Tuesday, August 9, 2016

On Trump and American Imperialism

1983: US meets fierce resistance in Grenada but wins the war against communism
by May Olvera

On two separate occasions family members approached me to tell me that, “50 GOP officials warned that Trump would put National Security at risk”. They were very excited, for they are definitely not supporters of Trump and figured this would cause him a severe blow. However, they are not supporters of Clinton either, and their excitement rather confused me.

I myself am not a supporter of either candidate. I refuse to support a fascist, and I refuse to support a neoliberal imperialist. The truth is that the width of our country’s mainstream political spectrum has become rather small, and I can’t say that I fall anywhere in between those two or remotely close enough to make a sacrifice of conscience.

What surprised me about their excitement, though, was that it didn’t seem very well thought out. They seemed to have, for maybe just a few moments, fallen back into a very simple formula of “blue team vs red team” that keeps the majority of our country glued to a performance of badly acted theatrics. “50 GOP officials warned that Trump would put National Security at risk”… Okay, and? What does National Security mean to those 50 GOP officials? Does it mean the same as it does to me? As it does to my family? As it does to the unemployed? Immigrants? College students? Single parents? Working class families? Average people in poor countries? Of course not.

The letter written by those 50 officials states that Trump “weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world”. The term “free world” was first used during the Cold War as propaganda against communist countries, and the letter goes on to list “freedom of the press” as one of many beliefs that Trump would not uphold. As a Journalism student, that inclusion stood out to me. Oftentimes the repression of press is somehow, after much mental gymnastics, tied to communist systems as one of their inherent attributes. However, in my capitalist home country of Mexico, 87 journalists have been killed since 1992. As far as I know and after a somewhat thorough search, the United States has done very little to condemn these murders or attempt to improve the conditions in Mexico that in-part lead to these killings.

The letter continues to get more disturbing.
“Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based”.
I don’t know about Trump, but I believe that America’s national interests are clear: the preservation of the current Empire at any cost, even at the expense of the very democracy that the letter labels as threatened.

The United States Empire has attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments since WWII, many of them democracies. These include Syria (1949) in which a democratic government was pushed out and replaced with dictator Husni al-Za’im; Iran (1953) in which Mohammad Mossadegh was replaced by the Shah after Iran had voted to nationalize their petroleum industry; Brazil (1964) in which the US backed rebels to replace a democratic government with what resulted in 21 years of dictatorships; and perhaps most famously, Chile (1973) in which the CIA murdered and overthrew Salavador Allende’s democratically elected government to establish Augusto Pinochet’s fascist dictatorship which resulted in up to 3,200 murders, 80,000 internments, and as many as 30,000 people tortured. Additionally, the United States is the only country in the world to be convicted of terrorism in the International Court of Justice for supporting the Contras in their rebellion against the Nicaraguan government. Furthermore, America’s “indispensable alliances” include most notably Saudi Arabia and Israel, both being colossal violators of human rights.

I have to ask myself, is this what people hope Trump is able to continue? When former CIA operatives say that someone can’t do what they believe to be a good job of navigating American foreign affairs, I don’t think the statement should be taken as an immediate negative. There’s not much doubt in my mind that Trump would be disastrous in more than plenty of ways, however the perpetuation of American Imperialism is an absolute certainty under Clinton or under any other establishment politician. Perhaps Trump will be even worse than they are, but to simply see a headline that says “50 GOP Officials Warn Trump Would Put National Security At Risk” and not fully examine what the terms “national security” and “American foreign policy” imply is a grave mistake. Be happy about the headline, be pissed about it if it suits you, but really try to understand it.

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