It has been said that even a broken clock shows the correct time twice daily. Shortly after taking office, Bill O’Reilly asked President Donald J. Trump how he could respect “a killer” like Vladimir Putin. In a harbinger of the year to come, the President demonstrated his conspicuous lack of circumspection and replied, "There are a lot of killers. You think our country's so innocent?"
No, Mr. President, this nation is not innocent, and many over whom you preside consider as problematic our nation’s transgressions in the past when you propose “America First” as a diplomatic doctrine for the future.
As the United States ascended to the status of a global superpower, the pursuit of our vital economic interests fostered unhealthy relationships with other nations and nurtured animus in too many citizens on this planet. Cooperation, not domination, needs to become the rule of the modern age.
The Platt amendment to the Cuban Constitution claimed the American right to intervene in Cuban affairs in perpetuity and was part of the effort to guarantee access to inexpensive sugar.
Our military occupation five years later and the installation of American-backed dictators for the next thirty years laid the foundation for the Cuban revolution in 1958 and the ascendancy of Fidel Castro. Had we been less meddlesome in the early 20th Century, would Cuba have become an ally?
In 1953, U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of Iran would depose a popular Prime Minister and install the ruthless Shah Reza Pahlavi. The action yielded some short-term economic benefit by granting access to cheap petroleum, but resentment for our interference festered for decades and left Iran with oppressive regimes all of whom have associated the U.S. with the Shah’s imprisonment and torture of dissidents. Look where our relations stand many years later.
Long before the “fire and fury” speech of the current Chief Executive, Harry Truman threatened “a rain of ruin from the air, the likes of which have never been seen on this Earth.”
Three years of carpet-bombing in North Korea followed that speech and decimated their civilization.
The strategy hardened hearts against our nation and precipitated into the vitriol of vengeance heard in 2017. Sixty years later, Korea is still divided.
As a nation that prides itself, allegedly, on operating by the consent of the governed, we have time-and-time again intervened wherever the ideology of unbridled capitalism is challenged.
When Chile elected a socialist President, Salvador Allende, our government aided-and-abetted in the coup d’état, and immediately recognized the military junta. When did the U.S.A. become the arbiters of the will of all the peoples of the world?
How did we drift so far from the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln who suggested, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.”
American vital interests have too often involved pillaging the natural resources of developing nations and leaving poverty and oppression in our wake.
More than a century of short-sighted interventions across the globe, imposing neoliberal policies abroad, have only succeeded in creating more-troubled hotspots down the meandering road of history. In the hierarchy of our diplomacy, America has always been first.
Many have complained about our role as the world’s policemen when it comes time to address humanitarian concerns abroad.
Ironically, the same parties frequently embrace the idea of playing the neighborhood bully when it might lead to paying a bit less for crude oil.
Our military strength does not make right the injustices we have inflicted on the citizens of this world.
However, recognizing the effects of our imperialistic tendencies might prove invaluable to reclaiming our status as a moral nation, provided that we seek to secure the blessings of liberty for all humanity. That will necessitate a return to the Jeffersonian ideal of "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”