David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of World BEYOND War and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. The U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation awarded him their 2018 Peace Prize, and he has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize.
If you really love your country, you would not be satisfied with platitudes and flag-waving, national anthems and military parades. A truly patriotic citizen does not sit idle as the land and waters of his country are polluted by extractive industries. A true patriot does not sneer and scorn her fellow citizens who live in poverty or are unhoused. A true patriot does not place higher loyalties with corporations than human beings. A true patriot sees no glory in war, nor security in spending more on military than on peace and justice for all of humankind.
Bill died Sunday, December 9, 2018. My sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to all his family, friends and readers. He will be missed by many. In his memory, here is his last video panel discussion. — Lo
In the decades long tradition of award-winning investigative journalism by writers for CovertAction Quarterly, this panel will address the secretive and nefarious activities of the U.S. government in their efforts to destabilize democratic processes, both past and present. It is now ever more critical to expose such ongoing efforts: efforts that further U.S. geopolitical regional and global control while creating favorable investment climates for U.S. multinational corporations. While their goals are invariably masked in the name of “democracy and freedom,” their efforts invariably strive to exploit cheap labor and natural resources.
Trump is for nationalism. So the “Resistance” is predictably for . . . wait for it . . . the right kind of nationalism — or nationalism worn properly, as The Week advises. The problem isn’t nationalism, The Hill informs us, it’s phony nationalism and spurious nationalism, or as the Washington Post explains along with CNN, the problem is actually white nationalism. Of course, white nationalism is a problem, but not just because it’s white — also because of the nationalism. Unless you read Esquire which comes up with the oh-so-novel pronouncement that nationalism is indeed bad, but patriotism is good.
“Some day people will look back on 9/11 and sure they will see it as you know the first terrible act of terrorism committed in the United States by some foreign group but they may also see 9/11 as the beginning of the disintegration of the American Empire. Because from 9/11 came the war on terrorism, so-called, the bombing of Afghanistan and now the war on Iraq and the bloating of the American military machine and the war budget and the deprivation of civil liberties. And I believe that there will be a victory in the short run and defeat of the American government in the long run. And that defeat should be welcomed. We need regime change in the United States.” — Howard Zinn
I went in search of anything the United States was number 1 in that it shouldn’t be ashamed of, and came up empty. But I did find that the United States is number 1 in believing it is number 1. So, that’s something.
On this edition of CrossTalk we consider only one question: Is Donald Trump’s “America First” policy in contradiction to the Washington Consensus idea of American Exceptionalism? The answer to this question will likely define Trump’s presidency and change the world in the process.
Most important thought: I’m sick and tired of this thing called “patriotism”.
The Japanese pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor were being patriotic. The German people who supported Hitler and his conquests were being patriotic, fighting for the Fatherland. All the Latin American military dictators who overthrew democratically-elected governments and routinely tortured people were being patriotic — saving their beloved country from “communism”.
The current mass exodus of people from Central America to the United States, with the daily headline-grabbing stories of numerous children involuntarily separated from their parents, means it’s time to remind my readers once again of one of the primary causes of these periodic mass migrations.
We should be very grateful to Francesco Duina for his new book, Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country. He begins with the following dilemma. The poor in the United States are in many ways worse off than in other wealthy countries, but they are more patriotic than are the poor in those other countries and even more patriotic than are wealthier people in their own country. Their country is (among wealthy countries) tops in inequality, and bottoms in social support, and yet they overwhelmingly believe that the United States is “fundamentally better than other countries.” Why?
Americans have long embraced a notion of superiority, claims Howard Zinn. Governor Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony described establishing “a city on a hill,” to serve the world as a beacon of liberty. So far, so good. But driving this sense of destiny, says Zinn, was an assumption of divine agency—“an association between what the government does and what God approves of.” And too frequently, continues Zinn, Americans have invoked God to expand “into someone else’s territory, occupying and dealing harshly with people who resist occupation.”
In March of 1951, Jacobo Arbenz came to power in Guatemala after having been resoundingly elected by the people. A little more than three years later, he was forced to resign in the midst of armed intervention. His reforms to redistribute unused land to poor peasants had fallen afoul of the United Fruit Company, which owned and warehoused vast tracts of Guatemalan land. The American corporation solicited the US government to overthrow the populist president and the Eisenhower administration delivered with the help of the Department of State and CIA, which happened to be led by the Dulles brothers, who had strong ties to the company. Arbenz’ ousting put an end to democracy in Guatemala for decades and replaced it by military rule. A civil war followed several years later, resulting in the deaths of over 200,000 people. The country remains one of Latin America’s most impoverished to this day.