US Imperialism — A Direct Response From An American
October 16, 2009 3 Comments
I was discussing with a friend, Prudence Baird, about the US Imperialism. She lives in United States. This is a forthright and a direct response to my query by her. I hope it’ll make many of us learn about the general perception of Americans about the state’s imperialism. Before I paste the letter here, I’d take this opportunity to speak that her letter inspired me to a considerable extent. There you go:
13 October, 2009
Okay, I have some time to devote to you, my friend! I am going to be 100% honest because there is no point of robbing you of the truth. (I got this from your Kite Runner quote!)
When our country was founded in 1776, the idea was put forth in writing for the first time in western civilization that “all men are created equal.” This was a revolutionary thought as at the time many believed that kings and other rulers were gods or appointed by gods. (Silly ideas, huh?)
Despite these lofty words, many of our founders had slaves! Go figure!
So, the United States has always had what many might call a split personality–almost like someone who is mentally ill!
When our first president, George Washington, left office, he cautioned his successors–the presidents and leaders who were to follow him–to be friends with all nations and to never, ever start a war or interfere with another sovereign nation’s self-rule. (I guess we know how that went!)
This whole idea of leaving other countries alone began to erode with our President Monroe (1823) who issued something called “The Monroe Doctrine,” which asserted that the Western Hemisphere was not to be further colonized by European countries, and that the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies nor in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued at the time when many Latin American countries were on the verge of becoming independent from Spain, and the United States, reflecting concerns echoed by Great Britain, hoped to avoid having any European power take Spain’s colonies. (I got this from Wikipedia!)
This was cool for a while–it’s good to tell old, colonizing countries to back off and let younger countries do their own thing. BUT, the Monroe doctrine went off course when Teddy Roosevelt, who was NOT yet president, decided to interfere with Cuba’s affairs of state. Teddy was 95% great and 5% horrible. He had great ideas about the environment, he was pro-union and pro-labor, he established food safety laws, and worked tirelessly for the common man. However, he was bull-headed about thinking the United States was superior to every other country on earth and therefore knows best. He lived to regret this way of thinking. He changed his mind when his youngest son was killed in WWI, but by then the U.S. had its fingers in many pies, so to speak. In fact, it was one of Teddy’s sons who helped to install the Shah of Iran in 1925.
I think that the U.S. is:
1. following in the footsteps of Great Britain–almost like a little brother copies his older sibling, or a drunk chases a bottle of booze, and
2. is completely hooked on oil and therefore will do anything to get more–including starting fraudulent wars (Iraq) and supporting regimes that mistreat their citizens (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, China) and supporting countries who mistreat certain ethnic groups or genders (Israel, China, Kuwait, the Congo). Further, we turn our faces away when our allies do horrible things to their citizens (Saudi Arabia, Israel, Rwanda, China) and their neighboring countries.
I am disgusted by our inability to live up to the lofty words of our founders. I am horrified by our military actions that have caused so much pain, death and destruction to others–and I see that it is all for nothing. The more we try to bomb our way to peace and prosperity, the more stupid and warlike we become. And when our military (or any military) “regrets the loss of innocent life” I ask, whose life is NOT innocent? We are all innocent.
There are many, many people who agree with me, but the U.S. is divided as I stated earlier. The uneducated, mostly born-again Christain type of citizens blindly believe the myth that the United States is all-powerful and “number 1.” (How stupid is that?) And the educated citizens understand that the U.S. is out of control consuming 25% of the earth’s resources and with its military all over the world.
Our leaders are also divided. Many are greedy and receive money from the “military/industrial complex,” i.e.., corporations who profit from war. How can a leader serve the people when his pockets are stuffed with cash from Halliburton or makers of war machines? So, we have some dirty, greedy people running the country. Not all are like this, but I think too many are.
But the wonderful aspect of the United States is that every once in a while, we have a leader like Barrack Obama or John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, Jr. These leaders and everyday citizens keep this nation going more or less in a good direction internally. But it is very hard to reel in the actions of those who make their living interfering in other countries business–I’m talking the CIA and similar organizations. These agencies have become self-perpetuating entities unto themselves. They do not answer to our Constitution. They do not answer to the people of the United States. Only the President can control them–and if the President goes up against them and tries to shut them down, I’m afraid that they might turn on him (or her) and assassinate the President. That is how much power they have. The fragility of our system frightens me. If we lose Obama, the U.S. could become like a monster in a Japanese horror movie. Or, people like me could be rounded up and “disappeared” like happened to progressives in Argentina in the 1970s.
Does this answer your question?
Your Friend Across The Seas,