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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Quote du jour

"We are on the brink of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire." -- Chalmers Johnson, from a TomDispatch article introducing his new book.

Johnson concludes with a sentiment that I've expressed several times over the past few years: Our only escape from Bushian endless war and totalitarianism will be through financial collapse (which is pretty close to already being here in Michigan):
So far, both the Chinese and Japanese governments continue to be willing to be paid in dollars in order to sustain American purchases of their exports.

For the sake of their own domestic employment, both countries lend huge amounts to the American treasury, but there is no guarantee of how long they will want to, or be able to do so. Marshall Auerback, an international financial strategist, says we have become a "Blanche Dubois economy" (so named after the leading character in the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire) heavily dependent on "the kindness of strangers." Unfortunately, in our case, as in Blanche's, there are ever fewer strangers willing to support our illusions.

So my own hope is that -- if the American people do not find a way to choose democracy over empire -- at least our imperial venture will end not with a nuclear bang but a financial whimper.