The United States came from humble origins. After being unjustly taxed without parliamentary representation, economically barred from trade due the influence of certain corporations on the British government, deprived of journalistic freedom, and denied habeas corpus, a formidable brigade of colonial farmers and merchants took up arms against the mother country and secured independence for the thirteen colonies, which evolved into the first thirteen states of the United States of America.
I am not one to romanticize the efforts of the Patriots. They were slave-holding, racist and often, very belligerent. In today’s political climate, the Sons of Liberty would have been justifiably labelled a terrorist organization for their burning of private property ,’tar-and-feathering’, and other instances of physical harassment against the loyalists.
As Americans, we have to be honest about our history. The founding fathers were not interested in democracy. Only property-owning White men were granted the privileges of political representation.
Nevertheless, the founding fathers established the first secular republic in a world dominated by monarchies . No one was under the soles of the established aristocracy, the Church of England or the British Parliament whose members were elected through ‘virtual representations’.
The United States operated under the principle that a person was a individual entitled to civil rights and the freedom to define himself. Unfortunately, our country would have to wait several decades before that principle was extended to women and certain people of color.
In addition, the United States would be the antithesis of imperialism. George Washington asserted we would not be Europe, conquering other nations in order to reap economic spoils. In fact, Washington urged complete isolationism, expressing detest towards political alliances. We were our own country and we would not get involved in another country’s affairs.
Boy, how times have changed!!
We’ve fought our share of battles with Britain and Mexico during the 19th century. Hell, we even tried to conquer Canada over two hundred years ago!! However, the genesis of America’s neocolonialist quest can be traced to the Spanish-American War.
In the 1890’s, the Cuban began agitating for independence from Spain. After all, who wants to be overruled by a much of futbol-crazed drunks speaking Spanish with a gay lisp?! This campaign for independence attracted the interests of the US. Was it because the Americans related the Cuban fight for sovereignty with their own struggle with Great Britain?
Nope! You see, during the later half of the 19th century, American businessmen capitalized, and ultimately monopolized the Cuban sugar market. In fact, these opportunists bought sugar for staggering low prices and made a profit in American cities. With 90% of its exports being received by the United States, the Cubans had a more formidable rapport with America than with their colonial masters .
After a US Navy ship was sunk near the Havana harbor, President William McKinley, pressured by his colleagues, declared war against Spain. Allying themselves with the Cubans, the war with Spain spread into the Pacific. Long story short, the Spanish Empire ceased to exist as its possessions, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, were ceded to the United States.
Now America was the new kid with an attitude! As the 20th century progressed, Britain, France and Germany lost their ability to dominate dark-skinned heathens in Africa and Asia, while the United States emerged as a superpower.
And we know the saying: Power Corrupts.
The United States of America was the over-muscular, alpha-male jock of the world. However, there was another over-muscular, alpha-male jock: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
So America and the Soviet Union had no choice but to engage in a series of weight-lifting, arm-wrestling, dick-waving competitions in order to determine who would rule the school. And yes, international politics is basically a stereotypical high school only found in those poorly-contrived teen flicks.
It was Capitalism (depending on how to define ‘capitalism’) verses Communism (although I’m sure Karl Marx would be rolling in his grave at the mere mention of the USSR). The Soviet Union was the godless dystopia. So the United States inserted “Under God” in the bloody pledge of allegiance and “In God we Trust” in our bloody currency, despite our notably extensive tradition of religious skepticism exemplified by the works of Mark Twain and Robert Ingelsoll. The Soviet Union was devoid of free enterprise so we scorned the mere mention of social programs, despite the positive residual impact that socialist-leaning labor movements in the early 20th century had on the comtemporary workplace.
The Soviet Union was an authoritarian regimes ruled by a mustached tyrant with an iron fist. Therefore, we propagated ourselves as the advocates of democracy.
We were indeed the messengers of liberty when we deposed the democratically elected Iranian president Mohammed Mossedegh, a socialist with an ambition to nationalize Iranian oil.
We were the bearers of freedom when we deposed the democratically-elected Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz and installed the military dictatorship of Carlos Castillo Armas, who formed Latin America’s first death squad. Or we can talk about Chile’s Salvador Allende being replaced by General Augusto Pinochet, who consulted our ‘Chicago Boys’ on his economic policies while displacing over 80,000 Chileans into concentration camps.
Perhaps we can give a brief shoutout to the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Equatorial Guinea, Idriss Deby in Chad, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Paul Kagame in Rwanda, and Prayut Chan o Cha in Thailand. All Authoritarian regimes currently supported by the United States.
Let’s not forget our cordial friendship with Saddam Hussein. A name which brought fear to ordinary Iraqis during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Let’s not forget when the City of Detroit granted him the key to the city. He was our BFF! Until he invaded Kuwait and threatened our oil field.
After stepping out of line, he was now a ruthless dictator!
And how can we neglect Pakistan? Dear Old Pakistan! In the 1980’s, Muhammed Zia ul-Haq was our BFF after (allegedly) assassinating that democratically-elected, left-leaning Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (those guys are always such pests!). Our collaboration in Operation Cyclone was invaluable, especially when we armed the mujahadeen, who later evolved into the Taliban. But hey, who’s counting? We had to fight the common enemy (USSR). So what if we indirectly caused the surge in Islamist radicalism?
During the 1960’s and 1970’s, our government drafted young men to find the Vietcong. For more than a decade, soldiers were sent to die for a misguided, futile war started under false pretenses. In the processes, thousands of Vietnamese laborers suffered strenuously as their lives were destroyed by Napalm.
Nothing changed thirty years later when young men risked their lives to fight in a foreign country under false pretenses. Our government and our media made us believe in the pretense of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. We were justified in invading an entire country and toppling their government. After all, we were liberators. Until we realized there was no Weapons of Mass Destruction. Only then we realized the role Halliburton and Blackwater played in so-called Operation Enduring Freedom.
Support our Troops. Yea, we support our troops. And Bill Cosby is a chivalric gentleman!
Military service is no longer an honorable position. It hasn’t been an honorable position for sixty years. A soldier is nothing more than a pawn of the military-industrial complex. The intersection between governmental agency and the corporate elite results in the exploitation of the ordinary American. We see this in the prison system. We see this with corn subsidies. We see this with Big Pharma and the overall American Health Care System.
Our nation is the opposite of what that local farmer in Massachusetts envisioned when he picked up that rifle and faced the incoming British army with defiance. I don’t think the merchant from New York would see a difference between economic manipulation from the East India Company and modern American crony capitalism. I’m sure even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would turn their heads in disgust of neocolonialist intervention and the constant curbing of our civil liberties.
“America is rotting away, and don’t expect Barack Obama to save it” – Gore Vidal