The generally accepted view among historians is that the USA's ascendancy in global politics began with the President Woodrow Wilson's “14 Points,” which was declared in the US Congress in 1918. From that point on, the USA has shaped global politics; sometimes by throwing its political weight around, sometimes by putting the UN forward and sometimes through economic sanctions. In the past century, many covert operations conducted by the USA made newspaper headlines around the world. Various US administrations sought to orchestrate world affairs through the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf Wars, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the armed interventions in Latin America. In these interventions, the USA usually acted in concert with international society, its allies, and sometimes the UN. However, the USA has always been the driving force behind these coalitions.
Contrary to expectations, most of these armed interventions did not end in success. Although 60 years has passed since the cease-fire which brought an end to the Korean War, North Korea still remains an unrestrained – and highly erratic - power and the Korean Peninsula is still one of the more occasionally problematic regions of the world. The Gulf War of 1991 resulted in Saddam massacring the Shiites and the Kurds. Despite the deaths of some two million people, the 2003 invasion of Iraq did not produce any beneficial results for humanity; on the contrary, the world has become a much more dangerous place after the operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. There was no shortage of communist governments in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia which were subjected to military interventions that aimed to stop the advance of communism. Despite its superior military and economic power, and its theorists who are supposedly experts at interpreting global politics, the USA hasn’t been able to achieve any actual success. The interventions done in the name of bringing democracy, peace and order more often than not have increased hatred towards the USA. In most places, the US military was welcomed not with flowers, but with bombs.
The military interventions of the USA have left in their wake nothing but devastated countries: US soldiers have had to withdraw from these countries with their heads hanging down in embarrassment. Worldwide polls show that the number of those who consider the United States a trustworthy ally are on the decrease. Furthermore, American soldiers themselves have been affected by these interventions as well. Many of them return to their country with psychological disorders and undergo treatment for years. As a matter of fact, one of the main reasons behind the anti-interventionism of the American public are these worn-out solders plagued with psychological problems.
At the current stage, it is quite apparent that Washington needs to make a drastic policy change. As a matter of fact, many American citizens are rejecting the current policies of interventionism. The fundamental mistake being made in these policies is to follow certain think -tanks or political movements which are oblivious to or deliberately disregard the realities of other countries and the needs, beliefs and values of their people. Said think tanks usually employ so-called experts from Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria. However, the origins of these people do not mean they know and understand the aforementioned geographies well and in any event, many of them write what warmongers like to hear. As a consequence, the voices of loveless and ruthless hawks who believe that the world can be shaped through armed force, louder and louder in the hallways of the White House, the Congress or the Department of State.
However, these hawks and certain Neo-Cons have caused more than enough bloodshed over the course of the last 15 years. The cost of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan that Dick Cheney claimed would not exceed 70-80 million dollars has already surpassed six trillion dollars. The weapons of mass destruction which were claimed to be in the possession of Iraq by Colin Powell in the UN, were never found. Today, a majority of the Neo-Cons and the former Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair, admit their mistakes in the run-up to the Iraq War. However, it still remains unknown who will account for the millions of deaths, hundreds of razed cities and three countries that have been abandoned to civil war.
It seems that, in the next term, no matter who wins the elections, the ambition for war and violence should be left behind. The policies should not be defined according to the pro-war strategies of the group that calls themselves Progressive Internationalists. Even though a part of this cadre claims to be liberals (and some even claim to be left-wingers) they promote, for all intents and purposes, the same things the Neo-Conservatives and hawks have been espousing regarding military matters. Apparently having learned little from the experiences of the past 15 years, they still argue that "the US should make military interventions under all circumstances."
This is the same cadre that gave the green light to the interventions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, even after it had become apparent that Iraq was not in possession of any chemical weapons, people such as Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, Christopher Hitchens, George Packer, Kenneth Pollack, Jacob Weisberg and Fareed Zakaria still claimed that the invasion of Iraq, which left millions of dead Iraqis and hundreds of American soldiers who committed suicide in its wake, was justifiable. Many among the hawks believe that the world should live in accordance with the scenarios devised within the halls of Washington. An arrogant tone that looks down on the opinions of others, that is devoid of empathy, and that considers itself the sole authority on making decisions is prevalent in the writings of many. With each passing day, the world will continue to become an even more dangerous place with this loveless mentality. Even more blood will be shed and even more destruction will ensue. Surely the United States will get its share from all this destruction, as well. If American policies are entrusted to the hands of hawkish politics, we will continue to see intelligence circles that will drag the country into war and apologize after.
The good sense of the people of the USA is the authority that can get the USA out of this vicious circle and stop the rot. Today is not the day for those who have conscience, those who advocate love, friendship, brotherhood and peace to remain silent. The propensity for violence hurts the American people as well; the homicide rate in the USA is substantially higher than the industrialized world's average: Roughly 12,000 homicides per year put the beautiful people of this beautiful country in jeopardy. It is time for the American people to engage in self-examination. The world needs the United States to act conscientiously. Those who govern this superpower should heed the message of peace, not the drumbeat of war.
Adnan Oktar's piece in American Herald Tribune: