The American Empire

Prologue: The Unveiling of the American Empire

Acknowledgement and Awareness


The bulk of the texts on the site have been excerpted (and paraphrased) from
"The Sorrows of Empire" by Chalmers Johnson (see Fair Use link in footer)

Most Americans do not recognize—or do not want to recognize—that the United States dominates the world through its military power. Our country deploys well over half a million soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents, and civilian contractors in other nations. Our vast network of American military bases straddles every continent except Antarctica and these military and intelligence installations bring profits to civilian industries, which design and manufacture weapons for the armed forces or undertake contract services to build and maintain our far-flung outposts.

Whole sectors of the American economy have come to rely on the military for sales; from the obvious construction of military aircraft and armored vehicles to the not so obvious non-military spin-offs (On the eve of our second war on Iraq, for example, the Defense Department ordered 273,000 bottles of Native Tan sunblock (SPF 15) from Sun Fun Products of Daytona Beach, Florida).

Gathering Strength
The new American empire has been a long time in the making. During the almost fifty years of superpower standoff, the United States denied that its activities constituted a form of imperialism. Our foreign interventions were just reactions to the menace of the "evil empire" of the USSR and its satellites. Only slowly did we Americans become aware that the role of the military was growing in our country and that the executive branch—the "imperial presidency"—was eroding the democratic underpinnings of our constitutional republic.

By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, our leaders had become so accustomed to dominance over half the globe that the thought of giving it up was inconceivable. Many Americans simply concluded that they had "won" the Cold War and so deserved the imperial fruits of victorious "good empire". After all, it had no colonies and its massive military forces were deployed around the world only to maintain "stability," or guarantee "mutual security." We were there merely to promote a liberal world order based on free elections and American-style "open markets."

A Stark Change
9-11Americans like to say that the world changed after September 11, 2001. The American people were still largely in the dark about why they had been attacked by terrorists or why the State Department began warning them against traveling overseas to an ever-growing list of foreign countries.

"Why do they hate us?" was a common complaint heard on talk shows, and the most common answer was "jealousy." But a growing number finally began to grasp what most non-Americans already knew and had experienced over the previous half century—namely, that the United States was something other than what it professed to be… That it was, in fact, more than just a "lone superpower" but a powerful military empire often cloaked in secrecy and sadly frequently operating outside the jurisdiction of International Law.

A Network of Entanglement
The American militarized empire is a physical reality with a distinct way of life but even more important, it is also a network of economic and political interests tied in a thousand different ways to American corporations, universities, and communities.

Although the aforementioned "veil of economic and political interests" has been kept separate and dutifully understated from what passes for everyday life back in what has only recently come to be known as "the homeland;" that sense of separation is disappearing—for the changing nature of the empire is changing our society as well.

A Knowledge Tree Production