America is a Terrorist State

Jan Krawczyk, Staff Writer

*The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not reflect the website’s or its affiliates’ opinions and beliefs.*

In 1961, Dwight Eisenhower warned against a “military-industrial complex,” or the gaining of too much “sought or unsought” power in our government. This complex, among other things, allows private defense and military contractors to lobby and form close relationships with bureaucrats. As a result, the military is overly promoted to the public through these politicians. Massive businesses are interested in having access to foreign markets and labor, whether through competition or violence, and these interests translate into more war, intervention and covert operations. 

Many find that the United States has moved beyond falsely justified wars, like the inexcusable destruction of native populations during early American wars. However, just like how politicians back then justified the wars through belief in “Manifest Destiny” and other such concepts, U.S. politicians justify today’s wars in distorted ways. Our wars’ true aims are in reality completely different from the propaganda we hear. In the past, we invaded native land for exploitative purposes under the pretense of civilizing native tribes. Today we cover up the American capitalist rule over the world as “spreading democracy.”

Throughout history, America has been an imperialist world power, manifesting itself through ideas such as the Monroe Doctrine. The U.S. is notorious for the “banana republics” it has maintained in foreign countries. The U.S. occupied nations and overthrew leftist leaders, all at the behest of massive corporations which farmed in these countries. However, during World War I and World War II in the early 20th century, the U.S. used its enormous military to fight truly formidable and genocidal opponents. America used its massive funds to propagate the war effort on an immense scale. The U.S. government created movies, books, posters and more to foster an environment of total support for the war. Even jailing political opponents was common during wars as a method to solidifying propaganda in the minds of Americans. 

During wars, the government has to create close relationships with owners of heavy industry. While this is necessary to secure production for the war effort, these defense contractors and industry giants are very reluctant to let go of their relationship with the government as their new source of funding. Businesses understand that constant war is beneficial for their interests and lobby for the continuation of these policies. Our media is influenced heavily by massive businesses which get cheap labor as well as resources and markets from U.S. wars overseas. These interests influence our government to favor war and encourage the American people to justify them.

As a result, these factors create a policy of constant military spending. When ranking countries by their war industry spending, America spends more than the next 10 countries combined and has contributed to millions of deaths around the world due to this. The U.S. also has far more military bases around the world, contributing to its global domination and economic superiority over countries. Similar to how colonial empires functioned, the U.S. has maintained its military within foreign nations as leverage over its leaders. They create a constant threat of a coup d’etat above the nation’s head. Economic oppression is clear to see; countries in the global south are far poorer while American businesses exploit their labor and resources. 

America is notorious for invading or initiating coup d’etat against governments that oppose the US’s oppression. Whether they be democratic, like Mosaddegh’s Iran in 1953 or Allende’s Chile in 1973, or authoritarian, like Yugoslavia in the 90s or Iraq in 2003, the U.S. does not hesitate to violently overthrow opponents of America’s global power. During the Cold War, the U.S. had an easy excuse to justify deposing foreign leaders: the Soviet Union. The “communist dictator” scapegoat was used to depose even the most popular revolutions and democratically elected leaders. People who were simply mild left-wingers were either overthrown or had their countries invaded due to suspicions of communists. All the while the CIA was exaggerating the USSR’s worldwide power and painting any opposition as a communist.

In the news, we primarily hear about the direct and obvious wars that the U.S. is involved in, such as the invasions of Afghanistan or Iraq. However, we rarely ever hear of the covert actions of our government in destabilizing foreign nations. The U.S. intentionally interfered with around 15 percent of all foreign elections from 1946 to 2000, according to a study by Dov H. Levin at Carnegie Mellon University. Furthermore, former CIA Director James Woolsey openly admitted that the U.S. continues to tamper with sovereign countries’ elections to this day. The CIA also owns hundreds of media outlets in the U.S. and abroad to influence opinions all over the world. 

The U.S. and its CIA involvement doesn’t just end with propaganda and election interference. The CIA has initiated foreign regime changes and funded militant opposition since its inception. The Iran-Contra affair is the most famous attempted case of CIA death squads being used to establish a dictatorship under Reagan’s presidency. The right-wing drug-trafficking group, the Contras, were fighting a bloody civil war against the leftist Sandinistas, and the U.S. supported the former throughout. Our government gave them funding, weapons, intelligence and importantly, easy access to the U.S. cocaine market for more funding. In the 70s the U.S. government also gave covert support to the genocidal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during their conflict with Socialist Vietnam, even supporting “Democratic Kampuchea” getting a UN seat in 1980 under Pol Pot and continued to until 1993, far after he had been deposed in 1979. 

The U.S. in 1965 under Lyndon B. Johnson and in the later 70s under Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford openly supported the Indonesian government in their genocide against leftists in Indonesia and East Timor, which killed up to 300,000 people. Throughout the “War on Terror,” numerous illegal torture programs were opened by the CIA to do “enhanced interrogation,” simply a euphemism for torture, and violated agreements under the Geneva convention. The U.S. also worked with Belgium to assassinate the leftist elected president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Patrice Lamumba, after he promised to improve living standards for the people of the Congo. 

Beyond this covert action, we all know about the U.S.’s constant worldwide destructive conquest. The current Russo-Ukrainian War has already cost the U.S. more than $100 billion. Amid this conflict, U.S. corporations have been contracting with Ukraine to gain control of its natural resources and key sectors of its economy, the exact factors that put nations in a subordinate position to the U.S. The U.S. war in Afghanistan seemed unending and drained approximately $2.3 trillion from national reserves. The U.S.’s interference caused the deaths of 240,000 people, 70,000 of which were civilians, and helped support a hopelessly corrupt government and a military with massive conflicts of interest within it. 

Not only do U.S. wars kill many civilians, but they also fuel the conflict and draw more civilians into the fight. In Vietnam, most fighters on the side of the north were simply peasants drawn into the conflict after the U.S. invasion. The “War on Terror” has directly killed around one million people, with tens of millions more displaced and fueling further conflict and hunger, leading to further death and destruction. Throughout the wars in the middle east, the U.S. always exploits the resources of defending nations. In Iraq, U.S. oil businesses infamously extracted oil from the ground just following the invasion. The U.S. even made sure to protect the energy industry from war damage. In Syria, the U.S. currently controls oil fields and farmland which were gained in exchange for funding from anti-Assad groups. 

The most convincing argument in favor of continuing the U.S.’s militaristic approach to foreign policy is not that it is justifiable, but that the U.S. has not invaded or occupied foreign countries like other large nations, such as China or Russia. This is partially true but does not justify the extent of American imperialism. The main fault that people make when justifying U.S. wars and worldwide conquest using foreign power dynamics as the rationale is that the U.S. still does not need to be a worldwide superpower to counteract foreign nations. 

The U.S. needs to deviate from the imperialist worldview and instead build up poor and exploited nations. The U.S. could become a genuinely progressive force that moves the world away from the capitalist exploitation of the third world. In the future, we need international cooperation between nations. This begins with dismantling the profit-seeking system of capitalism that the war machine of imperialist countries depends on. The current world order of an autocratic few pushing governments into constant war needs to end. The U.S. could push for a socialist worldwide movement that stops wars and promotes peace. We should remember that the U.S. has other tools, beyond war, that we can use to benefit the planet. If we wanted to promote peace we could do so by defending nations rather than occupying them. With this approach, we can work to dismantle systems of oppression in other countries that create war. We already play the part of a global policeman, we should use this power for good rather than oppression. Only then can we end other nations’ ability to push for war?