Will Matthias deplores what he sees as America’s unhelpful habit of poking its nose in other people’s affairs.
A map showing all the countries that have seen American military action since 1950. (Source: Wikipedia)
Since the end of the Second World War much has changed. Our societies are different, our alliances varied and the influence – economic or otherwise – of global powers has shifted dramatically. Prior to 1941 the United States of America was comfortably sat within its own territories, stroking its constitutional rights. This isolationist foreign policy was practiced in the US since the Declaration of Independence in 1776 for the most part, and though there are several exceptions to this, the official foreign policy remained of an isolationist nature. Ever since they entered the war in 1941 (and following the nuclear bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) the US have declared themselves “police officer of the world.”
Though technically very few wars have actually been declared, with regards to conflict in the wider world, the USA has been at war with somebody or something almost every year since the end of the Second World War. From communism in the East to terrorism in the Middle East, America has always felt a moralistic duty to their comrades to protect them from big bad predators like ideologies that differ from theirs, political systems that don’t include democracy and anyone with funny facial hair.
America’s influence on the globe spreads far and wide; currently its military presence stands as the greatest force on earth. The US make no secret of their gargantuan $610 billion defence budget, $9 billion more than the total spending of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, the UK, India and Germany! But that doesn’t mean it’s welcome. Though our mighty Police Officer’s heart may be in the right place, the actions of the USA over the last 70 years have left large parts of the world scarred, war torn and economically ruined. Its old Cold War rival, Russia saw its long standing communist rulers toppled by Uncle Sam and the Kool Aid Man. Though this may have been a morally righteous act in the eyes of the west, Russia’s political system has been warped into a twisted, power hungry oligarchy, corrupted (in a literal sense) and by its extreme right policies.
Though comparatively, Mother Russia has suffered lightly at Uncle Sam’s hand. Indeed one only needs look at the Middle East at any point over the last decade to see a recent example of the US’ interference and how it can cripple nations. Terrorist groups in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria have all become a metaphorical thorn in the side of peace. The unnecessary force used by America to spread democracy and topple terrorism in these regions has done nothing but weaken the countries. Even on its own shores, the USA has forked out a whopping $1.7 trillion, and during a time of global economic crisis heavily linked to America’s banks the US must see this ridiculous spending as a waste of their much needed resources.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the global audience had prayed for an improvement in Middle Eastern politics and American interference there seems to have produced absolutely no substantially beneficial result; all the Middle East has gained from this intervention is yet more conflict and huge numbers of dead civilians (approximated to be 21,000 in Afghanistan alone). The ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and the rest of the Middle East however seem to be spiralling out of all control and there is no clear victory for either side.
To put a cherry on the cake of interventionist war the rising threat of an organisation indecisive with names has formed under the USA’s nose. Indeed the unstoppable tide of ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh (or whatever name they are by the time you read this) has been allowed to grow so significantly only because of destabilisation caused by the War on Terror. I must stress however, there are many factors affecting this extremely complex issue, but it is my opinion that the USA has the largest role to play in the messy Middle East of today.
Of course, the War on Terror is a modern example of America’s interventionism and the evil it can cause. But as history shows, other conflicts have proven more destructive. The Vietnam War saw America plunge itself into a 20 year conflict losing 58,307 soldiers and an estimated $120 billion; the use of napalm and horrific tactics in this war have raised many questions about the morality of this conflict. International relations between the US and certain Asian countries have been permanently damaged by this awful and unjust war.
The USA’s reasons for this war boil down to a fundamental disagreement on ideology, with Northern Vietnamese guerrilla forces fighting to keep communism in power there. The USA and its anti-communist agenda may have failed to contain the Red Revolution in the east, but the brutality of the USA cannot be ignored and the question remains, is this just?
Though the United States has (mostly) good intentions with its interventions the legality and morality of its interventionist conflicts are forever in question. I don’t believe that any one country should use its economic and military power to enforce its beliefs onto other states. The values that the US constitution hold dear such as liberty, and freedom of speech and thought don’t seem to apply to foreigners, who, in this almost tyrannical Sheriff’s view, need to be told how to be free.