It’s the time of year when people sing about peace and goodwill. Unfortunately in the United States, too little thought accompanies the nice words. Otherwise Americans would be in the streets demanding that President Obama shut down the war machine. They would also be repudiating every presidential candidate who endorses the fundamentals of America’s criminal foreign policy, and that means every presidential contender in the major parties. Each one of them thinks it’s the U.S. government’s obligation to destroy ISIS (which it helped create), and most of them think – contradictorily – that Americans should overthrow the Syrian government, even though massive noncombatant casualties would result, fanatics would benefit, and neither ISIS nor Bashar al-Assad pose an existential threat to our society.
The ruling elite and its cheerleader squads across the political spectrum tell us endlessly that the United States – by which they mean its central government – has been a force for good in the world. The nation may be exceptional, but, grandiloquent declarations notwithstanding, not in any virtuous sense. For over 200 years it has been a killer and an oppressor on a massive scale; when it has not committed those crimes directly, it has enabled ruthless proxies. America’s victims span the world.
The motives are varied and intertwined: a nationalist, geopolitical, and economic mixture, presented as the call of destiny. America was seen as chosen to change the world, however unwilling the recipients of this gift.