‘Democracy,’ ‘justice’ mere excuses for American imperialism

Note: The first half of this column was published in the Kernel on Nov. 28.

Just days after Bill Clinton’s blatantly imperialistic remarks at the APEC summit, which I wrote about in the first half of this column, the Obama administration revealed its plans for a permanent military presence, of what will eventually be 2,500 troops, in Australia.

In addressing the Australian parliament, Obama said, in an alarmingly — yet not surprising — paternalistic hogwash: “So here’s what this region must know. As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority. As a result, reductions in U.S. defense spending will not — I repeat, will not — come at the expense of the Asia Pacific. My guidance is clear, because we plan and budget for the future. We will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region. The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.”

Lamentably, these remarks are in no way new — even in regards to this region of the world. American politicians have been saying the exact same things, with the exact same arguments (e.g., “We’re helping them.”; “We’re supporting democracy.”; “We’re enforcing justice.”; the list goes on), for at least the last two centuries.

So, when a politician says that we are in, that we are invading, another country to “support democracy,” or “provide aid,” or “fight terrorism”— whatever doublespeak he/she chooses — understand that this is a complete lie (and that, most habitually, the exact opposite is true).

These are our day’s “White Man’s Burdens.”

To be frank, your high school history books were wrong. The past century has been the real Age of Imperialism. Everything before this was child’s play.

And now that the Iraq war is “over” (and I assure you, it is in no way actually over, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will not truly “end” until we have exhausted them of their oil; then, after having sucked them dry, only then can we sweep them under our Brobdingnagian rug), our government is perfectly open about its willingness to move its attention to another underprivileged region of the world.

As Clinton said herself at the same APEC summit, “The war in Iraq is winding down. We have begun a transition in Afghanistan. After a decade in which we invested immense resources in these two theaters, we have reached a pivot point. We now can redirect some of those investments to opportunities and obligations elsewhere. And Asia stands out as a region where opportunities abound.”

What she, and Obama, really mean is, “As we end today’s wars, we look forward to the wars of tomorrow.”

Welcome to the New Age of Imperialism.