a militaristic society, in which our economy is tied closely to waging war? And what happens when the bottom drops out, as it inevitably will?

     Views: 3071 
Latest Blog Post by salon -Sid Miller Having a Bad Day about Feral Hogs- Kaput Company Pulls Out (April 25 2017)
1 - hughster   28 Dec 2006 @ 9:04:56 PM 

2 - salon   28 Dec 2006 @ 10:09:03 PM 

The question also is, as you pointed out, does the American public prefer *empire* to democracy? Good comments on your site.

Latest Blog Post by salon -Sid Miller Having a Bad Day about Feral Hogs- Kaput Company Pulls Out (April 25 2017)
 You! Leave a Comment! You Know you Want To!
You must be a registered member to comment on the blog.
Your first post is held pending approval to make sure you're not a spammer bot

 Not registered? Or you can login!

LOGON - Name:Password:

New poster comments are moderated, meaning they won't show up until approved... or not.  Be patient-we have lives outside this blog, so it might take awhile You want to be rude? totally stupid? inappropriate? Racist? Bigoted? Flame war baiter? Your post may be deleted. Spammers or people posting pretend interest comments but really wanting to hawk their latest book or sell stuff or govt propaganda flacks won't see their posts published. Comments do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the site owner(salon).
If you have a problem with logging in or registering, please speak up right away. Love your comments. Oh, except spammers
More on commenting

Click Here for Main Page

Latest Posts

Sid Miller Having a Bad Day about Feral Hogs- Kaput Company Pulls Out (April 25 2017)
salon 4/25/2017

On Somervell County Court's Case Against Lonnie Walsh (April 24, 2017)
salon 4/25/2017

Ruminations of the Easily Amused for 4/25/2017
salon 4/25/2017

Trump's Hundred Days-What Has He Done? Not Much
salon 4/25/2017

Yet ANOTHER Court Ruling against Texas Lege Gerrymandering and Bigotry (April 2017)
salon 4/24/2017

Somervell County County-District Courtroom has some cool new A/V screens
salon 4/24/2017


salon > 4/3/2017-Update on the American Humanist Assoc vs Birdville ISD case. In March 2017 - A federal appeals court on Monday said a Texas school board may open its meetings with student-led prayers with.... (Religious News and Notes from the Distaff Side - 5/14/2016)

salon > Incidentally, nobody ran against Hankins, so sad to say there will be election this year.  (Updated for 2017Why I Will Not Vote for Ron Hankins, if he runs, to be on the Somervell County Hospital Board (prev 2015))

salon > Adding a great article from Texas Tribune "In courthouse turf war, Texas counties rally against statewide court records portal". The Texas Supreme Court, through its Office of Court Adm.... (Regarding Re:SearchTX and Somervell County (Glen Rose))

salon > I, owner of Somervell County Salon, have also received subpoenas to be deposed.  (Paul Harper deposed for 'Turks v. Somervell County Hospital District and Ray Reynolds' federal lawsuit)

Home | Blog Home | About | News | Piazza | Calendar | Audio/Video/Open Rec | Search
Write!  |profile | quotes |
top Daily | top Weekly |top Month | top Year | Top All! | archives | subscribe RSS