Thursday, February 13, 2020

Endless Wars are the Symptom: Our Endless Empire is the Disease

Two recent articles opposing American military domination of developing countries call for the end of our endless wars. Interestingly their authors are associated with different wings of the political spectrum. And both make it clear that the endless wars are the perpetual and logical result of our endless empire.

The Only Way to End Endless Wars: First, America Has to Give Up Its Pursuit of Global Dominance is by historian Stephen Wertheim of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. The Quincy Institute is the home of foreign policy "realists," and Wertheim typically writes in liberal media, such as the New Republic, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.

Come Home America: Stop Policing the Globe and Put and End to Wars-Without-End is by lawyer John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute. The Rutherford Institute is a conservative civil liberties center that represented President Clinton's accuser Paula Jones.

A brilliant review of Stephen Kinzer's history of the birth of our empire in 1898, by Jeff Faux of the Economic Policy Institute, makes the case more eloquently than I can. Here are some key excerpts:

The story we tell ourselves, of course, is that we are the guardians of the peace, besieged by forces of evil that hate us because of our unique national virtues of freedom, tolerance, and democracy. The possibility that we are being attacked here—in San Bernardino, Orlando, or Boston—because we are bombing there—in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Yemen—lies beyond the current intellectual capacity of our public discourse.
Yet, what word better than “empire” describes America’s role among nations? We have at least 800 acknowledged military installations around the world, the most extensive imperium in history. In 2016, U.S. Special Operations forces—commandos, Navy Seals, Green Berets—were deployed in 138 countries. In many foreign capitals, the most important figure is the U.S. ambassador. We are the globe’s biggest military spenders by far, and sell as many weapons of war as the rest of the world’s arms traffickers combined.....
Our foreign policy debates—hard power vs. soft power, realism vs. values, military vs. diplomacy, unilateralism vs. multilateralism—do not reflect opposing philosophical ideas on how Americans should relate to the world. They are disputes over the best way to reinforce our self-appointed role of policeman, jury, and judge of the global order. The Democratic cop may have a less belligerent personality than the Republican cop, but both will shoot to kill when their authority is threatened.

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