Americans love to think that we’re a peaceful people, and that we fight wars only when we must.
Unfortunately, you can count in nanoseconds how long those assertions hold up when exposed to such insidious commie dirty tricks as the application of logic or the examination of empirical history.
Sure, any war can be spun as some necessity against some Very Bad Person, preferably of brown skin, slanted eyes and/or differing deity. Not only can any war be so spun, probably every war there ever was has been, at least since the days when governments had to start offering some justification or another for their little foreign adventures.
But pick your barometer – any one will work – and you’ll quickly see who are the militant folks on the planet. For America, it turns out – gulp – to be that bloated, frightened meth-addict staring back at us in the mirror, not some overseas evil emperor du jour.
For example, suppose you wanted to measure comparative national war-like tendencies by simply counting wars. Since World War II, the US has messed around, in ways big and small, in Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Lebanon, Granada, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan again, and Iraq again. No country in the world can begin to match this record in the last half-century. And I’m not even listing here the covert operations (almost everywhere), including the ones that toppled democratically elected governments (Iran, Guatemala, Chile, etc.), the long-term occupations of Latin American countries by the US military, the gunboat diplomacy of the American Navy around the world, the aiding and abetting of other killers (Saddam invading Iran, for example, apartheid South Africa or the Israeli occupation of Palestine), the militarization of the oceans and of space, or the myriad other ways in which the US leads the planet in aggressive tendencies. (For a whole century’s worth of overseas fun – not even counting the big stuff – Stephen Kinzer’s Overthrow is highly recommended reading.)
Who has China been invading lately? Russia? Fidel? Those perfidious (and perfumed) French? Heck, even Saddam couldn’t touch this record for aggression, especially once you account for the fact that the US government assisted his foreign soiree into Iran (complete with the chemical weapons, of course) and likely green-lighted the one into Kuwait as well. And let’s even grant that one or two of those American adventures had some measure of altruism associated with them, as perhaps the Balkan or Somalian affairs might have (I’d like to know the full story before making that judgement). Isn’t the sheer volume of them – especially relative to the number of wars other countries have fought – a bit problematic for maintaining the pretense of America’s pacific intent? My conservative (in both senses of the word) list above goes to nearly twenty. Isn’t that a bit much for a peace-loving country?
But scratch that measure if you must (perhaps it cuts too close to the bone). Maybe we can detect America’s dislike for war in another metric, say military spending. Oops. Turns out that’s going to be a bit problematic too. I guess it won’t be a huge surprise to anybody that the US spends more on ‘defense’ than any other country in the world. Maybe that’s not so completely absurd, given that we have the third largest population on the planet. (At least it’s not entirely out of line if you set aside the slightly inconvenient fact that the two larger countries are about four times bigger than we are). But here’s the truly scary part: The United States not only outspends every other country in the world on military goodies, it outspends ALL other countries of the w