For over 109 years this country has pursued a policy of intervention around the globe and if you honestly research the outcome of such intervention you will quickly see that it did very little to actually provide security for this nation. Most of the intervention was prompted by special interests, such as Sugar Magnates and Mercantilists during the Spanish-American War. This War opened the door to a massive drive toward global intervention by the United States government.
Along with the resources and markets of the Far East, Southeast Asia and Central America were also prime targets of the new expansive policies of the United States during this period of the later part of the 19th Century. The intent was to exploit our growing military might around the world while securing potential markets and natural resources. The United States came to the rescue as the “savior” of the oppressed colonial peoples under the rule of Spain; from the Philippines to Cuba a particular brand of liberty was brandished. That liberty came at a price and usually at the end of a bayonet. Unfortunately, the liberator became the oppressor and the people of these hapless nations came under the thumb of a new colonialist power.
In Cuba, The Platt Amendment was implemented to provide a permanent restriction on the people of Cuba to determine their own destiny. As much as we would like to believe that we were liberators of the Cuban people, the crafting of the Cuban Constitution was far from a free enterprise, it was totally subject to the acceptance of the United States and provided for the future intervention of the U.S. Military at any time our government deemed necessary. Under the agreement, the “sovereignty” of Cuba was only considered legitimate through the acceptance of all acts imposed upon it by the military government of the United States. It also permitted the U.S. to purchase or lease any lands, give the U.S. special privileges and thus we have Guantanamo. The consequences of that war, the occupation and the Platt Amendment are still with us today and are embodied in the name Fidel Castro who used the state of Cuban colonial despair to his revolutionary advantage. As with other unintentional consequences of such interventions, Fidel Castro took advantage of the remnants of colonialism and the disparity between those who benefited greatly from the U.S. colonialism and those who remained in abject poverty to successfully promote his revolution.
From 1898 through 2007, this country has “intervened” in the affairs of over 200 countries and out of that number; the only intervention that could remotely be considered justified was when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The primary beneficiaries of an interventionist policy have not changed throughout the years the beneficiaries are the weapons makers and dealers! The American People and this Nation, on the other hand pay the price with increased taxation and the deaths of our sons and daughters, but our actual security interest has never been a real reason for such interventions.
Now the question is why, why would we intervene in all of these countries if the actual security interests of the United States are not threatened? It is the same old story, nations feeding upon the wealth and resources of other nations. Our interventions throughout the last century have this primary factor in common, the ones who benefit from them are usually not the American People as much as those who seek huge war profits.
Threats are now fabricated, exploited and amplified beyond reality to enjoin the sentiments of the population to support intervention and war, but the costs are much higher than we realize or wish to admit to ourselves. Many of the consequences are not immediate and therein are the real danger, for the fabric of history is changed by our actions and unbeknown to us at the time, our own future is changed in ways we cannot conceive.
World War I is a perfect example of the fabric of history being altered by our intervention into the war. At the time of the entry of the United States, both sides of the conflict we rapidly depleting their resources, drained of their ability to wage war and ready to sue for peace. The war to end all wars could have had a totally different outcome had the United States refrained from listening to our domestic war drummers and those who would eventually benefit from our entry into the conflict. Besides the actual monetary costs of the war, the social cost is hard to comprehend in our present time; whole societal influences were altered beyond recognition. Empires were broken apart, new nations were born from the despair and national influences were morphed into artificial boundaries. The war set the stage for not only the eventual break-up of the British Empire, but the generation of ethnic and religious sectarianism that had been more or less subdued under the old order. Most of the nations within the region were devastated for over a generation and such devastation helped set the stage for the massive struggle called WWII.
We rarely think of the differences in the world had we not been pushed into war by the war propagandist, profiteers and political influence peddlers. If we had not entered the war, both sides would have settled back into a world, while scared, would have been far safer than the one our victory created. Upon our victory, the fabric of history was severely distorted, everything changed and the balance of power shifted enormously. With victory came the end of the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman Empires; this led to the formation of entirely new countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. It also marked a great transference of colonies into the hands of other colonialist powers, just as oppressive as the former masters.
With that victory came some of the harshest war reparations visited upon a defeated nation. Germany and its allies became subjugated to the wrath of the victors and under that wrath were sown the seeds of a future dictator who exploited the humiliation of Germany into a cause of extreme nationalistic pride and a taste for revenge.
The stage that Hitler exploited would have never been set had the United States remained neutral, as it should have, during the latter part of the war. The powers involved would have been forced into a peace agreement due to each side's inability to provide resources to maintain their respective war efforts. The world that was would have slumbered back into its decaying imperialism, eventually giving way to a natural evolution of nationalities and newly formed nations. The artificial borders created in the Middle East by the breakup of the Ottoman Empire would have been less likely to have been the future cause of continual conflict and strife as it is today.
Imagine for instance, for a moment, if you will, the world without Hitler. Certainly, this is pure supposition, but when you consider the possibilities what that the one act of U.S. intervention nearing the end of WWI did and how it drastically altered the weave of history, the conclusion that the world would be a very different place is more than a flight of fancy. As stated earlier, a lonely, dejected artist named Adolf Hitler would have had no fuel for his nationalistic incitements, Germany would have gradually reentered the community of nations and WWI, as we know it, would have never happened. Think of it, the European Jews and all their culture would have continued to flourish; there would have been no concentration camps, no gas chambers and 6 million Jews would have lived to propagate their lineage. The creation of the State of Israel would have never been forcefully imposed upon the Muslim nations of the Middle East and thus the current conflict would not exist in its present form.
The British would have never gained control over vast regions of the Middle East, and the imposition of artificial borders throughout the area would not be the cause of numerous ethnic disturbances over territories. Although the nationalistic fever began to sweep throughout the region during the late 19th Century, that fever was only amplified by the early 20th Century events of WWI.
The Soviet Union would have never had the opportunity to impose the Iron Curtain over Eastern Europe without the events of WWII. The massive arms race, the nuclear threat and cold war would have had no stage on which to form and the incredible waste in manpower and funds would have been averted into more productive avenues. There are enough examples of the unintended consequences of our actions to fill volumes on the subject.
Interventions always have consequences and we rarely have the foresight to determine if those consequences produce far more danger than if the interventions never occur in the first place. The leaders of this country must once again regain the wisdom of the Founders and refrain from the use of intervention an ideological tool. We must come to understand that such interventions have the potential of drastically changing not only the fabric of our history, but also the fabric of our future. It has been proven that we have lacked that wisdom over the decades; it is time to stop the course that leads to dangerous unintentional consequences.Tweet
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