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."
REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE
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.
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.