How many times have you heard these words -- we must protect America's vital interests? George W. Bush used them many times and President Obama uses them routinely. It's become the standard reasoning used by U.S. presidents in their attempts to justify our invasions and military occupations of other countries, most recently Iraq and Afghanistan. But do Americans know what those words really mean?
"Protecting America's vital interests," a very patriotic thought, are code words for gaining control of another nation's or a region's critical resources, primarily, petroleum. Using these code words is a clever way of getting the American people to support our military actions in foreign lands without really explaining what those vital interests are. It just sounds right when we hear that phrase, and even though we don't really know what it means, we want to be supportive because it seems to be good for our country.
After World War II when America began evolving into the world's only super power, our government established key military installations around the world, in countries that we had defeated, like Germany and Japan, plus a host of others. America also substantially increased its air and naval power and patrolled the world's skies and oceans. This buildup of military might was largely intended to guarantee that rogue nations or even pirates would not be allowed to disrupt commerce between the U.S. and our trading partners.
There was nothing really wrong with that policy and strategy because, while we were protecting our national interests, we were also protecting the interests of many other nations from being harassed by predators. That policy continued for several decades and proved to be very successful in maintaining a safe environment that greatly benefited world commerce.