Try recall a week, if not a day, in the past decade or so when you didn’t hear American President threatening one or the other country with “all options are on the table,” which, in non-diplomatic language, is threat of war?
Sure, you can’t. Indeed, in my nearly five decades of adulthood, I can’t figure out a year when America wasn't in war in one or the other part of the planet. The number of countries the United States has bombed post WWII and the number of Governments it has subverted is mind boggling. According to Yuri Skidanov (Pravda), United States has used military force 240 times from 1798 to 2012. Look at these wars and subversions through death stats, you feel numb. Include the butchery it committed on natives, the unavoidable conclusion is this: the story of the United States since its inception is spreading death and gore. Yet, the hubris doesn't allow it to acknowledge it.
What you instead hear is lectures on democracy, freedom and human rights, and trade and business opportunities. Check against the American actions on ground, all of it turns out to be out and out hypocrisy.
The whole of South American continent can tell you what American preaching of democracy means from their first hand experiences; so can “ungrateful” Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalian and whole of northern Africans currently on learning curve. Standing as security guards of dictators is okay but rejecting elected-through-ballot leaders in Algeria and Gaza as terrorists; Russian democracy is sham because it elected Vladimir Putin; so is Iran’s because it is not bikini-clad; Military overthrow of elected government in Egypt is not a coup; Iran, Russia and China supporting Syrian Government is evil, supplying arms to mercenaries there is pious American democratic mandate; South China Sea should be open for navigation but Europe must close its air space to President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa; Israel can use American bombers to rain phosphorus bombs on entrapped Palestinians but when Palestinians retaliate with stones and pipe rockets they are terrorists; Israel can have nuclear weapons in hundreds, not Iran; “To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom” (Ronald Reagan) but when the same “courageous Afghan freedom fighters” fight America’s far superior, ultra-modern arsenal almost bare-hands to free their country from occupation they are dubbed terrorists …… There is no end to the United States’ hypocrisy and double standards.
Abu Ghairib, Guantanamo, torture chambers and renditions across many countries (including in Gaddafi’s Libya and Bashar Al-Asad’s Syria!), overflowing prisons (overwhelmingly with Blacks and minorities) across America, profiling of Muslims, and now the revelations of spying populations and political leaders -- allies and enemies -- and business entities across the world are pointed examples of its double speak on human rights, freedoms and ethics. The situation has come to such a low pass that powerful political leaders, like Angela Merkel, must be feeling scared to call or respond a phone call or send an e-mail! And, yet, notice the gall: You now have an American Congressman chastising Europeans for not feeling grateful for being spied on by the United States! Yes, ungrateful like Afghans and Iraqis and earlier Japanese for the deaths and devastation they suffered at the American hands! “American exceptionalism” or hypocrisy gone berserk.
American business thrives overwhelmingly on wars and sale of weapons of war – Pentagon budget and figures for US military sales vouch for it – 39% of the global weapons sales per 2012 data and likely to make a quantum jump with the transfer of export oversight from State to Commerce Department with the intention of removing any roadblocks to greater weapons and munitions exports. The usually cited six trillion dollars spent on Afghanistan-Iraq wars didn't go to spread bread and butter before the war victims; it went back to the United States – into the bottomless vaults of its arms and ammunition industries and contractors; victims only got bombs, bullets and missiles, and shredded human bodies for burial. The fate of the $100 billion supposed to have been spent on rebuilding Afghanistan is the same: 85% is estimated to have been “wasted or misspent or stolen or not received by intended recipient.”
Inciting fear of war where none exists is the American norm for creating weapons sales – Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and lately India (vs China and N Korea), Gulf Arab countries (vs Iran) are the prime examples. “Threat of terrorism” and “strategic partnership” are the new foreign policy phrases being used to scare countries into shopping for American weapons and enticing into military alliances. Indeed, the whole Foreign, and lately domestic as well, policy is centered on wars and threat of wars. President and his administration officials keep roaming the world promoting weapons sales. Keep tracking billions of dollars that “Asia pivot” or its rechristened version “rebalancing” would accrue for American war industries. For making fast buck, war is ever on their brains.
So is cowardice embedded in their hearts, as exemplified by the history of the wars they brought upon – the weakest of the weak and the poorest of the poor. The mightier the United States became militarily, the weakest and unsupported it sought to attack. Even in its short-lived “sole superpower” heydays, it struck the poorest among the poor, Afghanistan, and remains stuck there for the past 12 years. Look at the pictures of its missile attacks that come out of Afghanistan on daily basis – destroyed mud huts and mutilated bodies that even after death exhibit nothing but poverty and helplessness. You feel ashamed for the American military and its claims of military might. When it came to Syria – of course no great military power on its own but supported by powerful ones – America shoved its mighty tail between the legs at the first available opportunity. Deploying ground forces in wars in far off lands has become taboo for the toll it has taken on American families and national treasury despite its military superiority; so the increasing recourse to drones without bothering about the heavy innocent deaths.
United States prides in providing market access to rest of the world; however, without acknowledging that it has always used this as a foreign policy tool, extracting much more than it gives. Forcing domestic and foreign policy changes and seeking rights for military bases are the minimum. With more than 1000 (including secret ones) in 179 countries, covering 120 thousand square kilometers and making the Pentagon “the world’s biggest real-estate baron.” Don’t ever think America accumulated Everest of debt from alms giving.
Other than weapons, high prices of much else that America exports, particularly commodities of daily use, have rendered them irrelevant for the common folks in most of the world. Speaking of which brings us to the United States’ unacknowledged (out of hubris) mortal threat: China.
It is in fact this latter export category that China beats the United States mightily – in earning mountain of surplus dollars, in number of countries it trades with, and, most importantly, in earning goodwill of people across the globe by making such products available at affordable prices. “[O]ffice machines, data processing equipment, electrical machinery, telecommunications equipment and apparel and clothing [and kitchen wares]” are what constitutes China’s major exports (weapons exports being a minor 3% of the global exports).
In return, China is investing its piles of foreign exchange earnings in mutually assured beneficial projects in the host countries from South America to Indonesia and from South Africa to Ireland and Russia, building a road or railway line or water supply utility here, a port or hydro power plant or a cement plant or an oil pipe line there, in the process spreading development and job opportunities both domestically and internationally. All without any political, cultural or religious hamstrings – just pure two-way beneficial business.
China has already surpassed the United Sates in exports – $2.87 trillion vs $2.82 trillion – and is fast catching up on imports -- $1.817 trillion vs $2.734 trillion. It trades with 126 countries compared to 76 for the United States, reversing the earlier trend. Recently China surpassed United States as the world’s largest crude oil importer. This could potentially impact the American hegemony over Middle East politics in the long term, hopefully for the greater good of the region Let us pray this change is not at the cost of the Asian countries being coerced to be part of “Asia Pivot” -- Pivot – the openly military prong of China containment policy – via Trans-Pacific Partnership and Asia-Pacific Integration bait.
With the evident decline in the United States’ power to dictate and regulate international politics, China is slowly redefining global political paradigm from the one where military alliances to the one were trade and business partnerships are the cornerstone for the long wished for global peace.
Will China stand, rather will it be allowed to stand, this course, only time will tell.