Part of a longer post on Rachel Maddow’s new book Drift, at Rick Congress’s Politics, Music and Irony blog:
Maddow suggests restoring the balance between the executive and the legislative branches of government (take some power from the Presidency and give more to the House and Senate…somehow), banning private contractors like Blackwater from war making and having not so much secrecy. The odds of these things happening are, of course, slim to none. Why? Because Maddow’s own fellow Democratic Party liberals are just as much gung-ho for permanent US warfare, and military bases being spread around the world, as any Republican. Also because everyone is on the take from the military-industrial complex among other businesses.
Maddow herself is adrift: untethered to reality. The USA has been an imperialist, predatory nation from the beginning. “Manifest Destiny” was the watchword for the march across the continent and the wiping out of the Indians; which begat the 1848 theft of half of Mexico, the 1898 war with Spain that led to planting the flag in Puerto Rico and Manilla; which presaged a revolving door of US military attacks and occupations in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and on and on morphing in more recent history to funding and using the local military and oligarchs to put US puppet governments in power (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador among others). Then there is 1954 and reinstalling the Shah in Iran and then the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Guatamala, both of which were CIA capers. Democrats and Republicans collaborated on all of these interventions.
There is a seamless trail of US intervention in Vietnam from Truman,Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ and Nixon. The legislative branch has happily ceded it’s warmaking powers to the executive. Sometimes there is a ritual of pseudo democracy to rubber stamp executive imperialism.
There is no “drift.” There are a couple of centuries of policy: the US will dominate politically and economically whoever it can. If there’s no submission, then send in the Marines, or in our higher tech world, the drones. Mark Twain could figure this out. He participated in the Anti-Imperialst League,which opposed the US war of conquest in the Philippines over 100 years ago. Maddow can’t figure it out. The stark truth blows her whole rationale out of the water: the USA is good, good, good. But it makes mistakes that can be corrected…by Democrats.
The fact that Obama is far worse than Bush in committing war crimes and shredding democratic rights has escaped Maddow’s notice.
Some commentators have suggested that the neo-cons and their obsession with supporting Israel at all costs are behind all this interventionism, at least in the mid-east. We can’t point to The Weekly Standard or AIPAC as the motivating forces behind, say, the US marines occupation of Nicaragua from 1927 to 1933; but they have been enthused backers of the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and now Kenya and soon to be Mali.
The use of threats, bullying and military force is a longstanding tradition of the good ole’ USA and the latest mid-east wars fit right in. You could say that AIPAC and the neo-cons make everything more reducto ad absurdum and shrill. Also they do hamper the use of more flexible tactics by US imperialism by their “Israel firstism.” But in no way would US policy in the world be benign if they had no influence. This is a case of a falling out among thieves. The American people have no stake in what is euphemistically called our “National Interest.” National Interest is a code word for the interests of banks, mulit-national corporations, and their political operatives in both parties.