“With great power, comes great responsibility” – a quote from the movie, Spider-Man. However, the superpower known as America can’t stop waging incessant, futile wars. With the tectonic changes in geopolitics, the callous American attitude can result in devastating global wars. Although one can justifiably blame the elites for this debacle, equally culpable are the American people who loudly cheer or silently bless the perpetual wars. Selling a war in the U.S. is like giving out candies on Halloween.
At the very fundamental level, most Americans don’t even realize that they live in an Empire. 250,000 US troops in 100+ countries around the world and a $700 billion budget? Not worth pondering. The credit for this astonishing ignorance goes to the tightly controlled corporate media and the educational system. Once the topic of Empire is completely eliminated from the vernacular, half of the logic disappears in the discussions about wars.
Then the fact that the military-industrial complex thrives on wars is also totally omitted. Experts who stand to gain from wars are paraded on TV to inform the public about the great dangers of a scary foreign enemy. Then there are politicians who are all bought and paid for by the lobbyists from the military-banking-security complex. Corporate media also obediently regurgitates all the talking points of the Deep State.
Americans just absorb and internalize all the biased information from pundits, politicians and the media without any filters. The question, “Can this be propaganda?” never crosses most people’s minds.
So, if you don’t discuss imperialism and war-profiteering, what else is there to analyze? Only the country we want to attack.
And what do Americans know about the targeted country? Virtually nothing. They don’t know the geography, history, culture or the geopolitics of the country that is being demonized. The only information people get are slogan-filled, sensational talking points, which also get recycled over the decades: Hitler … dictator … murderer … freedom/democracy blah blah. For extra effect, add in supports terrorists. That’s all Americans need to hear. Incited by a strange mix of power and paranoia, Americans cry, “Woohoo! Let’s bomb!”
The other country never gets a chance to defend itself. Americans never listen to the foreign leader or the foreign media. That would just be a crazy idea! So America turns into a Grand Jury. American experts present the case and Americans always indict the defendant. Then the polls show that a vast majority of Americans are sufficiently brainwashed to support a military action, and the bombs start flying away.
There is a reason that the social engineering elites broadcast World War II movies zillion times a month on cable TV. This archetypal propaganda has two myths: America fights evil and America always wins. This programming is so effective that certain words trigger a Pavlovian response in the public. If you analyze all the mainstream articles about the “enemies” we have attacked in the last few decades, you’ll see the usage of the same words, phrases and themes.
Americans don’t see the patterns or the plots, since they have the memory of a goldfish.
Question: Didn’t we just attack Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria?
Answer: No, I can’t remember! All I know is Iran is evil.
The elites can sell a series of wars, one by one, and Americans will buy them. Heck, the elites can lay out the plan and say, “We are going to attack these countries in the coming years,” but it just doesn’t register. (Remember Wesley Clark’s famous 7 countries in 5 years plan? Or Brzezinski’s book The Grand Chessboard that laid out the vision for global hegemony? Or Neocon’s “Project for the New American Century” paper?).
The goldfish memory along with complete apathy towards foreign affairs also result in guilt-free wars.
Question: Didn’t Libya use to be prosperous under Gaddafi? Isn’t it now completely devastated and torn apart by civil war and jihadist groups?
Answer: I don’t know, I don’t care!
The guilt is also washed away by fake humanitarian gestures such as accepting refugees. The modus operandi is to destroy hundred homes in a foreign country and accept one family as a refugee. Or better yet, send ten families to Europe. Getting rid of a dictator and welcoming people into your country … that’s double dose of oxytocin (the empathy hormone)!
There are also no tangible consequences for supporting wars. First, it’s not like the Vietnam War when regular Americans from Middle Class families fought and died. Second, America hasn’t been devastated by wars like, say, Europe in WW II. Third, the government simply borrows more money to wage new wars. Thus, if you are not going to be physically or financially harmed, it’s easy to support wars. Borrow and bomb!
The military adventures are treated like TV series. If “Season 1: Libya” ends, Americans can’t wait for “Season 2: Syria.” They know that the episodes will be gripping and dramatic. Terrorists, a nation being totally ruined in a civil war, an evil dictator struggling to survive, the CIA arming and training freedom fighters … it’s gonna be a blockbuster! Just as they turn off their critical thinking while watching “reality” shows, people simply consume the Hollywood-style scripts written by war propagandists. Theoretically, people could dismantle the mainstream narratives with a little bit of research. No, that would ruin all the fun.
Most Americans don’t realize that sanctions are acts of war, and proxy wars are just as bad as real wars. America’s sanctions cripple nations and choke the economies, since the U.S. controls the global financial system. For example, half a million Iraqi children died in the 1990s after the US/UN sanctions. As for the illegality of proxy wars, how would Americans feel if Syria sent guns and missiles to Antifa or the KKK? Without thinking through all these, Americans cheer on sanctions and arming rebels in other countries. (By the way, what’s the difference between rebels and terrorists? Depends on which direction their weapons are aimed at).
There’s hardly any self-reflection in America. America’s foreign-policy establishment is like a guy who gets into bar fights every weekend, and he always blames others. Since Americans don’t care about history or geopolitics, they believe that this entertainment will go on forever.
The fact is that America is like an alpha monkey that spends all day beating up younger male monkeys. This continues for a while until the alpha gets a little old and starts napping a lot. That’s when the female monkeys in the harem sneak away to enjoy some romance with the younger males. Translating this jungle reality into geopolitics, the challengers are Russia and China. And, yes, America’s vassal states around the world are already forging trade and military ties with Russia and China, and are exploring ways to get out of the Petrodollar system.
America’s foreign policy cannot be based on “Harvey Weinstein Doctrine.” Weinstein thinks that because he’s rich and powerful, he has the right to violate women. When women refuse to sleep with him, he destroys their careers. America cannot demand loyalty and obeisance from other countries anymore. And we certainly shouldn’t bully and bomb countries just because they choose to be independent. Weinstein doesn’t believe in courtship, and the U.S. has lost the subtle and patient art of diplomacy.
America can be an Empire or a Republic, but not both. An Empire is very expensive to maintain; it makes a lot of enemies around the world; and it sacrifices the homeland in order to desperately preserve its power abroad. America can be – or rather, can only be – prosperous and strong without engaging in perpetual wars and aggression.
Chris Kanthan is the author of a new book, Syria – War of Deception. It’s available in a condensed as well as a longer version. Chris lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has traveled to 35 countries, and writes about world affairs, politics, economy and health. His other book is Deconstructing Monsanto.
Image Credit: Anthony Freda