The latest in a series of articles elaborating on the ISO’s “Where We Stand” statement.
Socialist Worker, July 18, 2008
We oppose U.S. intervention in Cuba, the Middle East and elsewhere. We are for self-determination for Puerto Rico.
–From the ISO “Where We Stand”
You can read previous installments of Paul D’Amato’s articles on the ISO’s “Where We Stand” statement.
“‘FREEDOM’ IS a grand word,” Lenin once wrote, “but under the banner of freedom for industry, the most predatory wars were waged.”
Nowhere is this statement truer than the United States. Washington has always cloaked its predatory ambitions in the language of the American Revolution–freedom, liberty, democracy and freedom of trade. It has always been the “reluctant empire,” invading other countries for their own good, and always with kind and benevolent intentions.
Parallel to this has come the idea that the United States is destined to dominate the world. “The history of territorial expansion,” exclaimed O.H. Platt, a Connecticut senator in the late 1890s, “is the history of our nation’s progress and glory…We should rejoice that Providence has given us the opportunity to extend our influence, our institutions and our civilization into regions hitherto closed to us.”
The United States, from its inception, has been a society built upon violent conquest, beginning with the dispossession of Native Americans. “America the benevolent,” writes historian Sidney Lens, “does not exist and never has existed.”
From its war with Mexico in 1846–which resulted in the annexing of half of that country to the United States–to the occupation of Iraq, the United States has never been shy about using its military might to conquer territory, annex colonies or intimidate rivals and weaker nations. Its interventions in the Philippines, Korea and Vietnam alone are responsible for the deaths of more than 6 million people.
Between 1870 and 1922, the U.S. emerged as the world’s biggest industrial power, and its total wealth increased tenfold, from $30 billion to $320 billion. By the end of this period, the U.S. became Europe’s and the world’s creditor; after the Second World War, it added to its economic power its military supremacy–a position it has fought to maintain by any means necessary ever since.