I recently received this comment and I would like to adress it as a post:
The US specifically and its foreign policy. Several times you've described its sinister-ism, argued that it's a malevolent force and influence, etc. All of these things are arguably true--in some measure, at some times--but I can't grant you that this is an American phenomenon. It's a human problem. How much foreign aid do European states give? How often have developing countries tried to protect human rights? An idealist can certainly imagine the US taking advantage of its unique position in the world and changing those tendencies, but if it's difficult enough (and bloody enough--see Iraq) to deter it from trying, is that sufficient for an indictment? I've spent 3 years working on my PhD (in international relations/int'l conflict), and I have to say I struggle to see how the US is exceptional in this regard.
You are right. I too often blame only the US government when its actions can be traced back to all nations or a human phenomenon. I personally think it is the nature of capitalism. The idea that profit and the market come before human needs, can only lead to a world where a small percentage of the global population lives off the labor and resources of the rest of the globe. The actions of the IMF, World Bank, and major corporations lead to many of the world’s problems. So you are right these factors should not solely be placed on Uncle Sam’s shoulders
So why do I pick on the US so much ? Here goes:
I am from the US, so its polices affect my future, and I have a vested interested in seeing that runs more effectively. I worked for two years in the Bronx, in one of the worst school districts I have ever seen. I cannot comment on education in France or India, I know very little about it. I have never had affordable insurance in the States, and now the social security I have paid into is going to shit. But you may be asking, this has nothing to do with foreign policy. The country in which I was born, Iran, was ruined by US foreign policy. See Mohammad Mossadegh and the CIA coup and the rise of Shah for details. I have seen the effects of US foreign policy first hand in Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, Laos, Mozambique, and Angola. But again you are right these places have also been affected my other global powers as well. I guess it is the hypocrisy of the US that makes it such an easy target for me. They say one thing, with the flags and freedom , but then act in the exact opposite manner.
The US is also an easy target because it has been doing so much, for so long to extend its power throughout the world. Why else do we spend more on military spending than all the other nations combined? ALL OF THEM! Why else do we have military bases in 170 countries? Why else do we wield so much power in the IMF, the World Bank and the UN. I mean Paul Wolfowitz is the head of the World bank…that is not an accident.
So you are right, maybe I am a bit too harsh on the US. And maybe other nations are just as bad; I am sure China is no sitting angel. But the US has chosen to champion a system I believe to be corrupt.
As for foreign aid, I think we all know that aid is not the right term for the money being spent. These moneys are used to influence politics, broker arms deals and, curry favors. See the withholding of aid from Palestine in the last few weeks. This is criminal behavior in which the entire world is involved. Again, you are right it is not the US alone, but you have to admit that the US does have a lot of pull at the UN and power over most of Western Europe.
About your second point:
The second point is on attempting to change other's minds. As a liberal, I think the main weakness in the progressive movement is the chauvinistic approach that its activists take in order to try and convert the flock.
Again, you are right. I don’t know what to do. I guess after having had my own awakening and learning about how much the US has affected global power, I just feel that if others learned the things I have learned, then they would be just as angry as me and would demand change. I mean we are living in a near state of fascism at home, and over extending ourselves through the world, in order to secure and open new markets. This cannot and will not lead to a sustainable peaceful world. So how do we show, explain or “awaken” people unless we repeatedly tell them? For example do people know that while the politicians, both Dems and Rep, talk about withdrawal on any timetable, that the US is building the biggest embassy in the world in Baghdad. It will be a permanent little city in the heart of the Middle East. What else is this for, but for complete control of the world’s most important resources? I think these types of facts are vital for truly understanding the role of US foreign policy. We cannot simply say, that the US is in Iraq to bring about democracy. Yet, people still do…I have had a long day and now I will go to sleep. But I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I am not trying to sound self-righteous. I am an idealist and I refuse to believe that utopia is impossible. People like me are hard to stomach sometimes. But I believe in human beings. I have faith in a better future.