If you are an alien, terrestrial or extraterrestrial, looking at our nation these days, you would be scratching your head trying to figure out why our country is known as the USA and not the DPA (Disunited Peoples of America). Only thing that appears to unite us—not all but most—is the love of empire and pride in a corporate-military war machine that mercilessly sucks a great part of our economic, intellectual and moral resources; truly impoverishing our people and making Americans friends of some but enemies of most people around the world.
Somehow things went array for us back in 1947, when a Peter-principled president, who had succeeded FDR as a vice-presidential wonder, Harry S. Truman, succumbed to the wish of a military elite fresh from a popular war. The Department of War (War Office), so known since 1789, was renamed the Department of Defense; a true misnomer for a cabinet department that would eventually house a world police force with a budget as large as the combined budgets of the rest of the “military world,” both non-communist and communist. And that was the start of our fabled warring empire behind the mask of righteous self-defense . . . and the protection of “American interests,” which implied total whitewashing for any and every action our military might be asked to take.
A then military hero and later president, Dwight Eisenhower, did warn America of the consequences; however, a blossoming economy quickly placed a veil over any fear we might have harbored, and soon our true-blue patriotic military would supplant, and eventually expand on, Germany’s then recently defeated Wehrmacht. And prosperous America sold itself to the world as a benign powerful nation-empire promoting both freedom and democracy; and more importantly, as the virtuous warrior of capitalism intent in defeating communism; or for that matter, any form of socialism.
And thus, a new era of disguised enslavement began under the pseudo-auspices of an America pure in its ideals of liberty, human dignity and free enterprise; ideals that we never did quite adopt at home but were quickly intent in promoting, forcefully if need be, on the neighborhood of nations, whether they were willing to accept recommendations, or our God-given right to impose them.
So here we are seven decades later harvesting the fruits of many costly failed missions where America tried to proselytize a planet that did not wish to be proselytized; now an empire in quick decline, trillions of dollars in debt, being led by a string of demagogues and political connivers, all of the same heretical denomination, forcing us to kneel at the elite’s pew! And, what might prove even worse, new demagogues and connivers ready to take the reins in 2017 from a far-from-sober society where much of the population consists of deportables, deplorables, delusionals and demagogues.
So here we find ourselves, in combined stupor and idiocy, going through the motions of selecting a government that in essence will be no different from the governments we’ve had since the end of World War II. Our discussions will continue to circle around issues that may loom menacing or critically important to us as individuals, but seldom if ever will we bring up issues that are critical to all of us as a living and breathing society, and put them at the head of the list. We, the citizenry, are once again brainwashed to see this presidential election as a referendum on what might appear as important to us in a personal way: jobs and purchasing power; or racial discrimination; or attitude towards sexual orientation; or prospective legislation on immigration that may affect our families or ethno-cultural groups with a common affinity; or myriad other common causes with simpatico groups in religion (or atheism), sociopolitical ideology . . . or a very new favorite in 2016 exploited by Candidate Trump as “the revenge of the bigopats”: distrust of all politicians and the release of pent up hate from the politically correct closet.
Discussion of a change in American foreign policy, a policy that has been the principal cause of most of our ills—economic, political and safety-related—is a taboo for us, the non-elite folks. Our two-variety politicians always seem to join forces on this topic and classify it as verboten to us little folk; both Democratic and Republican elites always enlisting the State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon to seek enemies around the world and, if they are unable to find them, to create them at any cost.
And we have been doing just that for several years, corralling Russia in an open, in your face fashion . . . after Mikael Gorbachev found what he thought to be an honorable way to retreat from an economically and politically harmful cold war. He, no doubt, had high expectations, perhaps even assurances, that the US would be helpful, not vengeful, in any political veering that Russia and the other soviet republics would take. But the US not only did not live up to Russia’s expectations, or any sub-rosa given assurances, but after a quarter of a century has turned the tables and now makes Russia, disparagingly through Vladimir Putin as a Rasputin-like figure, the renascent enemy. And most political and military honchos in the US collude in making the Russian leader the ogre-of-choice, with the topics dealing with Crimea, Ukraine and Syria being simplistically treated by both politicians and media in a purely propagandistic way designed to make Russia our enemy-du jour, even when China is the heir-apparent for our exiting empire.
Unfortunately, the subject of foreign policy, and the financial responsibility our wars of choice have had on this nation’s debt, where half of the current $20 trillion can be directly or indirectly attributed to a flawed and at times criminal foreign policy, is one that our political candidates to the presidency prefer to be mute on. And the American electorate seems content to have the corporate media maintain the reality show alive and entertaining, supplying Warmonger Clinton and Narcissist Boob Trump with daily episodes dealing with the candidates’ personal stamina; their tweets and emails; their personal taxes; and myriad other matters minuscule in importance to our closeted issue: a flawed foreign policy. That . . . when an honest, sobering review of our foreign policy could provide us with answers to most domestic and international issues, from the economy to national security; giving us a more direct, a far less lugubrious path, to reach at least unity of purpose for all Americans irrespective of any personal interests.
Could it then be that Americans, given our obvious lack of past and present civic involvement, are simply harvesting our just deserts?
Copyright © 2016 Tanosborn
Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at email@example.com.