The US as the New Rome
Review of Chalmers Johnson's "The Suicide of American Democracy"
[This commentary on Chalmers Johnson's new book "The Suicide of American Democracy" is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.pm-magazin.de/de/wissensnews/wn_id702.htm.]
In his news book "The Suicide of American Democracy", the political scientist Chalmers Johnson draws parallels to ancient Rome. Rome was originally a republic destroyed by generals. Caesar was the first who elevated himself above the senate. The American equivalent is the congress - and seized state power. The senators resisted and took over in their way - with 23 dagger thrusts. However that wasn't of much use to the state. Caesar's successor, the general Octavian (later known as emperor "Augustus") degraded the senate to a debating club of rich Romans.
Johnson sees the US at this turning point. With an abundance of facts, Johnson shows the military presence of the modern Rome. Its military presence with 211,000 soldiers stationed in 139 states is oppressive. 26,000 soldiers serve on battleships on all the oceans of the world. No government of the affected countries can control this friendly occupying power. Thus an empire that threw overboard its basic democratic values and convictions came out of a land regarded in the last centuries as the cradle of democracy. The contempt of the "Bush warriors" for the UN, their resistance to the Kyoto protocol and rejection of the International Criminal Court are evidence of their perverted attitude toward the basic values of the American constitution.
Unlike the Romans, the Americans in the past concealed their goal of omnipotence behind phrases of democracy and progress (and believed these phrases themselves). Happily the world knows what really is behind the phrases from the intrigues of the Bush administration. Like the Romans, Americans believe they must bring progress and civilization to the world. The Romans saw themselves as the rescuers of the earth from primitive barbarians, as bearers of civilization and progress (which was also largely true).
Here is a spicy detail. On February 15, 1898, the battleship USS Maine exploded in the harbor of Havana. The responsibility was immediately given to the Spaniards by the patriotic media of a William Randolph Hearst. Thus the war against Spain was justified. The respected admiral Rickover doubted the official version. When the Americans raised the ship in 1911, it sank again. The cause of the explosion is still unknown. Isn't that true with the collapse of the World Trade Center towers?