Smedly Butler, US general, War Is a Racket:
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914.
I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916.
I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
Everything Butler wrote is correct. Not only that, but the US is still doing this. The Cold War is over, and we haven’t changed 1%. That’s because the Cold War was never really about fighting the USSR. It was about the interests of the US corporations.
Butler sums up US imperialism (US foreign policy is simply US imperialism and vice versa) in a nutshell. And that’s US foreign policy as it was, as it is, and as it will be into the forseeable future. US foreign policy has the support of the entire US political class, both parties, every US administration, the entire US media and most crucially the US rich and US big business, who frankly run this country as a sort of a dictatorship.
It’s a dictatorship because there is no opposition. There’s no opposition press. There’s no opposition party. There are never any US administrations that oppose the essentials of US corporate capitalism and its corollary, US imperialism.*
US imperialism simply means that the US is constantly intervening all over the globe in the interests of the US rich and US corporations. As the middle classes, working classes and poor are attacked by the moneyed classes who control the US, so the US military is used by the US moneyed class as their private army. When you join the US military, you are joining the rich man’s army.
The US military is the army of the rich and the army of the corporations. The purpose of the US military is to go around the world attacking the middle and working classes and poor who are going up against the US rich and businesses their elite allies. That’s what those ~170 or so bases are there for.
If you’re not from the moneyed classes, why in God’s name have you joined the Army of the Rich, the army of your class enemies? Why are willing to go off and fight, get hurt and die for your rich enemies? What’s wrong with you?
*FDR was probably the most progressive President that the US has ever had. The Good Neighbor Policy, initiated in 1934, was the only time in US history that the US has had an anti-imperialist attitude towards Latin America. In addition to the Great Anti-Fascist War (WW2) that he waged and his progressive policies at home, FDR goes down in history as the greatest progressive US President of the 20th Century.
Bill Clinton did a few anti-imperialist things here and there. He restored Leftist Aristide to power in Haiti via US Marines. He proposed several frank humanitarian interventions in which US imperialism had no interests whatsoever (whenever anyone says “US interests” they mean the interests of US imperialism).
He apologized to Guatemalans for overthrowing the pro-people government in 1954, which led to 35 years of rightwing governments that slaughtered 200,000 Guatemalans in cold blood, with the total support of both US political parties and administrations of both parties.
By contrast to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama is simply a US imperialist dog of the worst order. And Hilary Clinton, once in office as Secretary of State, has turned into a nasty, monstrous rightwing witch, a murderous agent of imperialism. Hilary Clinton was much better as Bill’s wife when he was in office. Since 2008, she’s turned into a reactionary monstrosity.