Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"We're an Empire now"

Chris Hedges is extremely pessimistic in his view of the future of the US in Religion of Despair and Chalmers Johnson in Empire v Democracy: why nemisis is at our door is no less so.

The work of both writers is usually worth scrutiny ("War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning" is a must read in my view), but are they misguided in the extent of their concern about the direction of the United States?

Observations published in the last few days by two other writers -- different from each other in important respects but both perhaps more dispassionate than Hedges and Johnson -- suggest not.

At ease Mr President by Gary Wills is exhibit one. William Pfaff's Manifest Destiny: A New Direction for America is exhibit two.

Drawing on Kennan, Schumpeter and others, Pfaff goes very deep indeed to reach disturbing conclusions. Essential reading.

This may sign of the times: the BBC reports that Germany has issued CIA arrest orders. "The US government", notes the BBC reporter, "is not assisting the German authorities with the case".

James Bamford takes comfort (Bush Is Not Above the Law) from Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's observation: “There are no hereditary kings in America.”

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