OMNI NEWSLETTER #2 US WESTWARD IMPERIALISM, PACIFIC OCEAN, EAST ASIA, August 22, 2012. Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace. (#1 May 8, 2012).
Here is the link to all OMNI newsletters:
http://www.omnicenter.org/newsletter-archive/ For a knowledge-based peace, justice, and ecology movement and an informed citizenry as the foundation for opposition to empire, militarism, and wars. Here is the link to the Index: http://www.omnicenter.org/omni-newsletter-general-index/ See: Continental US Westward Expansion Newsletter, Indigenous People of Americas Newsletter, US Imperialism and Militarism Newsletter.
Contents #1 May 8, 2012
Tom Hayden, US Brinkmanship
Dick, Breaking News: China’s Eastward Movement
San Juan, Intervention in Philippines
US Pacific Empire
Vandenberg Space Command
Hawaii Largest Pentagon Command
US/S. Korea War Games
US Marines to Australia
Wright, Jeju Island
TomDispatch/Vine, Empire of Bases
San Juan, Philippines
Johnson, Blowback: Indonesia, Okinawa, etc.
US Starts Major War Game in Korea Again Tue Aug 21, 2012, from Veterans for Peace. Posted by: "Korea Peace Campaign" The article below is misleading. It does not mention the number of ROK troops participating in this major US war game with ROK, but the number is reported to be 56,000. So the total number of troops involved in this war game is 86,000. It is reported that N. Korean troops are put on high alert.
This is a provocative, unnecessary US-directed war game, which raises
further military tension in Korea while wasting our tax dollars.
Please protest against the war game, UFG Exercise, by contacting WH at
1-202-456-1111 or www.whitehouse.gov/contact.
VFP-Korea Peace Campaign
Stars and Stripes
Published: August 20, 2012
The annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise began Monday in South Korea in
what is expected to be the first major test of the U.S. military’s use of
mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicles, or MRAPs.
The largely computer-based exercise is one of two major U.S.-South Korean
war games held on the peninsula each year. More than 30,000 U.S. and South
Korean troops are participating in this year’s exercise, which ends on Aug.
31, according to U.S. Forces Korea.
“Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a key exercise in strengthening the readiness of
Republic of Korea and U.S. forces,” USFK commander Gen. James Thurman said
in a press release Monday. “It is based on realistic scenarios and enables
us to train on our essential tasks with a whole of government approach.”
The U.S. military’s first shipment of MRAPs, the vehicles used widely in
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was delivered to South Korea earlier this
summer. *Officials have said more than 80 of the vehicles will be tested
for up to a year to determine if they should permanently be incorporated
into the U.S. military’s plans in South Korea.*
North Korea has condemned the exercise, and leader Kim Jong Un recently
visited frontline troops and told them they must be prepared to lead a
“sacred war,” the Korean Central News Agency announced on Saturday.
“He ordered the service persons of the detachment to be vigilant against
every move of the enemy and not to miss their golden chance to deal at once
deadly counter blows at the enemy, if even a single shell is dropped on the
waters or in the area where the sovereignty of (North Korea) is exercised,”
a statement posted on the state-run organization’s website said.
First deployment of Talisman Sabre Marines arrive in 'culturally vibrant' Darwin by: By Malcolm Farr, National Political Editor
• From: news.com.au
• April 03, 2012 11:14PM
• Darwin "delighted" by arrival of US troops
• Marines to arrive in six-month rotations
• "No US military bases in Australia" - Gillard
• US marines head to Darwin
• US President Barack Obama addressed Aust
US marines head to Darwin
US marines head to Darwin
200 American marines are setting up camp in Darwin this morning as the US sends in the first of its new defence force.
TEN3 April 2012
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US President Barack Obama addressed Australian troops and US Marines at RAAF with Prime Minister Julia Gillard last year. Picture: AFP Source: AFP
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• China 'not bothered' by US troops NEWS.com.au, 13 May 2012
• Tea and scones ring in US Fox Company The Australian, 5 Apr 2012
• Here come the Marines Adelaide Now, 5 Apr 2012
• Critics wary as Marines land Perth Now, 4 Apr 2012
• US Marines touch down in Darwin The Australian, 4 Apr 2012
End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.
THE first Marines to take part in a controversial series of deployments to Australia have arrived in Darwin.
And the Top End was delighted by their addition to what Chief Minister Paul Henderson called Darwin's "culturally vibrant community".
The 200 American troops are the advance guard of a controversial military rotation agreed to by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Barack Obama when the US President visited Australia in November.
They will take part in the exercise Talisman Sabre with Australian troops in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Marines will now arrive in six-month rotations for joint exercises and unilateral projects.
Eventually there will be 2500 soldiers in the Marine Air Group Task Force in the peaceful invasion.
"There are no US military bases in Australia and this will not change," Prime Minister Gillard said in a statement tonight.
"This initiative will provide tangible benefits for Australia by increasing the number, variety and complexity of training opportunities for the ADF and further developing our interoperability with US forces.
"It also supports Australia’s long-held strategic interests in supporting US engagement in our region in a manner that promotes peace and stability.
The initiative could also provide new opportunities for Australiana and US engagement with our partners in the region."
ANN WRIGHT, “Jeju Island, South Korea.”
1. Where in the world is Jeju Island? Symposium with Ann Wright ...
Mar 19, 2012 – Jeju Island Symposium Dinner and Program Special Guest: Ann Wright Friday March 30th, 6:30pm. Redwood Gardens 2951 Derby St Berkeley ...
2. Save Jeju Island with Peace Activist Ann Wright - North Bay Bohemian
Oct 26, 2011 – SRJC presents a talk about Jeju Island in South Korea and the Save Jeju Island campaign to stop the construction of a Naval Base in ...
No naval base! Save Jeju Island! - Ann Wright - YouTube
► 4:43► 4:43
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJdTHZy4L2ESep 6, 2011 - 5 min - Uploaded by sungbong2012
Ann Wright 앤 라이트는 알칸사스 벨톤빌에서 자랐고 알칸사스 대학교에서 법학 석사 학위를 받았다. 그녀는 또한 미국 해양전쟁대학에서 국가 ...
Jeju Island - YouTube
► 12:43► 12:43
www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzATxU0UbskAug 29, 2011 - 13 min - Uploaded by scotalen808
... sign up now! Alert icon. Loading... There is no Interactive Transcript. Uploaded by scotalen808 on Aug 29 ...
5. More videos for Ann Wright Jeju Island »
6. Ann Wright told us about Jeju Island at dragonfly ranch blog
Sep 21, 2011 – Having Ann Wright visit the Dragonfly was an honor and a joy. She was also very informative! We learned about the history of the Jeju ...
Chomsky on Jeju
Bruce K. Gagnon
Posted by: "Global Network" email@example.com brucekgag
Fri May 25, 2012 8:48 am (PDT)
July 15, 2012
Tomgram: David Vine, U.S. Empire of Bases Grows
It was January 15, 2004, and TomDispatch had only been in existence for a year when Chalmers Johnson, author of the prophetic book Blowback (published in 2000 and a bestseller after the 9/11 attacks), did a piece for this site entitled “America’s Empire of Bases.” He wrote then: “Due to government secrecy, our citizens are often ignorant of the fact that our garrisons encircle the planet. This vast network of American bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire -- an empire of bases with its own geography not likely to be taught in any high school geography class. Without grasping the dimensions of this globe-girdling Baseworld, one can't begin to understand the size and nature of our imperial aspirations or the degree to which a new kind of militarism is undermining our constitutional order.”
It was a benchmark essay for TomDispatch and a theme -- the unprecedented way Washington was garrisoning the planet -- that Johnson would return to repeatedly and that others of us would take up. This mattered because, despite the crucial role that Washington's empire of bases played in the American way of war and its dreams of global dominance, bases were then, and remain today, a phenomenon largely ignored in the mainstream media.
In 2004, the Pentagon was, for instance, already building the first of its 505 bases, the biggest among them meant to be “enduring,” in Iraq -- American ziggurats, I called them at the time. Some of these were large enough to qualify as full-scale American towns, with PXs, fire departments, bus routes, the usual range of fast-food joints, internet cafes, and the like -- and yet it was the rare American reporter who saw a story of any sort in them, even when visiting one of them. The same was true in Afghanistan, where the U.S. was building (and is still upgrading) 400 or more bases. No one even bothered to try to count them up until Nick Turse did so in February 2010 for this site. (Ann Jones took TomDispatch readers onto one of them in August of that same year.)
In his books and at TomDispatch, Johnson put significant effort into trying to come up with a number for the bases the Pentagon garrisoned outside the United States. In January 2011, Turse returned to that task and found that number to be well over 1,100. Again, it’s not a figure you normally see reported in the mainstream. In March 2010, John Feffer reminded TD readers of just how far the Pentagon would go to hang onto a single major base, among so many, on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
One of the last essays Chalmers Johnson published at this site before his death in 2010 was entitled “Dismantling the Empire” and it was concerned with just how the U.S. could downsize its global mission and end its empire of bases. David Vine, anthropologist and author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia, has been touring American bases for the past three years. In a major survey of the changing shape of our Baseworld, he suggests that unfortunately it isn’t shrinking at all, and that “dismantling” isn’t yet on the American horizon. This means that -- until the mainstream finally stumbles upon the import of this story -- TomDispatch has little choice but to stay on the bases beat for the foreseeable future. (To catch Timothy MacBain's latest Tomcast audio interview in which Vine discusses his experiences with the Pentagon’s empire of bases, click here or download it to your iPod here.) Tom
The Lily-Pad Strategy: How the Pentagon Is Quietly Transforming Its Overseas Base Empire and Creating a Dangerous New Way of War By David Vine
The first thing I saw last month when I walked into the belly of the dark grey C-17 Air Force cargo plane was a void -- something missing. A missing left arm, to be exact, severed at the shoulder, temporarily patched and held together. Thick, pale flesh, flecked with bright red at the edges. It looked like meat sliced open. The face and what remained of the rest of the man were obscured by blankets, an American flag quilt, and a jumble of tubes and tape, wires, drip bags, and medical monitors.
That man and two other critically wounded soldiers -- one with two stumps where legs had been, the other missing a leg below the thigh -- were intubated, unconscious, and lying on stretchers hooked to the walls of the plane that had just landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. A tattoo on the soldier’s remaining arm read, “DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR.”
Click here to read more of this http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175568/tomgram%3A_david_vine%2C_u.s._empire_of_bases_grows/?utm_source=TomDispatch&utm_campaign=d027c16bb5-TD_Vine7_15_2012&utm_medium=email#more
Date: Saturday, August 4, 2012, 11:24 AM
New post on THE PHILIPPINES MATRIX PROJECT
U.S. GENOCIDE IN THE PHILIPPINES –A Tribute to Gore Vidal
U.S. GENOCIDE IN THE PHILIPPINES AND THE CONTINUING STRUGGLE FOR NATIONAL-DEMOCRATIC LIBERATION by E. San Juan, Jr.
Except during the sixties when the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902 was referred to as “the first Vietnam,” the death of 1.4 million Filipinos has been usually accounted for as either collateral damage or victims of insurrection against the imperial authority of the United States. The first Filipino scholar to make a thorough documentation of the carnage is the late Luzviminda Francisco in her contribution to The Philippines: The End of An Illusion (London, 1973).
This fact is not even mentioned in the tiny paragraph or so in most U.S. history textbooks. Stanley Karnow’s In Our Image (1989), the acclaimed history of this intervention, quotes the figure of 200,000 Filipinos killed in outright fighting. Among historians, only Howard Zinn and Gabriel Kolko have dwelt on the “genocidal” character of the catastrophe. Kolko, in his magisterial Main Currents in Modern American History (1976), reflects on the context of the mass murder: “Violence reached a crescendo against the Indian after the Civil War and found a yet bloodier manifestation during the protracted conquest of the Philippines from 1898 until well into the next decade, when anywhere from 200,000 to 600,000 Filipinos were killed in an orgy of racist slaughter that evoked much congratulation and approval....” Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (1980) cites 300,000 Filipinos killed in Batangas alone, while William Pomeroy’s American Neo-Colonialism (1970) cites 600,000 Filipinos dead in Luzon alone by 1902. The actual figure of 1.4 million covers the period from 1899 to 1905 when resistance by the Filipino revolutionary forces mutated from outright combat in battle to guerilla skirmishes; it doesn’t include the thousands of Moros (Filipino Muslims) killed in the first two decades of U.S. colonial domination.
The first Philippine Republic led by Emilio Aguinaldo, which had already waged a successful war against the Spanish colonizers, mounted a determined nationwide opposition against U.S. invading forces. It continued for two more decades after Aguinaldo’s capture in 1901. Several provinces resisted to the point where the U.S. had to employ scorched-earth tactics, and hamletting or “reconcentration” to quarantine the populace from the guerillas, resulting in widespread torture, disease, and mass starvation. In The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective (2003), Prof. Gavan McCormack argues that the outright counterguerilla operations launched by the U.S. against the Filipinos, an integral part of its violent pacification program, constitutes genocide. He refers to Jean Paul Sartre’s contention that as in Vietnam, “the only anti-guerilla strategy which will be effective is the destruction of the people, in other words, the civilians, women and children.” That is what happened in the Philippines in the first half of the bloody twentieth century.
As defined by the UN 1948 “ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” genocide means acts “committed with intention to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” It is clear that the U.S. colonial conquest of the Philippines deliberately sought to destroy the national sovereignty of the Filipinos. The intent of the U.S. perpetrators included the dissolution of the ethnic identity of the Filipinos manifest in the rhetoric, policies, and disciplinary regimes enunciated and executed by legislators, politicians, military personnel, and other apparatuses. The original proponents of the UN document on genocide conceived of genocide as including acts or policies aimed at “preventing the preservation or development” of “racial, national, linguistic, religious, or political groups.” That would include “all forms of propaganda tending by their systematic and hateful character to provoke genocide, or tending to make it appear as a necessary, legitimate, or excusable act.” What the UN had in mind, namely, genocide as cultural or social death of targeted groups, was purged from the final document due to the political interests of the nation-states that then dominated the world body.
What was deleted in the original draft of the UN document are practices considered genocidal in their collective effect. Some of them were carried out in the Philippines by the United States from 1899 up to 1946 when the country was finally granted formal independence. As with the American Indians, U.S. colonization involved, among others, the “destruction of the specific character of a persecuted group by forced transfer of children, forced exile, prohibition of the use of the national language, destruction of books, documents, monuments, and objects of historical, artistic or religious value.” The goal of all colonialism is the cultural and social death of the conquered natives, in effect, genocide.
In a recent article, “Genocide and America” (New York Review of Books, March 14, 2002), Samantha Power observes that US officials “had genuine difficulty distinguishing the deliberate massacre of civilians from the casualties incurred in conventional conflict.” It is precisely the blurring of this distinction in colonial wars through racializing discourses and practices that proves how genocide cannot be fully grasped without analyzing the way the victimizer (the colonizing state power) categorizes the victims (target populations) in totalizing and naturalizing modes unique perhaps to the civilizational drives of modernity. Within the modern period, in particular, the messianic impulse to genocide springs from the imperative of capital accumulation—the imperative to reduce humans to commodified labor-power, to saleable goods/services. U.S. “primitive accumulation” began with the early colonies in New England and Virginia, and culminated in the 19th century with the conquest and annexation of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam, Hawaii, and the Philippines.With the historical background of the U.S. campaigns against the American Indians in particular, and the treatment of African slaves and Chicanos in general, there is a need for future scholars and researchers to concretize this idea of genocide (as byproduct of imperial expansion) by exemplary illustrations from the U.S. colonial adventure in the Philippines.
What happened in 1899-1903 is bound to be repeated with the increased U.S. intervention in the Philippines (declared “the second front” in the “war against terrorism”) unless U.S. citizens protest. Hundreds of U.S. Special Forces are at present deployed throughout the islands presumably against “terrorist” Muslim insurgents and the left-wing New People’s Army. Both groups have been fighting for basic democratic rights for more than five decades now, since the Philippines gained nominal independence from the U.S. in 1946. There is unfortunately abysmal ignorance about continued U.S. involvement in this former Asian colony—except, perhaps, during the 1986 “People Power” revolt against the Marcos “martial law” regime universally condemned for stark human-rights violations.
As attested to by UNESCO and human rights monitors, the situation has worsened since then with hundreds of killings of journalists, lawyers, women activists, and union organizers. The current crisis of the Arroyo regime, ridden with corruption and exposed for blatant vote rigging, is renewing alarm signals for Washington, foreboding a repeat of mass urban uprisings sure to threaten the comprador agents of global capital that abet the misery of millions—10 million of 80 Filipinos work as domestics and contract workers abroad—caused by World Bank, World Trade Organization, and International Monetary Fund policies imposed on a neocolonial government.
The revolutionary upsurge in the Philippines against the Marcos dictatorship (1972-1986) stirred up dogmatic Cold War complacency. With the inauguration of a new stage in academic Cultural Studies in the nineties, the historical reality of U.S. imperialism (the genocide of Native Americans is replayed in the subjugation of the inhabitants of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Cuba) is finally being excavated and re-appraised. But this is, of course, a phenomenon brought about by a confluence of multifarious events, among them: the demise of the Soviet Union as a challenger to U.S. hegemony; the sublation of the Sixties in both Fukuyama’s “end of history” and the interminable “culture wars,” the Palestininan intifadas; the Zapatista revolt against NAFTA; the heralding of current anti-terrorism by the Gulf War; and the fabled “clash of civilizations.” Despite these changes, the old frames of intelligibility have not been modified or reconfigured to understand how nationalist revolutions in the colonized territories cannot be confused with the nationalist patriotism of the dominant or hegemonic metropoles, or how the mode of U.S. imperial rule in the twentieth century differs in form and content from those of the British or French in the nineteenth century.
Despite inroads of critical theory here and there, the received consensus of a progressive modernizing influence from the advanced industrial Western powersremains deeply entrenched here and in the Philippines. Even postcolonial and postmodern thinkers commit the mistake of censuring the decolonizing projects of the subalternized peoples because these projects (in the superior gaze of these thinkers) have been damaged, or are bound to become perverted into despotic postcolonial regimes, like those in Ghana, Algeria, Vietnam, the Philippines, and elsewhere. The only alternative, it seems, is to give assent to the process of globalization under the aegis of the World Bank/IMF/WTO, and hope for a kind of “benevolent assimilation.”
What remains to be carefully considered, above all, is the historical specificity or singularity of each of these projects of national liberation, their class composition, historical roots, programs, ideological tendencies, and political agendas within the context of colonial/imperial domination. It is not possible to pronounce summary judgments on the character and fate of nationalist movements in the peripheral formations without focusing on the complex manifold relations between colonizer and colonized, the dialectical interaction between their forces as well as others caught in the conflict. Otherwise, the result would be a disingenuous ethical utopianism such as that found in U.S. postnationalist and postcolonialist discourse which, in the final analysis, functions as an apology for the ascendancy of the transnational corporate powers embedded in the nation-states of the North, and for the hegemonic rule of the only remaining superpower claiming to act in the name of freedom and democracy.
The case of the national-democratic struggle in the Philippines may be taken as an example of one historic singularity. Because of the historical specificity of the Philippines’ emergence as a dependent nation-state controlled by the United States in the twentieth century, nationalism as a mass movement has always been defined by events of anti-imperialist rebellion. U.S. conquest entailed long and sustained violent suppression of the Filipino revolutionary forces for decades.
The central founding “event” (as the philosopher Alain Badiou would define the term) is the 1896 revolution against Spain and its sequel, the Filipino-American war of 1899-1902, and the Moro resistance up to 1914 against U.S. colonization. Another political sequence of events is the Sakdal uprising in the thirties during the Commonwealth period followed by the Huk uprising in the forties and fifties—a sequence that is renewed in the First Quarter Storm of 1970 against the neocolonial state. While the feudal oligarchy and the comprador class under U.S. patronage utilized elements of the nationalist tradition formed in 1896-1898 as their ideological weapon for establishing moral-intellectual leadership, their attempts have never been successful. Propped by the Pentagon-supported military, the Arroyo administration today, for example, uses the U.S. slogan of democracy against terrorism and the fantasies of the neoliberal free market to legitimize its continued exploitation of workers, peasants, women and ethnic minorities.
Following a long and tested tradition of grassroots mobilization, Filipino nationalism has always remained centered on the peasantry’s demand for land closely tied to the popular-democratic demand for equality and genuine sovereignty.
For over a century now, U.S.-backed developmentalism and modernization have utterly failed in the Philippines. The resistance against globalized capital and its neoliberal extortions is spearheaded today by a national-democratic mass movement of various ideological persuasions. There is also a durable Marxist-led insurgency that seeks to articulate the “unfinished revolution” of 1896 in its demand for national independence against U.S. control and social justice for the majority of citizens (80 million) ten percent of whom are now migrant workers abroad. Meanwhile, the Muslim community in the southern part of the Philippines initiated its armed struggle for self-determination during the Marcos dictatorship (1972-1986) and continues today as a broadly based movement for autonomy, despite the Islamic ideology of its teacher-militants.
Recalling the genocidal U.S. campaigns cited above, BangsaMoro nationalism cannot forget its Muslim singularity which is universalized in the principles of equality, justice, and the right to self-determination. In the wake of past defeats of peasant revolts, the Filipino culture of nationalism constantly renews its anti-imperialist vocation by mobilizing new forces (women and church people in the sixties, and the indigenous or ethnic minorities in the seventies and eighties). It is organically embedded in emancipatory social and political movements whose origin evokes in part the Enlightenment narrative of sovereignty as mediated by third-world nationalist movements (Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh, Mao) but whose sites of actualization are the local events of mass insurgency against continued U.S. hegemony.
The Philippines as an “imagined” and actually experienced ensemble of communities, or multiplicities in motion, remains in the process of being constructed primarily through modes of political and social resistance against corporate transnationalism (or globalization, in the trendy parlance) and its technologically mediated ideologies, fashioning thereby the appropriate cultural forms of dissent, resistance, and subversion worthy of its people’s history and its collective vision.
E. SAN JUAN, Jr., research fellow of the Harry Ransom Center, U of Texas, Austin, was recently a fellow of the W.E. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University. He was previously Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, visiting professor of literature and cultural studies at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, and fellow of the Rockefeller Study Center, Bellagio, Italy.He directs the Philippines Cultural Studies Center in Connecticut and helps with the Philippine Forum in New York City. His most recent books are Racism and Cultural Studies (Duke UP), Filipinos Everywhere (IBON), Working Through the Contradictions (Bucknell U Press), In the Wake of Terror (Lexington Books), US Imperialism and Revolution in the Philippines (Palgrave Macmillan); Balikbayang Sinta: An E. San Juan Reader (Ateneo de Manila University Press);From Globalization to National Liberation (U.P. Press); Critique and Social Transformation (Edwin Mellen Press), and Toward Filipino Self-determination (SUNY Press).
CHALMERS JOHNSON, BLOWBACK: THE COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF AMERICAN EMPIRE. Holt , 2000. This book presents a partial history of US Pacific expansion. Chap. 2, “Okinawa: Asia’s Last Colony.” “Okinawa is still essentially a military colony of the Pentagon’s.” Ch. 3, partly about Indonesia. Ch. 4 S. Korea. Ch. 5 N. Korea. Chs. 6-7 China. Ch. 8 Japan. And more.
Book Review: Chalmers Johnson's Blowback
Blowback, by Chalmers Johnson, is a book that talks about America's sort of Empire and the Empire's likely costs. The book's conclusion, that America's dominance and power is fragile is insightful and very pertinent, given the disastrous Iraq war and the drastic decline of the dollar over the past year.
Chalmers Johnson was a former professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley who has just written a new book called The Sorrows of Empire and has recently been getting some press and interviews
Blowback is a very impressive book. Written in 2000 it describes how America's Empire is not in the interests of America or the world and the probability that if American policy and the US view of the world does not change then blowback is a probable consequence. Johnson makes the point that a terrorist attack is very likely on US soil in response to US policies. This was written in 2000. Johnson is not unique to have said this, but it is significant.
It is not written from the point of view of the black arm band view of history. Johnson says openly that the US's aims are far better and that it is not an empire as previous empires were. . . .
Many Americans do not care to see their country's acts, policies or situations compared with the Soviet Union's; some condemn such a comparison because it commits the fallacy of "moral equivalence". They insist that America's values and institutions are vastly more humane than those of Stalin's Russia. I agree.
But nonetheless, he sees that the US's very expensive global network of military bases as a mistake. He does not believe that the US is the "indispensable nation" as Madeleine Albright does.
The book goes into detail in the area of his expertise, East Asia. He describes how the US system of bases in Japan is problematic and how the economic relationship between the US and East Asia is unstable and undesirable.
He details the deals and awareness the CIA had of Korean massacres and other events and how US support of essentially corrupt politicians in Japan contributed to Japan's problems.
He also points out the problems with Japan and East Asia's growth, which is dependent on the US market while being sympathetic. He makes the point that there are different types of capitalism, he describes the US version as being finance capitalism while Japan had different institutions. He writes about how pure economic analysis ignores the more important role of institutions in different economies.
Johnson describes how the US - East Asian relationship suffered a strong blow in the Asian crash of '97. It is perhaps suffering and about to suffer its second crash now as the US dollar falls.
Johnson's views on terrorism are very sober and without the awful rhetoric that has arisen since the declaration of the so called 'War on Terrorism'. He writes about how terrorism as a very probable result of the US's push for global dominance.
As Member's of the Defense Science board wrote in a 1997 report to the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology, "Historical data show a strong correlation between US involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the US. In addition, the military asymmetry that denies nation states the ability to engage in over attacks against the US drives the use of transnational actors [that is, terrorists from one country attacking another]
He makes the point more than once too.
The view of the collapse of the Soviet Union is also interesting. He says that the USSR over extended itself in the Afghanistan war and that Gorbachev did not intend for the whole thing to fall apart, merely to change. He also makes the case that the largely US military build up in the 1980s did not cause the USSR's downfall as previous spending was quite sufficient. He writes about how Gorbachev was advised that missile defense projects were highly likely to be ineffective and easy to get around whilst constructing a missile defense system would cost huge amounts of money.
He goes on to say that US spending on Defence today is similar to the USSR's economy and that the US's economic position also has some similarities in that the US has, in order to try and assert it's authority over Pax America, strained itself in ways that will prove deleterious to the US.
He describes how in the US powers that liked the Cold War setup, once Communism had fallen, created the wonderful new threat of 'instability' which the US was required to counter militarily around the World. He also describes how globalisation was used to push capitalism with US style institutions, or not even that and being merely the recommendations of economic fundamentalists from the World Bank in order to co-opt other countries economically into Pax Americana.
In short, 4 years on from when it was written Blowback looks almost prophetic. The situation faced by the US today involves few changes from the one described by Johnson should the US not re-evaluate its path. It's sad that it looks like it will take more than a change of policy in Washington and instead a disaster in Iraq and a probably economic decline to make the powers that be realise that while the US is a great and powerful country it cannot and should not try to run the world.
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