Chalmers Johnson: Accused of wanting China to balance the US





... Today, the Left is looking for a new champion to “contain” the United States, and, if possible, impose such a major defeat on America that a crisis of legitimacy will pave the way for revolution. It was, after all, Russia’s debacle in World War I that brought down the Romanov dynasty. And aging New Leftists still revel in how much the anti-war movement during Vietnam changed America, even if the desire to “turn the guns around” and “bring the war home” did not pan out. The attempt to recreate the 1970s mood of national decline by reviving a mass post-9/11 anti-war movement has fallen flat because Islamic fanaticism is a tough sell, even when dressed up in the rhetoric about Third World resistance to Western aggression. Islam has some charm, in that it has long been the main enemy of Christendom, but leftists are rooted in the atheistic materialism of Marx which rejects all religions.

Terrorism, of course, appeals to the romantic nature of the Left. But even they know that al-Qaeda is far too weak to pose a real global threat to U.S. hegemony. What they want is the rise of a new superpower to replace the USSR, and many seem to have found it in the People’s Republic of China. Beijing may not be as attractive as it was during the reign of Chairman Mao, when his “little red book” was all the rage, but China is still ruled by a Communist dictatorship and its “market socialism” and five year plans can still offer the “alternative model of development” that Singer called for in 1989 as the Soviet model disappeared in Europe.

It should not be surprising then, that some of the harshest critics of the Bush administration’s military campaigns in the Middle East are shifting their focus to bolstering China’s position in Asia. One of the most prominent organizations of this sort is the Japan Policy Research Institute (JPRI). It was founded in 1994 by Chalmers Johnson and Steve Clemons, who with Johnson’s wife Sheila, are the only officers.

Chalmers Johnson served as chairman of the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California-Berkeley. Since the invasion of Iraq, he has published two books in a proposed trilogy which he calls “the American Empire project.” The second book, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (2004), argues that since 9/11, the United States has “undergone a transformation from republic to empire that may well prove irreversible.” U.S. policy is based on “the use or threat of force rather than negotiations, commerce, or cultural interaction” and Johnson claims “a revolution would be required to bring the Pentagon back under democratic control.”

It is the first book of the set, Blowback : The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (2003), that shows the link between his interests in China and Japan. It is a polemic history of U.S. imperialism in Asia, where Washington’s misguided opposition to communism in China, Korea and Vietnam blends with stories of crimes committed by American Marines against civilians on Okinawa. Indeed, the JPRI trumpets every alleged incident on Okinawa in an attempt to promote ill-will between Japanese and Americans. In exchange for a tax deductible contribution, the JPRI will provide a DVD about Okinawa that “vividly portrays the dangers and miseries of having Fatenma airbase in their midst.”

On May 1 of this year, the United States and Japan finalized plans to consolidate the 50,000 American troops in Japan as part of a broader realignment of the U.S. forces in Asia. The plan will transfer 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam by 2014, and relocate helicopters from Futenma to Nago. Japan will pay $6 billion towards relocating the Marines. But this is not the sign of flagging U.S.-Japanese cooperation that critics have wanted. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said the plan will “create a stronger, sustainable alliance that demonstrates our global partnership and that is one that pushed us forward into the 21st century.” ...





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