Authored by Bill Rice, Jr.
Policies which can ensure peace or ignite wars are important. Given this, one might think more Americans would critically examine the basic assumptions which form the basis of our nation’s foreign policy.
As best I can tell, only three such assumptions or premises exist:
- To defend America and its borders, our government must posses the world’s strongest military. It should also not be reticent about using - or threatening to use - said military.
- The freedoms Americans cherish are fragile, and bad actors are plotting to steal them from us.
- If reasons 1 and 2 are not persuasive enough, or do not apply to every geopolitical situation, America must still be willing to use its military to protect its “national interests.”
All three of these assumptions are ridiculous, a fact any bright 12-year-old should recognize.
Regarding Assumption 1 - Surely any American with a 6th grade education is aware of the fact that the world’s two largest oceans happen to “guard” the east and west coasts of the American mainland. Furthermore, any 12-year-old should know that the probability America’s neighbors to the north and south would attack our country is zero.point.zero. What this means to you and me is that if America proper is going to be attacked (and subdued), it’s going to have to be attacked by a nation a vast distance from our borders.
By the time a conscientious student reaches 10th grade he or she should be able to identify the tiny number of nations that might possess the means to occupy or “take over” America. These nations can be counted on three fingers - Russia, China and (if we really want to stretch things) Germany.
However, plenty of high school students should be inquisitive enough to ask a common-sense question: Why would these nations attempt to do such a thing?
Hopefully every American high school has at least a few students who know that occupying a nation with a land mass as vast as America, and with a militarily as powerful as America’s, would require a massive and sustained military operation.
Given that America has 320 million citizens - and if one assumes that a good portion of these citizens are feisty, armed and will be a tad put out at being occupied - subduing and securing America will not be a quick nor easy task. As a guess, such a commitment might require at least 12 million troops, troops rotating in and out of America over, say, a 20-year-period.
Leaving aside the massive costs of such a mission, how many nations actually have 12 million troops to spare?
China might. But before China could deploy these 12 million troops into “theater,” would not America’s government have already fired 1,000 nuclear missiles into China (and any nation allied with China)? And would these nations not respond in kind?
That is, by the time all the mushroom clouds evaporated, it’s unlikely a single “military power” would possess even 150,000 troops to guard its own ruins (much less possess the planes or ships to transport scores of divisions to America).
No - any way you war-game it - invading and occupying America is a non-starter. This is the case for every government on the planet. (And is doubly true for China, which would have obliterated the bulk of its international customers).
Regarding real “national security,” America is in fact the most secure nation on the face of the earth. One could go further. It’s probably the most secure nation in the history of the world … that is, if our government would simply follow Switzerland’s example and quit stirring up hornet nests all over the world. Or: Simply follow the “Golden Rule.”
In truth, the only nation that requires a massive military is a nation that is either surrounded by potential enemies, or a nation that seeks to use its military to expand its empire and/or its “spheres of
meddling influence.” I leave it to the reader to decide which description best fits America over recent decades.
Assumption 2 - that our nation’s pro-active military “protects our freedoms” - is equally absurd.
Apparently the fear here is that if America does NOT invade and/or attack Iraq (or Iran or Syria or Libya or North Korea or Venezuela or Cuba or Afghanistan) these “enemies” will somehow eliminate our freedoms. (Surely a sizable percentage of Americans believe that one of the main reasons our troops are in all of these countries is to “protect our freedoms,” ergo these nations must be a “threat” to these freedoms.)
However, a bright 10th grade civics student should be astute enough to ask an obvious question: How exactly would a nation eradicate our freedoms?
Wouldn’t these nations also have to put millions of “boots on the ground?” Wouldn’t this nation(s) have to occupy hundreds of thousands of square miles of U.S. territory and take control of every level of our government, our courts, our police forces, our newspapers, the places we work?
Consider just one of our nation’s freedoms, the “right to bear arms.” To eliminate this freedom/right, these nations would have to figure out a way to take away my brothers’ or your father’s pistols, shot guns, hunting rifles and semi-automatics. Good luck with that, Iran.
To this day I don’t understand how Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi jeopardized my freedom to worship as I see fit, or was going to stop me from making one of my contrarian posts on the Internet. Still, according to the thinking of most Americans, this is exactly what these suckers were scheming to do.
Plus, as any bright 10th grade civics students should know (at least those who have read George Orwell’s 1984), it is our own government that’s far more likely to take away our liberties and freedoms than a hodgepodge group of terrorists located in impoverished nations 10,000 miles from our borders.
Assumption 3 - the only way America can defend its “national interests” is to start wars and change regimes all over the globe, or threaten to do these things - is a tougher nut to crack with satire. (This is largely because “national interest” is such a vague, subjective and ever-changing term). But I’ll try.
Yes, our neocon policies certainly advance the “interests” of some Americans. These Americans basically include military contractors, who become richer from these policies, and politicians, who get to feel even more important by creating new “threats” that tough and wise politicians get to eliminate.
On the financing end, mega banks benefit. I guess a few psychopaths who enjoy killing people might relish participating in a new war.
But excluding the 100,000 or so people in these categories, 319.9 million other Americans do not profit a dime from this quest to pursue “America’s (alleged) interests.”
In reality, wars and gargantuan military budgets send America’s government deeper into the red. The only way to pay for such a “policy” is to print even more money, a process which ultimately causes even greater inflation, and the standard of living of millions of Americans to decline even more. This policy, continued ad infinitum, will also require even more taxes, which further erodes Americans’ “freedom” to keep their own money.
And the above applies only to those of us who who will not be killed, wounded or become suicidal after returning from these global missions to “protect our freedoms” or, if one prefers, “advance our national interests.”
So to sum up:
- No nation is going to invade America.
- No nation’s government (except our own) is going to take away our freedoms.
- The only American “interest” in pursuing these wars is to give more money or power to a handful of people and institutions who are already rich and powerful.
That is, every assumption that justifies our nation’s foreign policy is nonsensical, bogus and ridiculous. Any bright high school student who has been exposed to the concept of critical thinking should be able to cut through the propaganda and recognize these arguments as specious.
One must therefore ask why more Americans don’t recognize this and demand that our leaders abandon these policies, policies that make America less secure, policies implemented by a government that seeks to expand its control over our lives (a condition that is the opposite of freedom)?
The answer is as simple as it is depressing. Most Americans do NOT recognize these points as true or valid. Not only do most Americans reject these arguments, they often smear those who make them as unpatriotic or naive.
Instead, the vast majority of Americans listen to the policy-makers with ph D’s in international relations, or “experts” in government and the CIA, or “authorities” at think tanks who purport to understand “the way the world really works.”
That is, “We the People” have made a colossal mistake. We’ve listened to, and trusted, the wrong people.