By David William Pear
If you want to know the untold history of the U.S.A., then a good place to start is with the history of US imperialism in Asia from the mid-19th century until today. Not only will that reveal the history of the criminality of US foreign policy, but it will also reveal the true nature of U.S. capitalism, imperialism, fascism and U.S. wars of aggression: past, present and future.
For centuries the U.S. has preached that it believes in democracy, freedom and self-determination, but its actions towards other countries speak louder than words. Internationally the U.S. is a predator and a bully. It subjugates small countries, corrupts them by backing right-wing dictators, and enables death squads to commit mass murder of all suspected dissidents. During the First Cold War leftists, anti-colonialists, nationalists and intellectuals were called “communists” and imprisoned, tortured and executed. Now they are called “terrorists”.
The foreign policy interests of the U.S. are to promote the neocolonial interests of U.S. corporations, and to project the financial and military power of the U.S. internationally. If the U.S. cannot bully a head of state into collaborating then it backs a military coup d’etat, stirs up internal violence with divide and conquer strategies, and covertly uses mercenaries to start civil wars. If all else fails it will find a pretext or a false flag to invade and overthrow an unfriendly government.
Because of past disasters in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq the U.S. is hesitant to commit large numbers of U.S. boots on the ground. Instead it prefers the safety of “boots in the sky” with its domination of air power to bomb helpless countries into submission. If it cannot get a country to submit then it destroys it mercilessly as an example of the price that other countries will pay if they do not go along to get along with the U.S.A. The U.S. never gives up on its quest for control of worldwide capitalism. Any doubters of U.S. persistence need only to look to North Korea, Cuba and Iran.
U.S. foreign policy is the domain of the elites. The public busies itself with domestic issues, just trying to make a living and raise a family. Sometimes the elites of foreign policy let their masks slip to reveal their true nature. When Zbigniew Brzezinski said in 2009 that “today it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people” he was not just intellectualizing, as if teaching a Harvard course on political science. Brzezinski was admitting to his personal responsibility for policies that have killed millions of people.
Brzezinski with First Lady Rosalynn Carter and President Jimmy Carter. (Image by CSIS: Center for Strategic & International Studies)
It was Brzezinski that advised President Jimmy Carter to destabilize Afghanistan in the late 1970s early 1980’s. At the time Afghanistan’s socialist government was modernizing the country, developing its economy, educating its people, and improving the standard of living for millions of Afghans. It was also advancing the rights and opportunities for women, which the U.S. is constantly touting as one of its cherished human rights concerns. It was Brzezinski’s destabilization project that set women’s rights back hundreds of years in Afghanistan. When human rights get in the way of U.S. foreign policy objectives, then human rights lose.
In 1979 Brzezinski advised Carter to secretly authorize the CIA to give financial and military aid to further inflame Islamic fanatic mujahideen that were violently opposed to modernization. When the Soviet Union intervened militarily in support of the threatened Afghan government it was not an invasion. It was the legal response of Russia to a neighboring country that was asking for military aid against foreign backed insurgents. Today we see a similar Russian military assistance program in Syria for similar reasons against very similar villains.
Carter feigned indignation and outrage towards Russia and he put the freeze back into the Cold War. He decried the “invasion as a deliberate effort by a powerful atheistic government to subjugate an independent Islamic people”, and Carter claimed it was a Russian plot to control Afghanistan’s oil. Carter declared a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow-hosted Olympics to punish Russia, and by doing so he dashed the dreams of U.S. athletes that had been training for 4 years in preparation for the Olympic Games. A good time was had by all in Moscow without the U.S. participation. U.S. athletes were sacrificed as pawns in Brzezinski’s game of the Grand Chessboard. It is a blood soaked chessboard where the masters see flesh and blood people as objects to be toyed with.
What Brzezinski and Carter did was to set a trap that the Soviets fell into when they sent their military into Afghanistan. The trap had been laid before the Russian “invasion”, and not afterwards as Brzezinski would brag years later in a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur:
“Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahiddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.”
Carter and Brzezinski were overjoyed that the U.S. would then have the sweet revenge of giving Russia a bloody Vietnam experience. Carter and Brzezinski gave Afghanistan a Vietnam experience too, in which millions of people were destroyed.
Once events in Afghanistan were set into motion, then Carter and Brzezinski added gasoline to the inflamed Islamic fanatics with billions of dollars in U.S. military support funneled through Pakistan. Thousands of mercenaries from Arab countries poured into Afghanistan to join the fight and get paid too. They were called “Afghan-Arabs”. The Brzezinski-Carter scheme would be continued under President Reagan and led to the destruction of Afghanistan, the re-subjugation of Afghan women, and millions of Afghan civilian victims of war. Afghanistan never recovered but from its ashes rose up the Taliban and al Qaeda. The mysteries surrounding the attacks on the U.S. of September 11th 2001 are unresolved. Regardless of whodunit the attacks of 9/11 would be used as justification by President W. Bush to launch another invasion of Afghanistan.
Brzezinski’s egotism to show how smart he thought he was is the smoking gun of George Orwell’s famous quote:
“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
For decades the U.S. pretended that the false narrative of a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was reality. The U.S. glorified the mujahideen as freedom fighters, when actually they were Islamic fanatics and mercenary proxies used by the U.S. and its co-conspirators. The U.S. and the Saudis funded a heavily armed brand of Islamic terrorism that the U.S. though that it could control, ignore or kill off once it was no longer needed.
As Brzezinski also said in that Le Nouvel Observateur interview:
“What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”
The U.S. thought that it had found the “silver bullet” to destroy all of its enemies and control West Asia with “stirred-up Muslims”. With the illusion of such power the U.S. fed its addiction to regime change projects using Islamic mercenaries. As Brzezinski said, controlling people is difficult. The result of regime change projects has been chaos. For the U.S. chaos is an opportunity. It is of no concern for the elites that chaos costs millions of people in the world to suffer.
Today the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria can be laid posthumously at the feet of Brzezinski. Carter has escaped public blame and he still teaches Sunday School as the Nobel Peace Prize president. Brzezinski was so good at killing millions of people that he went on to advising another Peace Prize president how to do it. President Obama called Brzezinski “one of our most outstanding thinkers”. Obama picked up the killing where W. Bush left off.
Killing millions of people instead of trying to control them is the model for asymmetrical warfare. Asymmetrical warfare is when the U.S. destroys a small country that has a limited ability to defend itself and cannot strike back. The tools of the trade are the CIA, air power, missiles, drones and mercenaries.
The U.S. public has become immune to its government killing millions of Koreans, Vietnamese, Afghans, and Arabs, as long as it does not interrupt with the public’s busy daily lives. The opportunity costs to the American people is costing them universal healthcare, affordable higher education, modern mass transportation, modern infrastructure and economic security in old age; but the public does not seem to notice, and cannot connect the dots. They still think that the U.S. has the highest standard of living in the world. The reality is that the U.S. comes in at about 19th on everything from the infant mortality rate to high speed internet; except military spending and political prisoners at which the U.S. is number one.
How did the U.S. fall so low when it started with such high hopes on July 4th 1776 with the Declaration of Independence that proclaimed:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”?
Those words never really meant what most Americans think they mean. American capitalism is a hierarchicalbased class society. Property bestows more rights and privileges on the top of the pyramid of wealth. The Founding Documents of the U.S.A. were written by the elites, for the elites and for future elites in the lottery of capitalism American-style. By “Life” is meant for those that can afford the necessities and luxuries of life. “Liberty” is the liberty to close off the commons from the natives and those that do not own property. “Happiness” is the happiness that comes with owning slaves, and finding foreign sources of cheap labor.
As the greed for more and more land, more slaves and more wealth grew, the elites declared that it was Manifest Destiny for them to spread capitalism and the American way of life across all of North America. It was then that Asia’s destiny became America’s destiny. When the U.S. boundary met the Pacific Ocean the U.S. did not stop its Westward expansion. It kept on going to Hawaii, Japan, China and Korea. The U.S. joined the European scramble for overseas colonies and empire.
Capitalism must expand to survive. Adam Smith’s quaint form of capitalism was based on bartering. The butcher, baker and candlestick maker traded their products with each other providing all with meat, bread and light. Modern capitalism American-style is based on money, and money is based on debt. Debt requires that interest be paid by the borrower to the lender, thus syphoning off capital from the capitalist to the financier. The capitalist must expand production and find sources of cheap labor to pay the interest and to skim a profit too. Expanding production means that more and more natural resources are needed. To produce more requires even cheaper labor and automation. To sell an ever increasing amount of finished products of capitalism requires advertising and expanding to foreign markets. If any link in the chain is broken then the Ponzi scheme of capitalism collapses into an economic depression.
Economic depressions cause social unrest, civil disturbances and class conflict. When the social hierarchy of capitalism is shaken by economic depression, then capitalism must restore order either with violent repression or appeasement by redistributing some of the wealth to reduce tension. The first instinct of the capitalists is to resort to violence and repression to preserve their wealth. That is why capitalism and true democracy cannot coexist. One or the other has to give or the system is in danger of breaking down entirely.
The natural political order for capitalism is right-wing dictatorship, martial law and fascism. Only by continuous expansion, imperialism and the exploitation of others can there be a compromise between capitalism and democracy domestically. When U.S. presidents say that the “American Way of Life” is being threatened by enemies what they mean is that small countries resist being subjugated and exploited by the U.S. Empire.
When the U.S. first began to expand beyond the shores of the Pacific Ocean they were met with rejection. Ancient societies such as in Japan, Korea and China had civilizations with thousands of years of history. They had their own social order, their way of life and they were self-sufficient. They told the U.S. capitalists to go away. Such behavior by Asians was intolerable to the U.S. capitalist and merchant classes who wanted to sell their excess production and make trading profits. The U.S. was outraged that Asians, whom the white supremacists Euro-Americans saw as being non-Christian barbarians and inferior humans, would act so superior as to refuse to buy and sell with U.S. traders. How was the U.S. to expand trade when it was met with such ‘insolence’? The answer that came naturally was to send in the navy with gunboats and the marines with bayonets to subjugate the ‘insolent barbarians’ to either open up to trade or have their cities bombarded with cannon balls and burnt to the ground.
The “West was won” with genocide of the Native Americans, and if genocide was needed to subjugate Asia, then the U.S. would use it, and it did. The U.S. continued its killing spree in the Philippians, Korea, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia. The U.S. considers the Pacific Ocean a U.S. lake.
The U.S. is still trying to control the world with cannon balls. The cannon balls keep getting bigger, more technologically complex and more genocidal. The U.S. cannot accept the reality that it cannot control the world. The more it tries to, the more destruction, death and chaos it causes. Instead of creating world order the U.S. keeps creating world disorder. World disorder threatens domestic order as more and more of the U.S. wealth is drained off by military expenditures and maintaining a foreign empire.
Vladimir Lenin explained how today’s U.S. foreign policy works in his 1917 thesis on the causes of World War One: “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism“. Capitalism leads to monopoly, monopoly leads to imperialism and imperialism leads to war. Capitalism also leads to inequality. Inequality and democracy cannot coexist forever because there are limits to expansion and growth. To preserve inequality requires fascism and a police state. Democracy can only thrive if there is more equality. Eventually, choices will be made between fascism or democracy, and between capitalism or something else?
This article was originally published on OpEdNews.
David William Pear is a progressive columnist writing on economic, political and social issues. His articles have been published by OpEdNews, The Greanville Post, The Real News Network, Truth Out, Consortium News, Global Research, and many other publications. David is active in social issues relating to peace, race relations and religious freedom, homelessness and equal justice. David is a member of Veterans for Peace, Saint Pete for Peace, CodePink, and International Solidarity Movement.