MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FinalCall.com) – As the Bush-led war on terrorism continues its march through the world, the might of the United States, coupled with her unpopular stances abroad and infighting among lawmakers at home, has made the world’s only remaining superpower practically friendless on the world stage.
U.S. occupation in Iraq, regime change efforts in Liberia and Zimbabwe, and the embattled roadmap for peace between Palestinians and Israelis have all shown divergent U.S. interests, dramatically affecting the administration’s ability to coalesce with other nations. Those that do side with America’s policies do so temporarily–only after calculation of their own interests, not necessarily making them a true or permanent friend.
“I am troubled by the international response to the U.S., especially in response to the U.S. attack on Iraq,” said Christopher A. Preble, director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. “Not because I think that action that is not multilateral is automatically illegitimate. If there is a legitimate threat to national security, then the President of the United States need not submit to anybody to justify it,” he told The Final Call from his Washington, D.C. office.
“My concern, however, is that the war on terrorism depends on cooperation, intelligence sharing and then, prosecution. A side effect of a divergence of interests–a perception (shared) by the Germans, the French and the Russians, that the U.S. war on Iraq was contrary to their interests and therefore they chose to oppose it or tried to block it–over time, if they perceive that they don’t share a common interest with the United States in fighting terrorism, then we all lose,” he said.
During a recent news conference with White House reporters, Mr. Bush took full responsibility for erroneous information provided in his State of the Union address, which led to the eventual war against Iraq, This admission has only added to his loss of allies internationally and congressional infighting at home.
The administration’s craving for oil, natural resources and strategic land grabs that compromise the sovereignty of nations have been accomplished at a deadly price. The loss of civilian lives in Afghanistan and Iraq weighs heavily in the newly expressed distrust and resentment of the United States. Mr. Preble maintains that this is largely due to the administration’s inability to offer factual justification for their pursuits of other nations.
“The fact that the international community supported us in Afghanistan overwhelmingly reflects that the rest of the world agreed that al-Qaeda posed a threat to the United States. The fact that the majority of the world did not support the U.S. war on Iraq shows they don’t come to the same conclusion. They don’t believe that Saddam Hussein posed a threat. My concern is that over the long term, the action against Iraq will not have made us more secure and will prove enormously costly,” he said.
“There is nothing to be gained by flaunting our military power and our ability to kill and maim, creating only a bitter whirlwind of unending retribution,” commented Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) President Martin Luther King III, whose organization has called for an end to United States military occupation of Iraq. “It is preventing our absolute safety anywhere in the world. America cannot be the world’s policeman. We certainly cannot afford it and we certainly don’t have the legal nor moral authority,” he told The Final Call.
Mr. King said America spends $4 billion a month toward occupation of Iraq and has called for the redirecting of U.S. resources and a halt to the use of military might as a substitute for democracy and peace.
“Our government must understand the difference between respect and fear. Our military power is feared throughout the world, but it is not the same as respect,” he said.
“Human fear is the best seller in the world. What you can do with fear is incredible,” activist Dick Gregory told The Final Call. “We are giving Bush too much credit. Everybody wants to act like there was a love affair with America. We pay money to buy friendship and it is all we (U.S.) have ever done. What is going on in the world now was on the drawing board 50 years ago” when former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller ran for president, he said.
Mr. Gregory offered the analogy of America as a 10-ton gorilla that has size and might. The gorilla can rule any house he occupies, Mr. Gregory explained, “but don’t let him have no stroke. That’s where America is right now. She has just had a stroke and Bush just happened to be in office,” he said.
“The house is on fire. She cannot change course. A woman who is eight months pregnant cannot have an abortion. America cannot abort,” he closed.
A public dissatisfied
As death tolls continue to climb in Iraq and Afghanistan, lawmakers more frequently raise questions as to what the war is truly about. The administration’s obsession with secrecy has prompted the proposal of legislation, led by U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), demanding full disclosure of 28 pages that were omitted by the administration related to the detailing of events leading up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. The House and Senate compiled the report in a joint effort.
Polling data organized by pollster John Zogby suggest overwhelming public dissatisfaction with the President’s domestic and global militaristic agendas. This is fueling congressional resistance, a new turning point in the Bush presidency, he said.
“The arrogance of the Bush presidency has indeed eroded the credibility both the U.S. citizenry and the international community have in the U.S. government,” political analyst Junious Ricardo Stanton told The Final Call. Mr. Bush alienated many of the government’s former allies, according to Mr. Stanton, in the unilateral rush to war and has denigrated the United Nations.
“The massive anti-war demonstrations around the world showed just how opposed to the Bush war the world was, but he went ahead anyway. His blatant disregard for the wishes of reasonable, peace-loving folks shocked and demoralized people around the world,” he said.
Mr. Stanton said that Pres. Bush is repeating the failed economic policies of former President Ronald Reagan; the same policies eventually undermined the presidency of George Bush, Sr., he added.
“Tax cuts for the rich, repeal of capital gains will not trickle down to the poor working class masses. Low returns of investment and savings, globalization and the export of U.S. jobs overseas are killing America’s economy,” he said.
“With the political aftershocks of Sept. 11 only now beginning to be felt in Washington, it’s especially important to recall the real lessons of Watergate,” commented columnist Bruce Shapiro in an editorial titled, “Restoring the Imperial Presidency.”
“Thirty years on, it is easy to forget that ‘Watergate’ was really misleading shorthand: It was shorthand not only for the 192 break-ins at Democratic National Committee headquarters and (former President Richard) Nixon’s subsequent cover-up of campaign shenanigans, but also for a vast array of domestic spying and other executive-branch abuses, which the Nixon crew perfected but did not invent,” he said.
Mr. Shapiro noted that the crimes of Watergate grew directly from the kind of “unchecked presidential powers” Mr. Bush exercises at home and abroad. The Justice Department’s broadening of powers in the areas of surveillance and arrest, the United States Patriot Act legislations and the expansion of paramilitary covert operations abroad speak volumes, in Mr. Shapiro’s opinion, of the imperialist posture of Mr. Bush.
Harvey Wasserman, author of “America born and reborn: The spiral of U.S. history,” wrote in a commentary last year that what’s really at stake is the future of democracy in this country, not abroad.
A cancer at the core
“Never in U.S. history have we ever been closer to an unchecked one-man one-party rule than right now. And as the world’s sole military super-power, we have made the crisis truly global,” he wrote on the CommonDreams web site.
Describing the concerns of many Americans, he said the USA Patriot Act virtually obliterates the once-sacred guarantees of the Bill of Rights.
“Put simply: the Executive Branch now has the power to arbitrarily brand anyone a ‘terrorist’ with no tangible evidence, and to have that person imprisoned without formal indictment, access to a lawyer or even public notification. Hundreds of unnamed alleged terrorists are thus being held indefinitely in Cuba and perhaps elsewhere with no recourse. If unchecked, such openly contemptuous disregard for the human rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution will inevitably spread like a cancer to the core of American liberty and dissent,” he wrote.
“America is advocating single, sole imperialist power. It’s an isolationist position. Altruistic, White colonialism is what they suggest; that they in fact should absorb the world’s difficulties as part of their responsibility as imperialists. A part of these rules of imperialism is the conquering of countries and awarding the elite citizens U.S. citizenship for having aided in the conquering,” researcher activist Steve Cokely told The Final Call.
“In other words, America wants to be as Rome, but the only thing I remember about Rome is that it fell,” he said.
“With the exception of maybe North Korea and Cuba, a majority of the countries of the world have decided to pursue and maintain a capitalist path at a cost,” said Dr. Marvin Haire, chairman of Clark Atlanta University’s Political Science Department in Atlanta. “When you make that decision, you play right into America’s hands.
“So countries may, in forums like the UN and other places, express dismay and concern now. They may not align themselves with U.S. foreign policy issues like those on Iraq and Afghanistan, but when you sit down at the bargaining table and there is a need for certain types of resources and financing for development, those needs are held up, or strings are attached, where it puts them right back in that circle, rendering opposition neutral,” he said.