"Look out world, here come the Americans again"
Printed on Wednesday, November 06, 2002 @ 00:14:30 EST
Now they have finally put all that in writing for everyone
By Paul Harris
YellowTimes.org Columnist (Canada)
(YellowTimes.org) â“ As a Canadian, I consider the country to the south
a great place. It's a country that has been at times a savior; it is
full of inventive and intelligent people and provided some wonderful
things for the world and great opportunities for the dispossessed of
other lands. We have more beliefs in common than just about any other
two nations and are proud to call them our friends. Our neighbor leads
the whole world in almost every way, including blowing parts of it
into little bits.
The United States claims to be a nation of peace lovers and it has
been at peace since the end of the Second World War. Except, that is,
for their attacks on China (1945-46); Korea (1950-53); Guatemala
(1954, 1967-69); Cuba (1959-60); Belgian Congo (1964); Vietnam (1961-
73); Cambodia (1969-70); Grenada (1983); Libya (1986); El Salvador
(1980-92); Nicaragua (1981-90); Panama (1989); Iraq (1991); Bosnia
(1995); Sudan (1998); Yugoslavia (1999); Afghanistan (2001-02); plus a
grudge match soon to come in Iraq. Plus "police action" in Columbia
regarding drugs (ongoing), an insurrection in Chile (1973), and
numerous other covert bombings conducted by, or under the direction
of, the CIA. From 1945 to the end of the 20th century, the U.S.
attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments and to crush
more than 30 populist movements fighting against insufferable regimes.
In the process, they bombed about 25 countries, killed several million
people, and condemned many millions more to lives of agony, poverty
If this is a nation of peace lovers, then God help us all.
Now I can already hear the rationalizing that these were all just and
moral battles; that the recipients of all this attention really needed
to be attacked; that it was all done in the interests of the national
security of the United States; that they were protecting the world
from communism or some other 'ism.' It is perhaps fair to say that at
least some of the campaigns I iterated above had some noble purpose
but that would only have been the public relations dividend of the
real business at hand, which was the expansion of American economic
interests. Presently, of course, it will be said that they are
protecting the world from terrorists. Horse feathers. This is all
about hegemony and acquisition of things, of peoples, and of
territory. They are actually helping to create the terrorists, or at
least giving would-be terrorists a raison d'Ãªtre by their belligerence
Most frightening is that all the activity noted in my second paragraph
took place while the United States was allegedly in a 'defensive'
posture. In reality, the United States has never been in a defensive
posture. Its long history is one of expansionism; first through
movement to the west coast, then economically in the rest of the
Americas (where the profits can be derived without the overhead of
actually running the places).
With alarm that increased page after page, I have just finished
reading George W. Bush's September 2002 document entitled "The
National Security Strategy of the United States of America." The
overwhelming message to the rest of the world is 'look out, we're
On the surface, it seems like a moderately thoughtful document and
people of very differing persuasions could readily defend much of it.
I am not one of those people; it scares the daylights out of me
largely because of the threats the Bush administration makes to the
security of the planet and the fundamental misunderstandings he
appears to have about how the world operates and how it ought to
operate. In the second paragraph of the introduction, Bush says: "In
keeping with our heritage and principles, we do not use our strength
to press for unilateral advantage." He couldn't get even further than
that before starting to lie. America's entire history has been to
press for unilateral advantage.
"For most of the twentieth century, the world was divided by a great
struggle over ideas: destructive totalitarian visions versus freedom
and equality. That great struggle is over." Apparently Mr. Bush has
forgotten that about one sixth of the world lives in a communist
authoritarian country and that many of America's allies are
Without going into a line-by-line analysis of this lengthy document,
suffice it to say it is full of rhetoric that ignores the realities of
history and the shape in which the world currently finds itself. But
the overwhelming message of this strategy is that America is now going
to officially acknowledge what it has always been, the world's biggest
bully. To be sure, there are some positive initiatives and good ideas
espoused in this strategy but even they will clearly provide benefit
only to those who are willing to be subjugated. And to be fair, it is
certainly in America's best interest to secure itself and to protect
its own citizens. But that isn't really what most of this is about.
The European press and the sometimes timid, European politicos make
clear that they are very disturbed by the posture that America will
act alone, whenever and wherever it chooses.
The United States has declared, effectively, that international rules and international law
doesn't apply to them, just to everyone else. The strategy makes clear that the United States will not hesitate to take pre-emptive military
action wherever it sees fit and most other countries are understandably worried about that.
Further, the Europeans see much of this as arising from blind and fervent nationalism, the bad sides of which they know very well.
The bloody experience of centuries of war has left them quite uncomfortable
with unbridled nationalism.
The so-called Third World countries wonder what this all means for
them. They presume that they would be the likely targets of American
The problem as I see it is that the United States has decided that it
intends to rule the world. The hell with what anyone else might want.
They think they are big enough and powerful enough to take on all
challengers and they are essentially telling all the rest of us that
it is their way or the highway.
They may well be right about their power but they are dead wrong about
their legitimacy. Unless Bush is absolutely unable to read, he must
know how history has dealt with this kind of hubris in the past.
If the United States is unwilling to be a partner with the rest of the
world, even as the first among equals, and use the tremendous
potential it has to bring about good, then it is starting down the
steep divide that will bring about the demise of the American Empire.
My fear is that Americans and many of their allies will fail to see
that this move to assume supreme control of the earth is exactly what
the United States has groomed itself for during these past 226 years.
They will erroneously believe that because a group of thugs managed to
penetrate into the heart of America and cause severe damage, that
there is just cause to go out and kill whatever is moving or doesn't
Americans who can rationally consider the swath their country has cut
through the world and the even wider swath that is intended, cannot
seriously ask the question 'why do they hate us.' It is obvious.
The United States holds countries like Cuba in the lowest regard
because a 'dictator' rules them; a whole world ruled by a dictatorial
nation is no different, just bigger.
It's never been about how all that power and authority can be used for
the betterment of everyone, including the United States; it's always
about how they can bully and cajole and, if necessary in their eyes,
bomb the crap out of whomever doesn't bow and scrape low enough. There
is no question that there are times when military aggression is a
necessity; the United States, however, usually doesn't have the
patience to exhaust all the more peaceful forms of problem-solving
before bringing out the big guns. That is symptomatic of a limited
imagination and a lack of desire for the peace and security of all. It
is symptomatic of the desire to see 'the rockets red glare, the bombs
bursting in air' just because it feels good. So long as it's someone
Now they have finally put all that in writing for everyone
[Paul Harris is self-employed as a consultant providing Canadian
businesses with the tools and expertise to successfully reintegrate
their sick or injured employees into the workplace. He has traveled
extensively in what we arrogant North Americans refer to as "the Third
World," and he believes that life is very much like a sewer: what you
get out of it depends on what you put into it. Paul lives in Canada.]
Paul Harris encourages your comments
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