Interview with Chalmers Johnson: Cold Warrior in a Strange Land
TD: I assume you'd agree that our imperial budget is the defense budget. Do you want to make some sense of it for us?
Johnson: Part of empire is the way it's penetrated our society, the way we've become dependent on it. Empires in the past -- the Roman Empire, the British Empire, the Japanese Empire -- helped to enrich British citizens, Roman citizens, Japanese citizens. In our society, we don't want to admit how deeply the making and selling of weaponry has become our way of life; that we really have no more than four major weapons manufacturers -- Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics -- but these companies distribute their huge contracts to as many states, as many congressional districts, as possible.
The military budget is starting to bankrupt the country. It's got so much in it that's well beyond any rational military purpose. It equals just less than half of total global military spending. And yet here we are, stymied by two of the smallest, poorest countries on Earth. Iraq before we invaded had a GDP the size of the state of Louisiana and Afghanistan was certainly one of the poorest places on the planet. And yet these two places have stopped us.
Militarily, we've got an incoherent, not very intelligent budget. It becomes less incoherent only when you realize the ways it's being used to fund our industries or that one of the few things we still manufacture reasonably effectively is weapons. It's a huge export business, run not by the companies but by foreign military sales within the Pentagon.
This is not, of course, free enterprise. Four huge manufacturers with only one major customer. This is state socialism and it's keeping the economy running not in the way it's taught in any economics course in any American university. It's closer to what John Maynard Keynes advocated for getting out of the Great Depression -- counter-cyclical governmental expenditures to keep people employed.
The country suffers from a collective anxiety neurosis every time we talk about closing bases and it has nothing to do with politics.
Piercing, insightful interview by a premier geo-political analyst.
In energy terms, one can only boggle at the investments in fear and loathing that the United States makes every year. It is wasteful and mostly useless. Why not chop our military in half, cutting our imports of foreign fossil fuel every year by a quarter? (Rough estimate!) Get those damn welfare queens off the dole.
Is this the legacy desired or the legacy deserved?