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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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Overthrow: A Review

By Dom Nozzi

I just finished reading a book written in 2006 called Overthrow, by Stephen Kinzer.

I highly recommend it.

overthrowHow many of us know of the shameful, sordid history of our US government overthrowing leaders in Hawaii, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Vietnam, Iran, and Afghanistan? How in nearly all cases, we did so to secure access to resources, or were doing the bidding of multi-national corporations which desired continued easy access to such resources? How in each case, we cloaked our attack not on such exploitative reasons, but based on the false claim that we are doing so to “liberate oppressed people,” to “bring democracy and freedom,” to “stop a dangerous tyrant,” or to “help people who could not govern themselves”? How most all of the nations we overthrew became much worse off during and after our “regime change” actions?

Many of us, the author points out, believe such fairy tales of our “bringing democracy and freedom” because of the common belief in “exceptionalism,” where the US is seen to be inherently more moral, godly and just than all other nations, and therefore a country that can only do right and never do wrong.”

A friend responded to the above by saying, “Don’t we already know this?” To which I replied with the following…

In The New American Militarism, Andrew Bacevich notes the terrifying reality that America has now reached a political consensus: The vast majority of Republicans and Democrats are now flag-waving supporters of ramped up and never-ending US militarism, which clearly shows that the majority does NOT already know this (unless most of us are barbarians, and support such aggression even though it is in support of multi-national corporations rather than our security).

In Morality Wars, Charles Derber finds that cloaking barbaric “gunboat diplomacy” as bringing “democracy and freedom” has been in existence for many centuries for nearly all empires, and few, if any, societies were able to see through the hysteria and deception. I see no evidence, to this day, that the vast majority of Americans (including most Democrats) oppose wars of aggression by the US. The majority of Democrats and Republicans have cheered Obama adopting the largest military budgets in US history, as well as his many wars of aggression, and there seems to be a near political consensus that US aggression is justifiable.  Where, for example, is the outrage about Obama’s drone war, his on-going war of aggression in Afghanistan (which a HUGE number of liberals and feminists heartily support as a way to bring “democracy” and “women’s rights” to that ravaged nation), his saber rattling over the Ukraine, and his military action in Libya (which most Democrats supported)?1280511495

If “we” Americans already knew this, why did we re-elect one of the most warlike presidents in our history (Obama)?

Or maybe by “we” you mean you and me?

PS – I’m one of the most well-read people I know, and I knew only a tiny amount about the awful US history since 1898 of orchestrating regime change. I would say over 99 percent of Americans know nothing about that history. Most of the Overthrow book was news to me. Maybe I’m a moron, but maybe not. The book sickened me to the point where I am both utterly ashamed to be an American, and startled that educated citizens continue to vote for major party US presidential candidates, given how many wars of aggression presidents of both parties have called for over the past century.

 

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