Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire

Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire

Morris Berman

Language: English

Pages: 400

ISBN: 0393329771

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"Provocative...stimulating and insightful."―Publishers Weekly

In Dark Ages America, the pundit Morris Berman argues that the nation has entered a dangerous phase in its historical development from which there is no return. As the corporate-consumerist juggernaut that now defines the nation rolls on, the very factors that once propelled America to greatness―extreme individualism, territorial and economic expansion, and the pursuit of material wealth―are, paradoxically, the nails in our collective coffin. Within a few decades, Berman argues, the United States will be marginalized on the world stage, its hegemony replaced by China or the European Union. With the United States just one terrorist attack away from a police state, Berman's book is a controversial and illuminating look at our current society and its ills.

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(1967), pp. 1–21; and Sidney E. Mead, The Nation with the Soul of a Church (New York: Harper and Row, 1975), pp. 64 and 71–73 (quote from Beecher on p. 73). 21. Lipset, American Exceptionalism, pp. 31 and 63–65. 22. Sidney E. Mead. The Lively Experiment (New York: Harper and Row, 1963), pp. 5 and 8. 23. Ibid., pp. 5–6 and 12; and Jane Holtz Kay, Asphalt Nation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), p. 8 (quote from Studebaker president is on p. 219). 24. Clay McShane, Down the

infallibility…guides the inner life of the White House,” writes Suskind. Thus a senior adviser to Bush said that the White House regards people like Suskind as living in “the reality-based community”—i.e., among people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” But, he went on, “that’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”2 It sounds heroic, in a baroque kind of way. But as the

is the disturbing question that hovers over a good deal of American foreign policy. We claim to stand for freedom and self-determination; in reality, we act to destroy these more often than not. Out of a fanatical antirevolutionary ideology, we have delivered millions of so-called Communists—mostly peasants and innocent people—into the hands of dictators and torturers. As the second century of the American republic wore on, our “shadow” was getting increasingly dark. The issue of the “shadow”

kid ourselves: it would be hard to find a better description of American postwar foreign policy, right down to today. Whether we are talking about Harry Truman declaring, “The whole world should adopt the American system,” which “can survive in America only if it becomes a world system” or Ronald Reagan with his John Winthrop–ish “city on the hill” versus his Darth Vader–ish “evil empire” or George W. Bush declaring a “crusade” against “the evildoers” and militarily intending or attempting to

social or political changes in the Third World—unless we are the author of those changes. Three case studies illustrate all of the above themes quite clearly. Our imperial interference in the Islamic world, at least in the postwar period, begins with Iran, specifically with the CIA coup (known as Operation Ajax) that toppled Mohammad Mossadegh, the immensely popular Iranian prime minister, in 1953, and restored the brutal Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) to power. This triggered a whole

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