, 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.
I do not believe that America's "vast array of strategical commitments" were made in past decades largely as the result of attempts to exploit other nations for economic gain or simply to dominate them politically and militarily. Although the United States has in the past engaged in imperialist exploitation of other nations, particularly in Latin America, it has also tried in various ways to liquidate many such commitments. The roots of American "imperial overstretch" today are not the same as those of past empires. Instead they more closely resemble those that brought down the Soviet Union.
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 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 it's 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 aquisition and technology, "Historical data shows 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 it's 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.
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.