Bartcop, one of my all time favorite bloggers, recently had an exchange on his page with a reader who was feeling disillusioned because he was starting to realize that America wasn’t always motivated by altruism when it decided to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries. Being me, I naturally felt the need to stick my two cents worth in and did so thusly:
Bart: You were very forthright in defense of the U.S. in reply to the guy who wrote we’ve always been the bad guys and I hope you’ll allow me to be the same.
While it’s not by any means certain that we were always the bad guys a study of the dozens of “minor” wars we became involved in during the late 19th and early 20th centuries… in fact right up to and even beyond WWII… we have very often definitely been carrying the water for bad guys and though the methods and immediate circumstances have changed some, still do so.
A suggested read on the subject of the 20th century “banana wars” would be “War Is A Racket” by USMC Major General Smedley D. Butler, who managed to fight in virtually every damned one of those fracases, receiving multiple purple hearts and two… count ’em, TWO… Congressional Medals of Honor for his efforts in what history has come to see as minor skirmishes with wild eyed Bolsheviks intent on destroying our way of life from their tent city HQ on some Central American banana plantation. You said:
America has semi-run the world over the last 60-70 years. Think how different the world would be if it was run by Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot or Kim Jon Dung or Idi Amin or Saddam or Gadaffy – get my point?. Also, a lot of other countries don’t aloow the truth to be taught at their schools and every newspaper and TV show is run by the government. As evil as man can be, America could be a LOT worse.
America HAS pretty much run the world since the end of WWII but the simple fact is that as DDE warned us back in the 60s, it has done so mainly for the benefit of our Military/Industrial Complex and Wall Street and multinational corporations, using our military power… in much the same we it was used during the first three decades of the 20th century to bolster the fortunes of American business interests in other countries.
As for those guys you named off, sure there’s little to no doubt that the world would have fared worse under all those people and I could probably add a dozen more to the list just off the top of my head but so what? They DIDN’T wind up running the world, we did and that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ve run it with the best interests of that world at heart.
And Jeebus knows, in our march to outright Fascism, we’re right smack in the middle of banning the truth from our schools on an almost daily basis, especially in the states comprising the new Confederacy,the war on science and for the substitution of religious dogma for scientific fact also goes on daily and our newspapers and TV networks might not be run by the government but they are damned sure owned and controlled by those same Wall Street corporations mentioned above and for whom our government STILL carries the water (while still retaining the pay and perks they supposedly get for serving OUR best interests).
I personally see faint praise for this country’s past leadership when someone says, “That wasn’t nice.”, and the best response we can come up with is, “someone else would have been worse.”. A lot of people are suddenly realizing that Native Americans weren’t all brute savages, the “cowboys” didn’t all wear white hats, the guy fighting for a right to make a decent living picking Dole’s bananas wasn’t always a wild eyed commie bomb thrower who was going to walk to LA and kill our kids AND… we weren’t always the good guys.