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The True Flag, by Stephen Kinzer. America is an Imperialist, Warrior Nation

 

By Dom Nozzi

April 18, 2017

The True Flag, by Stephen Kinzer, focuses on the lynchpin years of America’s fateful (and in my opinion, ruinous) decision to transition into an imperalist, interventionist, alleged “world policeman” nation starting about 1898 in the battles between the anti-imperialists (led by Mark Twain) and the imperialists (led by Teddy Roosevelt). Ever since then, those opposed to imperialistic intervention (the anti-imperialists) have been pejoratively labeled as naive, timid, weak isolationists.

I am quite proud to consider myself to be a non-interventionist. I believe it is criminal, inhumane, unrealistic, and unsustainable for the US to be a global policeman.

Most of the world now rightly looks upon the US as a Black Hat Bully. As Chomsky says, the US is, by far, the leading terrorist nation on earth. As such, the US is the leading20137256237522734_20 creator of terrorist actions by others throughout the world.

As Derber so importantly points out in The Morality Wars, nearly all infamous Empires in world history (Rome, Nazi Germany, the Soviets, etc.) firmly believed and proclaimed that their violent military interventionism was to promote freedom, democracy, security, justice, morality, and civilization. In almost all cases, this was simply a cover for grabbing natural resources, obtaining cheap labor, or opening up markets for corporations. This method of using morality as a cover for conquest has been a US tactic in nearly all US wars in history up to the present day.

By the way, the US has been at peace for only 21 of our 241 years as a nation.

The following are excerpts from the last chapter of Kinzer’s book.

“For generations, makers of American foreign policy have made decisions based on three assumptions: the United States is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat and use of force. A host of subsidiary assumptions undergirds this catechism: the United States is inherently virtuous; its influence on the world is always benign; it must often intervene overseas because the risks of inaction are too high; its ideals are universal and can be exported; it welcomes support from other states but may act unilaterally when it chooses. Rather than see in the world a wide spectrum of forces, beliefs, cultures, and interests, Americans often see only good and evil. We rush to take the side of good. This usually brings trouble…

…we intervene because we see bad situations, not because we have a clear plan to improve them. At moments of crisis or decision, emotion overcomes sober reasoning – and emotion is always the enemy of wise statesmanship…

…History’s great counsel to the United States is that it should more carefully weigh the long-term effects of its foreign interventions…

…The United States has not discovered the magic formula that can produce happiness and prosperity everywhere…[Interventions]…are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. Many ultimately harm the target country while weakening the security of the United States.

Violent intervention always leaves a trail of ‘collateral damage’ in the form of families killed, towns destroyed, and lives ruined. Usually these consequences are called mistaken or unavoidable. That does nothing to reduce the damage – or the anger that survivors pass down through generations.

The argument that the United States intervenes to defend freedom rarely matches the facts on the ground. Many interventions have been designed to prop up predatory regimes. Their goal is to increase American power – often economic power – rather than to liberate the suffering…

…Interventions multiply our enemies. They lead people who once bore no ill will toward the United States to begin cursing its name…Americans are shocked and incensed when that passion leads to violent counterattacks. They should not be. The instinct to protect one’s own and to strike back against the attackers is older than humanity itself.

American intervention overseas is hugely expensive. The United States spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined, including trillions of dollars to fight foreign wars. Meanwhile, American communities decay, infrastructure ages and withers, schoolchildren fall behind their counterparts in other countries, and millions go without housing, jobs, or health care. Even worse, at least symbolically, are the lifelong plagues that haunt many combat veterans. War brings ‘collateral damage’ to Americans as well as foreigners…

…The United States was once admired for its refusal to fight imperial wars or impose its will on distant nations. Today, many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands, blowing up entire societies, and leaving trails of destruction and conflict. They associate the name ‘United States’ with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, convert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons…

…countries [battered] by foreign intervention find ways to take revenge. It comes in the forms from mass migration to terror attacks. These are bad results of assaults that we believed would have no bad results. We were foolish to presume that no matter how awful American or European interventions were, their effects would not reach the United States or Europe. The developed world – the invading world – is not an island or an impregnable fortress. Intervention takes a toll at home as well as abroad.”

“Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death.” — Bismark

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