By Patrick Brogan
Yesterday, The Irish Times published an article by the Financial Times journalist Gideon Rachman. It is titled “America is now a dangerous nation” and can be found here should anybody want to view it. There a number of issues where Gideon Rachman is very wide of the mark.
The most obvious being when was the US not a dangerous country? The US has invaded numerous states since World War II or had some level of military intervention. Add to this, the large number of countries they influenced elections in or backed tyrants that supported their aims.
This is a long list. Nations that have seen the ugly side of American foreign policy include China, Italy, Greece, the Philippines, the Korean peninsula, Guatemala, Iran, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Zaire, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, Grenada, Libya, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia and this is cutting the list short.
The reasons given are not always the same. They were fighting Communism, promoting democracy, toppling tyrants, halting the spread of Islamic terror. The last one seems particularly daft now because the US sought to destroy the regimes of Gaddafi, Hussein and al-Assad (I forgot to mention Syria!), all to some degree secular, and replace them with the most barbarous supporters of a brutal version of Islam. The enemy changes, yet nobody asks the question; Is the problem actually the US?
Of course, the answer is never straight forward. But, articles like the one from Rachman are clearly designed to smear the current President. As bad as he is, he is only building on what other commander-in-chiefs have done before him. Examples of this can be found in our #Todays3.
Rachman says in the article what Trump is doing “puts American credibility on the line”. Really? Because Weapons of Mass Destruction, Iran-Contra and Watergate would say otherwise. Then, he brings up the issue of the “Russian intervention”, claiming the threat of war is taking the people’s attention away from this. No solid evidence has been brought forward to suggest that Russia was behind the DNC leaks. One thing that cannot be disputed is Rachman’s assessment that the current US President is erratic and rash.
He has certainly made this situation and others worse, but these are problems he inherited. North Korea is an excellent example. The Chinese proposed that North Korea step down from their pursuit of a nuclear programme if the US agreed to cease military manoeuvres on the Korean border. This seems fair to any rational person. Trump is not rational and he rejected it. It is rarely mentioned that Obama rejected the same offer not once but twice. Also, North Korea’s history is very important in understanding the context of the tension. Nearly the entire country was levelled during the conflict with the US. This has been a big motivating factor behind starting the nuclear programme in the first place. Then the Kims looked at what happened when the Iraqis and the Libyans abandoned their nuclear programmes. Atomic arms are a huge deterrent and the Koreans understandably see this as inexorably linked to their survival. All this was happening way before Trump.
The Deep State
A number of people over the years have named a shadow government as the real rulers of the world. Winston Churchill, JFK, Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson have all alluded to this and these quotes are like ambrosia for those on internet chat forums. The problem is, the quotes are a little vague and are easily taken out of context. Col L. Fletcher Prouty is far more concise in what he suggests. He is a very interesting man with many years experience in US military intelligence. Prouty claimed that the CIA had plans for war with Korea and Vietnam even before World War II had ended. The CIA is really running the show, not those democratically elected to the White House. If this is true it would certainly explain America’s 1984esque continuous wars. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.
Trump’s campaign was definitely geared towards making race and immigration an issue. And his Make America Great Again slogan not so subtly harks back to a day when racial segregation was the norm. This is terrible behaviour and has correctly been criticised, especially this week in light of what happened in Charlottesville. Also, there is the worrying fact that Trump’s father may have been arrested in 1927 for taking part in a Ku Klux Klan rally in New York. However, it must be pointed out that these problems did not start with the Trump family. The events in Charlottesville centred around a statue commemorating a man that fought to subjugate a portion of the American population based on their skin colour. This was not the only factor involved in the American Civil War, but it is the most significant. So, if America was a safe country before Trump was elected somebody should tell the families of Rodney King, Terence Crutcher, Eric Garner and Oscar Grant. 619 people have been shot by police this year alone.
God Made Me Do It
A troubling fact is the makeup of America itself and her mythology. Manifest Destiny is the idea that white men were ordained by God to capture and thrive in the frontiers. The Monroe Doctrine was permission given by the US to the US to claim the Western Hemisphere as its own. Then we had Reagan’s shining city upon a hill. “A city set on a hill cannot be hid.” This refers to an early pioneer’s vision of America, tipping the hat to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount speech. What is ignored is the fact many of the early settlers in America were not trying to flee persecution but carry it out. Nobody can hide from the US military. Unless of course, you live in Pakistan.
All empires say it is their destiny to conquer other peoples and rule the world as it is God’s wish. Manifest Destiny. The British had the hymn Jerusalem which spoke of having “built Jerusalem In England’s green and pleasant land.” This over bloated sense of entitlement only leads to one thing; conflict. Not surprisingly, other nations don’t agree that the US, nor the UK for that matter, are God’s chosen people. Despite numerous requests, Jesus was unavailable for comment.
The US is a violent society, to the point where war is hardly questioned. The number of gun deaths is astonishing. According to Gun Violence Archive on Twitter, there have been 229 mass shootings in 35 states in the first 227 days of 2017. The number of people murdered by guns in 2014? 8,124. No European nation would tolerate such statistics. Like most countries, it was founded on violence, but whereas most European states tried to leave this aspect of their history behind after the carnage of World War II, America has only increased it. Add to this the messianic complex and the vast resources and you get a terrifying cocktail. America has always been a dangerous nation.
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