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Reframing America’s Role in the World

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/10/19/reframing-americas-role-world


Never mind!

The monster the US needs most to destroy is its own hubris, aka American Exceptionalism. Climate change is ringing the alarm bell and far too few people in positions of power are responding in meaningful ways. We either cooperate with our fellow global citizens or we hasten doom for all, starting with the downtrodden, as usual. It’s a story as old as human history in many ways.


“What explains the persistence of this pattern despite an abundance of evidence showing that it’s not working to the benefit of the American people?”

The explanation is easy, greed for the few in the arms industry and their enablers, death means nothing to them on any side, as long as their profits keep flowing. The hard part it stopping them, they have spread out across almost every mile of the country, supplying “jobs” that can’t be eliminated according to most people and politicians.


Bacevich, insightful and brilliant as ever, correctly points to the bizarre in Trump’s foreign policy, namely, that towards North Korea, and as well to its residual merit in not following Obama, Bush, and Clinton in attacking every populist umbrage when Bolton might whisper in Trump’s ear for retaliation and when consequently Trump would not.

I faintly recall an Iranian attack on a US ship that took a sailor’s life. Seemed it was 18 hours of miserable hell. I wondered just how far Trump’s vow against “stupid wars” would hold. Well, it did and Bolton lost that one (at least I think it was Bolton at the time). And to our great luck, we are not engaged in and paying for a VERY stupid war against Iran.

History measures with strange yardsticks.

Insightful article here, revealing the horror that yet another warmongering Neocon presidency (D) will bring to the earth.

…the United States will revert to the policies that prevailed during the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama—policies, we should note, that paved the way for Donald Trump to win the White House.

In fact, this may be the most truthful article I’ve read on CD in months/years.


Before the summer of 1941,

there was no Pentagon.

Despite all of the ways FDR’s administrations had tried to balance capitalist greed with programs for

socialistic justice since the depression, by 1941 he was starting to abandon the balance in favor of

imperialistic capitalist domination over socialist egalitarianism. By the summer of 1941, Henry Wallace

had been pushed out and the democrats had installed the capitalist militancy of Truman.

Capitalist greed has been firmly cemented to religiosity by the democrats and republicans ever

since, with a slight venting in the 1960’s of the inescapable pressure which built up.

The pretense of democracy is their bait.

The unstopped growth of the war machine economy is balanced now with the loss of human rights and

the environment.

Those people above water are on the tip of a toxic, leaching iceberg. The majority will either remain

underwater or will be dissolved by the spreading toxicity beneath the shrinking space above.

The Bidens and the Trumps of this situation are desperate to stay above the rest of us -

no matter where we are geographically.

Addressing climate change would be a 180 degree reverse course of globalization. Only minimal global trade of materials otherwise unavailable is the goal. Minimal air transport and business/vacation air travel is another necessary goal. Internationalists won’t give up their subsistence living wage slave work force. Domestic and foreign automobile related business interests derive income from car-dependency and want everyone to believe converting fleets of our cars to BEV is good enough. BMW/Daimler is directing a vast quantity of battery resources to long-haul electric freight trucks for global trade. The same battery resource could form backup power supply to as many as 500 households (Prius PHEV).

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Amen. Finally, an article that addresses how we got Trump, so that we have a chance to avoid another Trump.


[Wertheim] shows how Americans with an antipathy for war now found themselves castigated as “isolationists,” a derogatory term created to suggest provincialism or selfishness. Those favoring armed intervention, meanwhile, became “internationalists,” a term connoting enlightenment and generosity. Even today, members of the foreign-policy establishment pledge undying fealty to the same narrative framework, which still warns against the bugaboo of “isolationism” that threatens to prevent high-minded policymakers from exercising “global leadership.”

The dreamland we inhabit was deliberately constructed (consent deliberately manufactured, one might say) – Bacevich and Wertheim are hip to that much. Turn the page and we get to 2020, when something very off-script upsets the applecart. How can the most infected country on Earth maintain hegemonic dominance indefinitely? I mean seriously, Bacevich: How can we even maintain hundreds of foreign US military bases in a context where every last one of them is dreaded as a virulent viral vector?

Who knows how the future goes? I certainly think it’s way too early to be counting out that orange chicken retaining its roost for the forseeable, absent massive uprising. We don’t get to elect someone else just by voting this time, it will require stopping the machine until the tyrant is gone, imho. At any rate – portentious indications abound that this Empire is toast, because it was foolish enough to welcome the bug which destroyed it. I’d really like to hear Bacevich treat that subject: Stick a fork in us!

I’m with John Quincey Adams on this. America need to find a good plan to repurpose a lot of useless propaganda.

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I think Trump’s attempt to forge a new foreign policy was blocked by rightwing Democrats in cahoots with the usual suspects - the neocons.
Together with the already well-established military-industrial complex and their mouthpiece, the mass media, Trump could’ve felt that the only way to survive politically is to out-militant the militants. Whatever the case, this article is the best I’ve read anywhere for a long, long time. Congrats to CD and hats off to Andrew Bacevich.


Several accurate observations above, to which I’d add that globalism/the MIC/endless war will persist because the powers that be know that the Great Depression was killing capitalism and only endless arms production and sale together with globalism saved it. Our entire economy is propped up by the supporting industries, regardless of political affiliation or any other label stuck on the powers that be. Labels are for the necessary enemies of the state, e.g. socialist, tyrant, dictator, whether they be foreign or domestic.

Carpe Diem seems the best explanation to me.

The United States has never been in any sense isolationist, not even in Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration:

" The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

The thirteen states sent a military expedition to the mouth of the Columbia River - an expedition carefully trained to examine the West for its bounty. Lewis and Clark were sent by the lead author of The Declaration.

The same story continues uninterrupted - Texas, California, New Mexico, the Territories, Alaska, Hawaii…

Always the US has adjusted its foreign policy to time and circumstance - but it was never for an instant isolationist except in the fantasies of varying segments of its society.

When Abraham Lincoln and Seward saw that Great Britain’s textile industry was contemplating recognizing the Confederacy because of the supply of cotton from the South to the mills of England - it was made known to Great Britain that this would not be a good idea - diplomatically of course - but the message was crystal - you risk war if you persist.

Might for Right - vs Might is Right - seems to me the only question of consequence.

What really are the alternatives ?

Professor Bacevich- Appreciate your work. Wisdom. You may be interested in this Teaching, “God’s New Message for Political Leaders.”