Whether by design or misfortune, our cherished Republican form of government has become an empire that uses its power to control economies and countries the world over. It is estimated that the U.S. has boots on the ground on 900 military bases in 140 countries. If this power were being used to benefit the American people, or the people of the world, then the empire might have some justification and legitimacy. However, it is not. The wars we fight are often not fought for the common good of anyone but defense contractors, global corporations, and international bankers.
The free trade principles our politicians espouse have destroyed our manufacturing base, moved our jobs over-seas for the benefit of companies that pay few taxes, and undermined the sovereignty of our political institutions by hiding the details of trade agreements and giving these international trade treaties powers over our political and judicial institutions. The recipients of our jobs are abused with poor working conditions as they are generally powerless and poor. We all suffer from the pollution these countries produce since they rarely possess the institutions to resist global corporations or their own governments.
Concepts, of freedom and self-determination, are only voiced for the people of other countries, when the Despot of the Month, who has been our friend, is no longer favored. One common refrain often heard is that other countries hate us for our freedoms. People of other countries like Americans generally because most of us are open and welcoming. They don’t like our government because it uses drones to bomb their citizens; it spies on their citizens and leaders; it tortures their citizens or sends them off to be tortured; it exports our inflation into their economies; it frequently bribes, overthrows, or invades their countries; and it incessantly tells them how to run their countries while it can’t solve the same problems in its own house.
Now it is time to ask the really important question, what would we think if other countries took any of these actions against us? We obviously wouldn’t like it any more than many of them do. Besides, how can we expect other countries to think favorably of us, when we have such a low opinion of our own government?
The U.S. is not the first world power to abuse its position, nor will it be the last. Every action we take in self-interest is not wrong. But the excesses being committed on “our behalf” are not even for our benefit. We have the only empire that doesn’t send the wealth back to the home country to enrich its power and prestige. Instead we let the crony capitalists keep the profits while we send the taxpayer’s money in foreign aid to other countries, so they can buy our weapons to the fight the “created” enemy of the day. As the Russia comic Yakov Smirnoff said, “What a country!”