A CAPSULE ASSESSMENT
There are those who believe (and can’t understand why) American foreign policy has been such a “resounding failure.” I’m afraid such folks are painfully mistaken. US foreign policy has NOT been a failure from the perspective of its creators and direct beneficiaries. It has been a fantastic success story—at least until September 11—when, for the first time in a long, uninterrupted American imperial history of sordid and criminal interventions in other nations’ affairs, we experienced some of the “blowback” widely anticipated by even many of our own experts.
With 9/11 the era of “total impunity” for our actions may have come to an abrupt end, but now we have entered a more complex period of “quasi-impunity” which is still a major godsend for the very folks who put us into this quandary. For in this new era of widespread fear and open-ended “wars on terror” the plutocracies who always benefitted lavishly from our criminal foreign policy have found a new pretext to deepen and extend their near-absolute control over government levers around the world, beginning with our own.
So what are the basic facts? By now they are widely known, at least in progressive circles, so I will not go into any detailed account of this sordid chapter of “the American Experience.”
More than a century ago, sensing that their time has come, the leading American corporatists of the age set out to expand the United States “sphere of influence.” As is customary for adventures of this type, this newfangled imperial notion required from the start more than a normal diet of lies to the people. Lies to manufacture “valid” reasons for wars in distant places (such as the trumped up reasons for the 1898 war with Spain that yielded Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines); for toppling existing governments that refused to do our bidding; for making enduring alliances with enormously unsavory characters in all latitudes, and for robbing sovereign nations—such as Mexico—of large chunks of their territories.
The chief and almost exclusive purpose of this wholesale robbery and murder across the globe was the classical reason fueling most colonialist interventions: the quest by the nation’s plutocratic circles to seek further sources of riches and power, and, in the case of the US, the first nation to practice reactionism with a clear class-conscious agenda, to perpetuate their system of structured (but carefully concealed) selfishness. In all of this they were wildly successful, even now that the legendary chickens are finally coming home to roost. As a result of such policies, always carefully wrapped in the robe of sanctimonious superpatriostism or a suitable moral crusade, the plutocracy enriched itself beyond its wildest expectations. Croesus-rich even before the empire seeking adventure began at the turn of the 20th century, by now these elites have become masters of the universe.
So let’s get this straight, and let the new Judges for a new Nuremberg remember this: The moneyed elites have done, and they do what they do, with open eyes about the perfidy and hypocrisy of their policies. No use telling them that such policies are immoral, as well-intentioned people are always trying to do. They know it. Nor, for that matter, giving them counsel about how misguided such policies are in terms of the “real facts on the ground.” Again, they know that or they simply don’t care. And why should they? They have specific class objectives to fulfill and the real cost, like when some dying has to be done, or when some treasure has to be emptied—is not likely to fall on their shoulders. They have us, the perennially bamboozled, to do the heavy lifting.So what’s the real problem? The real problem, and the constant engine for such criminal policies lies in the disconnect between the true aims of the American and world plutocracies and the interests of the people whom they continue to mislead under the pretense of “democracy.” As a result, they can never admit, up front, why they topple an Iranian premier in the 1950s, or engineer a bloodbath in Indonesia in the 60s, or they go into Iraq in 2003, for example, or attack Nicaragua in the 1970s, or strangle Cuba for half a century, and so on. They can’t afford to come clean because the American masses might not only NOT follow them, but throw them in jail or worse.
Having ridden the tiger of imperialist falsehoods for so long, now they can’t risk dismounting. Hence they have to go on invoking that long litany of repulsive lies that refer the public mind to the highest and noblest motives. And they still manage to fool quite a few, I’ll say that. By last count, 80 million Americans remained mired in this kind of mental cesspool, in this highly adulterated version of reality, ready to support this crowd’s abominable and increasingly deranged goals.
Patrice Greanville, a veteran radical activist for the Earth and its exploited sentient beings, is the founding editor of Cyrano’s Journal Online (http://www.bestcyrano.org/).