Chalmers Johnson

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Chalmers Johnson

Born 1931 (age 77–78)
Phoenix, Arizona
Occupation Professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego
Genres Historical Non-Fiction
Literary movement Japan revisionists
Notable work(s) Blowback
The Sorrows of Empire
Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic
Notable award(s) Before Columbus Foundation (2001)
Official website

Chalmers Ashby Johnson 1931 (age 77–78) is an American author and professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. He fought in the Korean war, from 1967-1973 was a consultant for the CIA, and ran the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley for years.[1] He is also president and co-founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute, an organization promoting public education about Japan and Asia.[2] He has written numerous books including, most recently, three examinations of the consequences of American Empire: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.


[edit] Biography

Johnson was born in 1931 in Phoenix, Arizona. He earned a B.A. degree in Economics in 1953 and a M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science in 1957 and 1961 respectively. All of his degrees were from the University of California, Berkeley. During the Korean War, Johnson served as a naval officer in Japan.[3] He taught political science at the University of California from 1962 until he retired from teaching in 1992. He was best known early in his career for scholarship about China and Japan.

Johnson set the agenda for ten or fifteen years in social science scholarship on China with his book on peasant nationalism. His book MITI and the Japanese Miracle, on the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry was the preeminent study of the country's development and created the subfield of what could be called the political economy of development. He coined the term "developmental state." As a public intellectual, he first led the "Japan revisionists" who critiqued American neoliberal economics with Japan as a model; their arguments faded from view as the Japanese economy stagnated in the mid-90s and beyond. During this period, Johnson acted as a consultant for the Office of National Estimates, part of the CIA, contributing to analysis of China and Maoism. [4]

Johnson was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1976. He served as Director of the Center for Chinese Studies and Chair of the Political Science Department at Berkeley, and held a number of important academic posts in area studies. He was a strong believer in the importance of language and historical training for doing serious research. Late in his career he became well known as a critic of "rational choice" approaches, particularly in the study of Japanese politics and political economy.

Johnson is today best known as a sharp critic of American imperialism. His book Blowback won a prize in 2001 from the Before Columbus Foundation, and was re-issued in an updated version in 2004. Sorrows of Empire, published in 2004, updated the evidence and argument from Blowback for the post-9/11 environment and Nemesis concludes the trilogy. Johnson was featured as an expert talking head in the Eugene Jarecki-directed film Why We Fight[2], which won the 2005 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. In the past, Johnson has also written for the Los Angeles Times, the London Review of Books, Harper’s Magazine, and The Nation

[edit] The Blowback trilogy

Johnson believes the enforcement of American hegemony over the world constitutes a new form of global empire. Whereas traditional empires maintained control over subject peoples via colonies, since World War II the US has developed a vast system of hundreds of military bases around the world where it has strategic interests. A long-time Cold Warrior he applauded the collapse of the Soviet Union, I was a cold warrior. There's no doubt about that. I believed the Soviet Union was a genuine menace. I still think so.[1] But at the same time he experienced a political awakening after the USSR 1989 collapse, noting that instead of demobilizing its armed forces, the US accelerated its reliance on military solutions to problems both economic and political. The result of this militarism (as distinct from actual domestic defense) is more terrorism against the US and its allies, the loss of core democratic values at home, and an eventual disaster for the American economy. The books of the trilogy are:

  • Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire
  • The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic
  • Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.

[edit] Bibliography

  • Chalmers Ashby Johnson. Peasant Nationalism and Communist Power (June 1, 1962 ed.). Stanford University Press. pp. 268. ISBN 0804700745. 
  • Chalmers Ashby Johnson. An Instance of Treason: Ozaki Hotsumi and the Sorge Spy Ring (1964; expanded in November 1999 ed.). Diane Pub Co. ISBN 0788167480. 
  • Chalmers Ashby Johnson. Revolutionary Change (January 1966 ed.). Little Brown & Company. ISBN 0316467308. 
  • Jeremy R. Azrael, Chalmers A. Johnson. Change in Communist Systems (1970 ed.). Stanford University Press. pp. 368. ISBN 0804707235. 
  • Chalmers A. Johnson. Conspiracy at Matsukawa (July 1973 ed.). University of California Press. pp. 470. ISBN 0520020634. 
  • John Israel, Chalmers A. Johnson. Ideology and Politics in Contemporary China (April 13, 1972 ed.). University of Washington Press. pp. 528. ISBN 0295952474. 
  • Chalmers A. Johnson. Japan's Public Policy Companies (June 1978 ed.). Aei Pr. pp. 173. ISBN 0844732729. 
  • Chalmers A. Johnson. MITI and the Japanese Miracle (June 1, 1982 ed.). Stanford University Press. pp. 412. ISBN 0804712069. 
  • Chalmers A. Johnson. The Industrial Policy Debate (May 1984 ed.). Ics Pr. pp. 275. ISBN 0917616650. 
  • Chalmers A. Johnson, Laura D'Andrea Tyson. Politics and productivity: the real story of why Japan works (March 1989 ed.). HarperBusiness,U.S.. pp. 332. ISBN 0887303501. 
  • Chalmers A. Johnson. Japan: Who Governs? -- The Rise of the Developmental State (September 1, 1994 ed.). W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 388. ISBN 0393314502. 
  • Chalmers Ashby Johnson. Blowback, Second Edition: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (January 4, 2004 ed.). Holt Paperbacks. pp. 288. ISBN 0805075593. 
  • Chalmers Ashby Johnson. The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (January 13, 2004 ed.). Metropolitan Books. pp. 400. ISBN 0805070044. 
  • Chalmers Ashby Johnson. Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (February 6, 2007 ed.). Metropolitan Books. pp. 368. ISBN 0805079114. 

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Tom Engelhardt (March 22, 2006). "Cold Warrior in a Strange Land - Tom Engelhardt interviews Chalmers Johnson" (HTML). Retrieved on 2009-04-04. 
  2. ^ a b AMY GOODMAN (February 27, 2007). "Chalmers Johnson: Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic" (HTML). Democracy Now!. Retrieved on 2009-04-04. 
  3. ^ Chalmers Ashby Johnson. Blowback, Second Edition: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (January 4, 2004 ed.). Holt Paperbacks. pp. 288. ISBN 0805075593. 
  4. ^ Nic Paget-Clarke (2004). "Interview with Chalmers Johnson Part 2. From CIA Analyst to Best-Selling Scholar" (HTML). In Motion Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-04-04. 

[edit] Further reading by Chalmers Johnson

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