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Babbler # 13058

posted 31 December 2006 02:32 PM      Profile for contrarianna     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
National Intelligence Estimate on US

The January 2007 issue of Harpers has an article by Chalmers Johnson which is a worth the mags price. It's not yet available (legally) in a web format and the following is only Johnson's abstract preamble to the much longer piece.

Johnson, a former self-described "spear-carrier" for the Empire explains in a footnote:

"The CIA is prohibited from writing an NIE on the United States, and so I have here attempted to do so myself, using the standard format for such estimates. I have some personal knowledge of NIEs because from 1967 to 1973 I served as an outside consultant to the CIA's Officeof National Estimates. I was one of about a dozen so-called experts invited to read draft NIEs in order to provide quality control and prevent bureaucratic logrolling."

A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States!

By Chalmers ]ohnson

The United States remains, for the moment, the most powerful nation in history, but it faces a violent contradiction between its long republican tradition and its more recent imperial ambitions.
The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire. Several factors, however, indicate that this course will be a brief one, which most likely will end in economic and political collapse.

Military Keynesianism:
The imperial project is expensive. The flow of the nation's wealth from taxpayers and (increasingly) foreign
lenders through the government to military contractors and (decreasingly) back to the tax payers-has created a form of "military Keynesianism," in which the domestic economy requires sustained military ambition in order to avoid recession or collapse.

The Unitary Presidency:
Sustained military ambition is inherently antirepublican, in that it tends to concentrate power in the executive branch. In the United States, President George W. Bush subscribes to an esoteric interpretation of the Constitution called the theory of the unitary executive, which holds, in effect, that the president
has the authority to ignore the separation of powers written into the Constitution, creating a feed-back loop in which permanent war and the unitary presidency are mutually reinforcing.

Failed Checks on Executive Ambition:
The U.S. legislature and judiciary appear to be incapable of restraining the president and therefore restraining imperial ambition. Direct opposition from the people, in the form of democratic action or violent uprising, is unlikely because the television and print media have by and large found. it unprofitable to inform the
public about the actions of the country's leaders. Nor is it likely that the military will attempt to take over the executive branch by way of a coup.

Bankruptcy and Collapse:
Confronted by the limits of its own vast but nonetheless finite financial resources and lacking the political check on spending provided by a functioning democracy, the United States will within a very short time face financial or even political collapse at home and a significantly diminished ability to project force abroad.

From: here to inanity | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 5594

posted 31 December 2006 10:34 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Very good, Contrarianna. Someone pointed out to me that predictions of dire straits within economic and political system in the U.S. are old hat. But now there are sources credible to the the system itself making some very gloomy forecasts, like this one(pdf) by Laurence J. Kotlikoff.

[ 31 December 2006: Message edited by: Fidel ]

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2938

posted 01 January 2007 05:59 AM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't know about the economic consequences, but the damage to a republican form of government in the form on an unchecked executive has already occurred. With the Democrats taking control of congress this week, some of that check may return. But dangerous precedents have already been set, and it's clear that the executive branch is still too powerful.
From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 4790

posted 01 January 2007 01:41 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Collapse seems pretty much inevitable. To many, the sudden collapse of the USSR was a shocking suprise. I expect the same will be true of the USA.
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 5594

posted 01 January 2007 05:03 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Originally posted by Cueball:
Collapse seems pretty much inevitable. To many, the sudden collapse of the USSR was a shocking suprise. I expect the same will be true of the USA.

It's an interesting possible event that would have, as we are told, dire consequences for the global economy. The U.S. and allies won the cold war, and for several decades post-laissez-faire capitalism, the U.S. was the largest and most influential super-power as well as the richest nation in the world. Well, the U.S. is still both of those things, but the richest and most influential economy in the world to a lesser degree today than during, say, the end of the 1970's - 1980's period. The Pacific rim and North-Eastern Asian countries are said to be the largest region of capital and responsible for generating far more wealth in the world than the U.S. is today. So the U.S. is no longer the world's dominant economy - at least not in nearly the same way it used to be.

At the same time, I think it would be a far more shocking world event for the U.S. economy to collapse given their historical dominance of the world financial and monetary system. The USSR never attained similar influence over geopolitics or world trade. Decades of extra-territorial trade embargos and the arms race were predicted to cause eventual collapse of the Soviet system. That's what the cold war was about. The U.S. economy doesn't have those external pressures waged against it today. But it has enjoyed wide-spread co-operation from several powerful capitalist alliances over the years. I would be shocked if it happened.

ETA: Holland was once the centre of world finance and industrial developement. Money decided to up and leave Holland at a time when workers were beginning to become organized. Finance and industry left Holland and it re-settled all the way over to England. I think if money and finance decides to leave America, it will be for other reasons altogether: insurmountable cold war and related debts, and the inability for capitalism to overcome another period of technological and economic stagnation.

"Money travels the world from place to place. When it arrives, all is green, bustle, and abundance. And when it leaves, all is trampled down, barren and bare." -- very old Chinese proverb

[ 01 January 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]

From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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