I respect Chalmers work and I was referencing him in the last election when you joined this board, especially regarding that frame about choosing between Empire and Democracy. Chalmers background with the CIA and as a self described "spear carrier for Empire" gives his frame a lot of force. What Chalmers does not provide is the answer to the question: how does the Empire cease being an Empire? Which involves more than a description of the bases and everything else Chalmers describes so thoroughly and with such great scholarly insight into framing the problem. It involves political theory.
Chalmers was Wolin's grad student at Berkeley in 1958. Then they had their differences in the early 60's, and those differences were over political and philosophical theoretical issues regarding just how the Empire was formed and coming to be a political problem for the U.S., which Chalmers only came back to recognize many years later after going out and experiencing what Wolin was arguing was the case then. Wolin sided with the radical students, Chalmers, now a professor, sided with the Administration. Wolin, left Berkeley because he was one of those "liberals" who did stand up and speak to truth to power, much like Howard Zinn at another university about the same time frame, and there was a storm at Berkeley over it. I have a good friend who is now teaching at Berkeley who was Chalmer's student at the time, so she's told me all the inside scoop. We are talking Berkeley, the supposed hotbed of dissent in the Sixties, no less.
We know we have an Empire. The Empire obviously serves the wealthy, because none of us citizens were asked if we wanted an Empire, and nobody put it on the ballot box. Propaganda, mythology -- like American Exceptionalism -- and patriotism keep the standing army standing in service of Empire. A commodification process complete with plenty of Twentieth Century mass marketing to sell the idea that voting for these brands, the Nixon brand, the Carter brand, the Reagan brand, etc., was democracy. So, how does an Empire, which is not really an "ours" so much as a "theirs," decide to stop being an Empire?