Critical Interpretation of Contemporary American History: Empire and Militarism


The United States of America has been moving toward militarism and imperialism for already many years. Political changes could not but influence American society, though it remains passive to the establishment of new rules and policies in the state. According to Chalmers Johnson, the author of the book “The Sorrows of the Empire”, the US turned into an empire irreversibly with the dominance of military power.

He stresses that the new strategy of American politics is mostly concentrated on the threat of force as the method of national cooperation rather than cultural interactions of negotiations. A warlike atmosphere within the United States would be more evident with every passing year of militarism existence. Empire and militarism would bring inner instability to the social and political structure of the whole country.

Main Body

Johnson expresses his concern about the rapid rise of militarism in the state and highlights its impact on the development of the society and the whole country. He underlines some consequences resulted from the development of the contemporary situation of empire:

  • Militarism can lead to the increase of terrorism level and establishment of the state of constant war with neighboring countries and nations;
  • The contemporary situation would result in complete loss of democracy and limitations in constitutional rights;
  • The development of the empire in the military direction can bring bankruptcy to the country;
  • American society would face disinformation and propaganda rather than fairness and truthfulness;

Chalmers Johnson underlined the negativity of the contemporary American Republic which is considered to be a global empire bringing financial difficulties to the tax system and creating anti-democratic conditions for the whole country and its population. (Johnson, 2003)

The transformation of the US to the empire resulted in a significant increase of private military companies which functioning is not controlled by the government and this independence is devoid of discipline and military justice. Destructive circumstances can be faced by the government of the state in case the policy strategy is not changed.

Johnson underlines the fact that modern state administration together with the president is mostly concentrated on the enforcement of their influence abroad by means of military power. According to the author of the book, the keyway out and the only method of conflicts solution for the United States in present days is war. Johnson does not support the idea of modern military policy and the establishment of the “American empire”, understanding all possible damages and threats to democratic freedom which can be brought by modern regulations.

The darkest side of the contemporary American policy connected with the introduction of empire and militarism system was researched by the journalist John Friedman in his famous book “The Secret Histories”. It is a combination of documents disclosing the history of American politics and including the peculiarities of the modern situation.

One of the most striking facts concerning the present situation in the USA is closely connected with the level of corruption and deception of the military and the government of the state. Friedman states that nowadays money and power are of greater significance than human lives. The document “Genocide Fax” discloses the events of 1994 when the unheeded fax led to the modern genocide. No investigation took place just but a short explanation and apologizing on the part of the government, though the population never knew the real truth of that event.

Friedman included a lot of detailed information concerning the present system of voting covering 2000. The establishment of militarism resulted in injustices; it was proved by the photos of Iraqi prisoners expressing allegations of abuse as to Abu Ghaib and having no idea about unfairness on the part of the government. (Friedman, 2005)

Friedman stresses the fact that nowadays the notion of the “official secret” is too much stressed, especially from the time of empire establishment. It is closely connected with the hidings of bureaucracy activities to avoid unexpected changes and criticism on the part of the law and the whole society. “The Secret Histories” managed to disclose the real situation of the state and open the main secrets of the governmental strategies in the past and in contemporary America. “We do not know what we do not want to know”, stated Friedman in his book; and it is considered to be the main rule of the governmental policies which are usually covert from ordinary people and are only presented in the form of unexpected consequences.

Friedman highlighted the main secret truth of Cointelpro connected with the covert programs of the Federal Bureau of Investigation disrupting American political organizations using secret operations and movements. The documents described by Friedman are closely connected with the present political situation in the

The United States and this book can be used in the future as a guide for understanding modern political measures of the government. It is important to stress that the program of Cointelpro resulted in limitations of civil rights of the society; the same situation should be expected nowadays in modern empires. On the example of this book, people should realize the consequences of the present policy measures submitted by the government.

The results of Cointelpro were as well covert as the whole program of measures suffered by ordinary people, and it led to the formation of a great number of different organizations protesting warlike atmosphere. (Friedman, 2005) This book is truthful evidence of the complete lack of governmental support of the social life of the Americans. People are to fear the modern government which causes damages to homeland interests protecting its own.


The research of the contemporary American situation provides a clear understanding of militarism’s meaning for the government and for the society. The transformation to empire with militarism as a dominant form of a state structure would result in rapid changes inside the country. The national relations would be tenser as the threats of force cannot be the background for trust and mutual understanding between the countries.

Misinformation and limitations in the constitutional rights of the Americans would be the main consequences of the present policies measures established by the government. American empire would demand a high rate of the financial and cultural development of the country; otherwise, it can face tax difficulties and inner conflicts. The main strategy of the modern empire is to solute all the international problems by means of war and threats; by how long would it last…? People cannot live in a state of constant war and sooner or later all covert steps of the present government would be disclosed and showed to the American society.


Friedman, Jones. The Secret Histories: Hidden Truths That Challenged the Past and Changed the World. Picador, 2005.

Johnson, Chalmers. The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (American Empire Project). Metropolitan Books, 2003.

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