We are continuing to publish on our site the fragments from the book AMERICA’S PLANS
FOR WORLD HEGEMONY, by Romanian author Calistrat M. Atudorei which was published in English version very recently by printing house ”ePublishers” in Bucharest.
Chapter 2.The First Political Principles of the United States
I will further seek to evince some of the benchmarks in the developing over time of some fundamental
conceptions, ideologies and strategies that American administrations relied on. This will help us to a clearer
Identification of the ground for the current foreign policy of US.
To begin with, we can see that the principles of American foreign policy that structures the rhetoric of its leaders feed on certain national myths. All speeches by the White House presidents justified the wars abroad by referring to these myths. The central landmark is American exceptionalism, the unparalleled uniqueness of the American nation. Since the formation of the United States, the myth of exceptionalism, for its part, has always been linked with the myth of American innocence, according to which America is an escape from the tumultuous and bloody European history. This is why America has come to represent the new, edenic world, full of purity and hope. A whole plethora of personalities have written on this topic. Particularly stands out Herman Melville1, Walt Whitman or Henry James with their very inspired works about the myth of American innocence. There are also Thomas Paine (about America seen as re-“beginning of times”2) and Graham Greene (especially in his novel The Quiet American). On the same direction were YehoshuaArieli (in Individualism and Nationalism in American Ideology3), John William Draper (in the History of American Civil Wars4) or John Crevecoeur (about the American “new man”5).
The myth of innocence has greatly supported the aspiration towards independence—in particular against the British power—and then it underpinned the trend towards an isolationist foreign policy of the United States. Given that America is bounded by oceans to the left and to the right, we better understand why in the 17th and 18th centuries the dominant orientation of US politicians was to seek not to engage the US in business with the rest of the world. Later, however, in a world that began to globalize, a world of interdependence, this policy of isolationism could no longer operate at any level (economic, political, social). That is how, in pursuing to keep power, security and interests, the United States have gradually decided to move to an external policy of interventionism in the affairs of other sovereign states, through unilateral actions. This was the case with the Philippines in 1898, with Mexico in 1914, with Haiti in 1915, with the Dominican Republic in 1916 and with many other states… All these interventions were justified by idealistic reasons: America’s will to expand the limits of freedom, to offer free markets to its trading partners, by assuming the right to protect others through humanitarian interventions and, above all, by the desire to bring democracy to the whole world. For example, in 1915, after US intervention in Mexico, the United States President in office, Woodrow Wilson, asserted: “We went to Mexico to make it safe for democracy.”6
An important nuance to remark is that all US presidents always took care those US actions to be seen as “liberating” and not “conquering.” In a leap over time, we notice that after the invasion of Iraq, on May 23, 2003, President George Bush justified the military operation in front of Coast Guard Academy graduates, saying among others: “America loves peace. (…) As a people dedicated to civil rights, we feel the impetus to define human rights for others. (…) America seeks to expand in the realm of freedom.”7 Also, in a speech on November 7, 2002, George Bush said on behalf of the USA that “We have an obligation to lead, to make the world a more peaceful place.”8
It is also noteworthy that American politicians have always portrayed the world in a manichaeistic perspective (divided into good and evil, black and white), where on the one hand there were the US as the good, moral, civilizing part, and on the other hand there was an enemy portrayed as cruel and evil, against which fierce fighting represents a pressing necessity. Thus, in the Second World War there was an “axis of evil” in the form of Nazism, during the Cold War there was a “communist Empire of Evil,” and after September 11, 2001, another “axis of evil” was defined, made up of the “state sponsors of terrorism.” In 2002, in the campaign to convince the Americans and the United Nations that it is urgent to start a war against Iraq, President Bush stated with emphasis that “America is the greatest nation, with the most honest people on earth.”9
US historian and diplomat Andrew J. Bacevich (who also served as the director of Boston University’s International Relations Center) conducted a detailed analysis of the history of US foreign policy in his work entitled American Empire. With bitter irony, he finds that the dominant guiding principle of almost all American administrations for over 200 years seems to be the utopia that “America represents the avant-garde of history.” The first consequence that occurs from this policy anchored in the idealism of American exceptionalism is “the transformation of the global order and thus the perpetuation of its own domination, guided by the imperative of military supremacy, perpetually and globally projected.” As a result, Bacevich shows that in the arrogant interpretation of America’s leaders, “History has a distinct direction and destination. Uniquely among all nations of the world, the United States understands and manifests the purpose of history.” Therefore, US hegemony is nothing else but “the achievement of the purpose of history…”1
The Mentality of “Civilizer” Colonists
In fact, this kind of missionary ideology has been assumed over time by all the great imperialist powers. We recall, for example, that philosopher John Locke spoke in the seventeenth century about the “rational man” coming from England, in contrast to the native population, “the American Indians.” Since the Indians were not very skilled in working the land, and the English colonists took the initiative, it meant, in Locke’s view, that the latter were more likely to become landowners!
An informed analysis of the English colonists’ mentality was expressed by Bhikhu Parekh, aphilosopher of Indian origin, but also a member of the British Parliament. Parekh appreciated that John Locke “justified English colonialism in terms of his vision on good,” according to which “since the Indians roamed freely over the land and did not enclose it,” it means that the land “was free, empty, vacant, wild and could be taken over without their consent.” Parekh highlights that
”In Locke’s vision, the Indians’ trouble was that they had “very few desires,” they were “easily contented.” They did not want to accumulate wealth, engage in trade, and integrate into an international market to fully exploit the potential of the land. In this respect, the English colonists were far superior to them and therefore ”they had a much better claim to the land.”11
The parliamentary philosopher explained that Locke was convinced that if natives are not left to starve and if they are given their share of income—since colonists raised their living standards and offered jobs beneficial for the Indians too—then it seemed that “the principle of equality was not violated.”
John Locke, like any Englishman, was very fond of the principles, especially because he was a posh philosopher.
The rhetoric of the rights arrogated by the English colonists was so convincingly exposed by Locke and other comrades of his own that, as the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville ironically noted, the English become Yankees succeeded in “exterminating the Indian race… without violating a single great principle of morality in plain sight.”12
In line with a study13 conducted by Donald Fixico, director of the Center for the Study of Indigenous Nations at Kansas University, the first US administrations authorized more than 1,500 wars, attacks and raids on the Indians at the beginning of the new federal state, most registered in any country in the world against their own indigenous people. At the end of the 19th century, only 20% of the indigenous population who lived in North America on Columbus’s arrival in 1492 survived. Approximately 80–90% of this population was decimated after the arrival of the Europeans. It has been estimated14 that throughout the Western Hemisphere were decimated (starting with 1492) about 100 million Native Americans after the colonists’s arrival.
Even then, the justifying principles were centered on a kind of “humanitarian intervention” as well. In this respect, a classic 1859 essay by another great philosopher, John Stuart Mill, serves as testimony on the situation of the colony in India. Through his essay titled A Few Words on Non-Intervention, Mill urged the UK’s government to take vigorous action to “specifically conquer more of India; Britain must pursue this important mission.” He insisted that this conquest must be made even if they “rise up to stigmatize us” on the continent. Europeans on the continent are “instigated with hatred against us,” wrote Mill, because they cannot understand that England is truly “innovative in the world,” a remarkable nation that acts only “in the service of others.”15 We may actually ascertain that Britain’s invasion in India, so philosophically justified, was one of the most serious crimes during its imperial domination.
Likewise, France was no less than them when, for example, it fulfilled its “civilizing mission” in Algeria, while “exterminating the indigenous population,”16 as the French wartime minister at that time noted.
Of course, the English and the French considered themselves representatives of the highest standards of civilization. (…)
And yet, the “civilizer” colonists considered that such demanding standards no longer apply when it came to “barbarian peoples.” It is somewhat paradoxical that the hypocritical practices of European colonizing empires were very condemned at the inception of the United States. The main motivation of the forthcoming Monroe doctrine came to protect America from the old European corrupt and destructive tendencies, to save the purity of the “New World.” But, as we know, history repeats itself and the “New World” became as brutal and cruel as the old European empires.
This was one of the first strategies of US foreign policy, on the basis of which many of the principles promoted over time by the Washington administrations were developed. Elaborated in 1823 in the tenure of the fifth US president, James Monroe, the doctrine stated that any efforts that European nations would make to take control of any independent state in North or South America would be considered “manifestation of an unfriendly position towards the United States.”18
At that time the former colonies controlled in the Western Hemisphere by the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire gained their independence. The Monroe doctrine established that the New World (Western Hemisphere states) and the Old World (Europe, Asia and Africa) are composed of completely separate and independent nations, and as a result they must remain in distinct spheres of influence. From this doctrine, other foreign policy strategies were derived at the beginning of the 20th century, of which we can distinguish two of significant value:
– multilateralism, seen as international governance policy or, in Robert Keohane’s characterization, “the practice of coordinating national policies in groups of three or more states”19 and
– non-intervention policy described by Henry Hodges as “absence of interference by a state (or several states) in the foreign affairs of another state without its consent or in the internal affairs of that state, with or without its consent.”20
As a consequence of the Monroe Doctrine, the United States supported Venezuelan dictator Juan Vicente Gomez, at the start of the 20th century, who refused to conduct trade with European colonists. Instead, Gomez “opened the country to US corporations”21 that were about to be founded.
Roosevelt Corollary derives from the Monroe Doctrine and refers to the assertive approach, as moral imperative, of President Theodore Roosevelt towards Latin America and the Caribbean. If the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 was essentially passive (demanding that Europeans do not increase their influence or recolonize any part of the Western Hemisphere), starting with the 20th century, a more confident US began to be eager to take on the role of regional supervisor (or even regional policeman). It is suggestive to mention that such assertiveness was often characterized as the “Big Stick Policy.”22
“Roosevelt Corollary” was defined by Theodore Roosevelt as the right of the United States, as a “civilized country” to intervene in the Western hemisphere “in flagrant cases of mistakes or inability.”23 The corollary served at that time as justification for US military intervention in Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
This is—it might be said—the primordial principle of American foreign policy, from which the American idealism and exceptionalism most obviously derive, foundations whereby aspiration to world supremacy comes into being.
The principle has a pronounced moralistic connotation, feature currently called “Wilsonian,” after President Woodrow Wilson, who served in office between 1913 and 1921. Wilson decided it was time to “teach” other nations how to behave. His words remained anthological in the context of dissatisfaction with the disarray of states such as Nicaragua, Santo Domingo, Haiti and Mexico: “I will teach the South American republics to choose good people!”24
Also in 1915, during the intervention in Mexico, President Wilson proclaimed that “We went to Mexico to make it safe for democracy.”25 Later, Wilson formulated a justification for conquering the Philippines in the essay Democracy and Efficiency in which he wrote that “our interest must be marching further, though we are altruistic; other nations must stop and see this; they must not seek to stop us.”26 Yet, the history notes that despite the claimed Wilson’s altruism, after his interventions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, both countries have fallen into ruin…
These invasive episodes were beginning to foreshadow the path American administrations would follow, due to the manner in which they understood to apply the concepts of “democracy” and “freedom” in relations with other states. Over time, more sophisticated concepts and principles, such as “unilateralism,” “preemption,” “regime change,” and “imposing democracy by force of arms” were developed.
American power was still in its infancy during Wilson’s administration, but, as his White House predecessor, William Howard Taft noted, “it is not too far away the day when the entire hemisphere will be ours in fact because, by virtue of our superiority of race it’s already ours morally.”27
In the view of the historian Alvin M. Josephy, Wilson’s idealism gradually acquired the character of a “harsh, self-righteous crusade,” which degenerated into “despotic, imperialist interference in the affairs of other countries.” Josephy, who also worked for Kennedy’s and Nixon’s presidential administrations, characterized the Wilsonian period by relying on “feelings such as pride, honor and cultural preeminence of the United States,” which later foreshadowed “popular backing for similar unilateral overseas ‘police’ activities on a much grander scale after World War II.”28
Strategic Principles Before and During WWII
Prior to WWII, the strategic group Council on Foreign Relations set up the basic principles of a memorandum29 that would constitute America’s strategy for the post-war period, according to studies by Laurence Shoup and William Minter. The study by Shoup and Minter shows it was foreseen that when there would be peace again, the United States would seek to “obtain uncontested power.” To this end they sought to be sure of “limiting any exercise of sovereignty” of states that could interfere with global interests of the US, and to this end they considered that a program was needed to quickly achieve the “US military and economic supremacy.”30
It is also important to recall that the United States and the United Kingdom used in World War II a tactic that drove Germany and the Soviet Union to destroy each other. Intended to provide post-war prevalence of the Atlanticist Alliance, the strategy falls within political realism in “blame game” (“buck-passing”) type tactics.31 Thus, although they entered the war in December 1941, the United States did not disembark the army in France until June 1944, less than a year before the end of the conflagration. That is why the huge burden of overcoming Nazi Germany was still carried by the Soviet Union. It is estimated that 24 million Soviets died in the conflict, out of which 16 million civilians32. In their turn, the Germans suffered three times more losses during the battles on the Eastern Front compared to all their other battles33. Overall, as provided for in a study34 published in 2005 by the Berlin State Department, over 7 million Germans (approximately 5.3 million soldiers and 2 million civilians) died in the Second World War. Instead, the United States and Britain together lost 650,000 people throughout the war, taking into account all theaters of operations35.
Regarding the strategies that prompted Germany to attack the Soviet Union in the Second World War, a number of significant documents and relevant arguments were presented by several Russian historians and researchers. A work that offers interesting details is Russia’s Crown of Thorns,36signed by Oleg Platonov, director of the Research Institute for the History of Russian Civilization. Also, revealing data are provided in the documentary Stalin’s Other War37 about the confidential meeting in May 1941 of Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, with members of the British royal house. The conclusion of all these data perfectly merges with the geopolitical strategies described above, according to which Russia and Germany, as main continental powers, were deliberately pushed38 to fight each other, in order to change the balance of power in favor of the Atlanticist powers (mainly US and UK).
(To be continued)