America’s tendency to interfere in affairs overseas has put the world under an unofficial “American Empire.” Although the term ‘empire’ is not used by the United States directly, other countries which express opposition to America’s interventionist agenda have not shied away from using the term “American Imperialism” to describe American foreign policy.
The ongoing pattern of America’s militaristic interventions abroad in the aftermath of WWII has transformed our economy into a force fueled by perpetual conflict. In the 20th century, we witnessed America push her values abroad with intervention in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Chile, Haiti, Nicaragua and Kuwait. Even going as far as to depose democratically elected governments that didn’t align with U.S. interests including Syria in 1949, Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954.
Through these events, America has seemingly appointed herself the moral arbiter of democracy for the nations of the world. But rebellions and liberalization against autocratic rule must come from within, and nations will democratize when they’re ready. All nations have the right to autonomy and self-governance without the interference of foreign adversaries. Additionally, allowing military spending to take such a large portion of our economy is harmful, given the other useful outlets our federal spending could be allocated towards.
All countries must respect the sovereignty of their neighbors. It doesn’t matter whether or not other countries have an agenda that we find to be legally, economically, socially, religiously or culturally distasteful. Every nation has a fundamental right to deal with her own domestic affairs. No country has a monopoly on moral objectivism, and for one party to claim moral superiority over another is harmful and dangerous.
In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq under the false pretense that the nation was illegally harboring weapons of mass destruction; a right to which Iraq forfeited under UN resolution after its failed 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Not only did the U.S. unnecessarily attempt to intervene in Iraq, but they proceeded to occupy the country for nearly a decade. In 2014, when occupying American forces began to transition out of the country, a newly forming Islamist militant organization, the Islamic State group (IS), began seizing huge swaths of land. After the toppling of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Iraq further became a hotbed for recruitment of Islamist militants as sectarian violence continued to grow across the nation. Therefore, one could argue that the rise of IS was heavily correlated to American foreign intervention tactics.
Shortly after IS gained coverage in Iraq, the sectarian violence spurred on by the U.S. invasion of Iraq spread into Syria. The same Islamist militant groups which terrorized the whole of Iraq, taking over entire cities, spread into its neighboring nation. And large swaths of Syria were quickly conquered by the American-fueled terrorist group, IS.
In 2015, military spending was projected to account for nearly 54 percent of all federal spending, totaling a whopping sum of $598.5 billion. In 2017, President Donald Trump submitted his military spending budget request which totaled $639 billion, which represents a 10 percent increase in military spending from previous years.
Given the amount of money being funneled towards the military, one must be aware that there are many impending dangers which arise from a military-industrial complex, like the one that exists in the United States.
The military-industrial complex is a vast economy dependent upon the expenditures of military affairs. When an economy becomes entrenched in the lucrative natures of military necessities, society itself becomes centered around militarism. And the nation, dependent on the vastness of military to employ the working class, remains in a perpetual state of war in attempts to keep up with the military-economy that it has created for itself.
Overall, it is not the place of the United States to be the moral policeman of the world. Whether its intentions to spread liberal democracy are inherently altruistic or not, the native people of many of these nations do not see this. Rather, the native people see American military presence as an occupying force, which only leads to easier recruitment for new Islamist militants.
American imperialism necessitates a military-industrial complex; and thusly a citizenry whose livelihoods have been involuntary linked to war. And as long as there is an economy with a populace eating because of the manufacturing jobs generated by war, the world will remain under the shadow of American Imperialism.