The rollout of daily events makes it increasingly more easy to see how America could have dramatically benefited both the world and itself had it been politically and militarily isolationist for the last 100 years. Because we weren't isolationist, much of American patriotism now hinges on the hundreds of thousands of U.S. military servicemen and women who have died for their country. It didn't need to be that way. Real American patriotism should have been the stuff of a shining city on a hill in the attitude of beckoning to all to choose the same liberty that America had come to stand for. Instead, "isolationist" became almost overnight a filthy word in the American vernacular, and, rather than liberty, modern American patriotism has come to mean global empire.
Taken in isolation, a logical reason seems to exist for each war that America has become involved in. Taken in context, however, our participation in very few of these wars makes any sense at all. Over dinner last night, I talked with my daughter about how the U.S. sins committed in Korea and Vietnam had been going on for several decades longer than that.
The only two dogs that the United States ever had in World War I were (1) Woodrow Wilson's desire to be revered by future generations, and (2) the lust for economic and
Taken in isolation, a logical reason seems to exist for each war that America has become involved in. Taken in context, however, our participation in very few of these wars makes any sense at all.political domination by war profiteers such as Bernard Baruch. WW I led to the premature deaths of tens of thousands of American soldiers. WW I set the stage for world economic malaise, the most acute manifestation of which became the Great Depression. It also provided a fertile breeding ground for a surreptitious form of population control; the Swine Flu epidemic of 1918 would never have been so virulent had the war not brought so many men into such close proximity with each other on the septic battlefield.
The nearly impossible reparations forced upon Germany in the Treaty of Versailles, which brought fighting between Germany and the Allied Powers to an end, led to hyperinflation in Germany. Hyperinflation led to the rise of Adolf Hitler.
Adolf Hitler became the eventual impetus for the entry of the United States into World War II in Europe, and for the United States' bizarre alliance with Communist Russia. During World War II, the United States supplied the Soviets with vast amounts of weaponry under the "Lend-Lease" program, which helped enable the Soviets to later become a large military thorn in America's
the worst of the non-isolationist chickens that came home to roost is the one that plagues us the most today--our continuing involvement in Middle Eastern affairs. This tar pit had its genesis in our enmity with our erstwhile WW II ally, the Soviet Union. And it began in Iran.side. From this untoward alliance, a rather "convenient" Cold War was born.
Under the shadow of this Cold War, America's Establishment drew its finest men and women into counterproductive "police actions" in Korea and Vietnam.
Because of this Cold War, American presidents of both the Democrat and Republican stripe meddled unnecessarily in Latin American business that should have been their own, which meddling has earned us far more enemies in the Western Hemisphere than we otherwise would have deserved.
But the worst of the non-isolationist chickens that came home to roost is the one that plagues us the most today--our continuing involvement in Middle Eastern affairs. This tar pit had its genesis in our enmity with our erstwhile WW II ally, the Soviet Union. And it began in Iran.
The Shah of Iran was the friend of American bureaucrats because he was a known-- albeit dictatorial--quantity. When freely elected member of Iranian parliament Mohammed Mossadegh became enormously popular, Shah Reza Pahlavi felt compelled to appoint him as prime minister. Mossadegh's continued rise in popularity became a threat to the Shah, who left the country. The United States Central Intelligence Agency became inordinately fearful that Mossadegh would join in league with Iran's Soviet neighbors to the north. Using this flimsy pretext, in a carefully crafted and financed coup, the CIA caused Mossadegh to be deposed and the Shah to be placed back on the throne of his vile dictatorship.
In 1979, the Iranian masses revolted, and the Shah, in fear of his life, left the country. In perhaps the stupidest of his litany of stupid decisions while U.S. President, Jimmy Carter allowed the Shah to enter the United States. A powder keg exploded.
In fear that the United States was concocting yet another coup attempt to return the Shah to power, Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking several dozen Americans hostage, most for up to 444 days. The Ayatollah Khomeini was swept through the vacuum of unrest into his own brand of diabolical power.
During this period of unrest and vulnerability, Saddam Hussein developed a hatred of the virulent brand
The true isolationist is at the same time the true American patriot. How my daughter read that between the lines of her public school history text book, I'm not sure. But I'm grateful.of Iranian Shia Islam, and he sensed an opening and ordered his Iraqi military to attack Iran. An eight-year war ensued. Because of its new-found hatred for the Iranian Ayatollah and hostage takers, the American government put its money, training, tanks, artillery and other means of support behind Saddam Hussein in the Iran/Iraq war.
As a result of United States help and perceived friendship, Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait, his neighbor to the south in 1990. Using this ironically-sanctioned-behind-the-scenes attack, as well as fabricated stories of Iraqi soldiers bayoneting babies in Kuwaiti hospitals, George H. W. Bush roused the American rabble into a firestorm of demand for justice, and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm were hatched.
After the Iraq military was ejected from Kuwait, President Bush encouraged the Kurds and Shia to rise up in rebellion against Saddam, with explicit promise of support for their undertakings. When the Kurds and Shia took Bush at his word and rose up in rebellion, Bush required the U.S. military to stand down as an unwilling witness to wholesale slaughter at the hands of Saddam's armies.
Using Saddam's slaughter of his countrymen as a pretext, massive economic sanctions were placed against Iraq by the United States and the world. Throughout the sanctions, Saddam continued to build palaces, but water systems became less and less tenable, exacerbating the spread of disease and squalor. Saddam continued to live large while hospitals could get neither the medicines nor the regular supply of energy that they needed to treat their patients, and tens of thousands suffered and died.
Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden and other fundamentalist Islamic leaders warned us that if the military left behind by the first President Bush were not removed from "the land of the two holy [Muslim] places [Mecca and Medina]" there would be hell to pay.
When George W. Bush came to power, the primary focus from nearly day one of his administration was to finish what his father had not. Iraq became yet again a killing field, under the ostensible but laughably-transparent purpose of bringing democracy. Careful ignorance regarding troves of intelligence allowed the second Bush administration an excuse, in the form of the attacks on 9/11/2001, to attack not only Iraq, but to occupy Afghanistan as well. Because al Qaeda and Taliban fighters cross easily from Afghanistan into neighboring Pakistan, and because Pakistan was, years ago, given enough nuclear secrets that it now possesses a nuclear arsenal, the Barack Obama administration is stepping up air strikes inside Pakistan, with contemplation of doing whatever it takes to stop the terrorists from gaining access to nuclear weapons.
And that brings us to Thursday, May 7, 2009. Now you know, in a nutshell, how we got here.
I suppose, in a way, "isolationist" should be a dirty word. The word can correctly be applied as an epithet to those who look at events in history in their isolation, without any interest in how they became that way. Using this definition, "isolationism" is the height of ignorance and the invitation of great danger.
Using the traditional sense of the term, the true isolationist is at the same time the true American patriot. How my daughter read that between the lines of her public school history text book, I'm not sure. But I'm grateful that she was able to decipher it with relative ease. She is much more intelligent than I was at her age.
Perhaps the rising American generation will save us after all.
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