Scholar Presaged U.S. Descent to Destitution
Union Tribune / Logan Jenkins

Looking for a lift, I paid a visit last week to our own Jeremiah, Cardiff's prophet of doom.
Against all odds, I was counting on Chalmers Johnson to cheer me up. I know. The reasoning is perverse. It's kind of like calling up Cassandra for crisis counseling. No one in San Diego's orbit has a less hopeful view of the economy's prospects than Johnson. The worse things get, the better he looks as a scholarly soothsayer.

Starting in the Clinton years, the retired University of California San Diego professor, China and Japan expert, former Cold War hawk and prolific writer has been warning against the financial collapse of what he calls – without a hint of irony – the American empire.

In the chaotic aftermath of 9/11, Johnson's 2000 book “Blowback” – the first of a trilogy followed by “The Sorrows of Empire” and “Nemesis” – acquired international liftoff for its dead-on prediction of retaliation against what he calls American imperialism.

The analysis hit home, cutting to the quick.

In Johnson's Olympian view, it's a matter of time – and not much of it – until this country is beggared by a largely obsolete and obscenely expensive war machine, the military-industrial complex about which President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned.

With the global economy in cardiac arrest, I figured the 77-year-old historian would be feeling pretty chipper. Johnson's radical world view, it seems, is most relevant when very bad things a... >>>

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