Can America Bring Peace to the World?

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I
received this email yesterday:

I
just finished a book The
Pentagon’s New Map
by Thomas
P. M. Barnett
, a strategist for the Navy and Defense Department,
in which he talks about America’s role in the world, with concepts
such as exporting rule-sets to the world, and dividing the world
into "core" and "gap" countries.

Overall,
what he presented challenged some of my assumptions about America’s
role in the world. I was wondering if the same ends he describes,
e.g. peace in our lifetime, could be achieved in more freedom-oriented
ways that you have figured out.

I
commend this book to your reading, and if you have time, I would
be interested in your thoughts.

Unfortunately,
because of the book I’m currently writing, I can’t spare any time
for reading books that aren’t related to my current project.

However,
from what the email-writer said, I would guess that Thomas Barnett
has never bothered to examine the history of government programs
– and the sad record of failure after failure after failure. It
isn’t just the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty or the War on
Illiteracy that has failed to fulfill its promises. There hasn’t
been a single American war in this century or the last in which
the U.S. government actually achieved the results that were promised
when it went to war.

Here’s
a brief overview . . .

World
War I


Objective:
Bring democracy to all the countries of the world,
self-determination for everyone, and a new world order that would
end wars forever.

Result:
American entry into the war prevented the two sides from negotiating
a just end to the war. Instead, the Allies saw American entry as
decisive, and so they rejected all peace overtures, fought the war
to a bitter end, won the war, and imposed devastating, humiliating
peace terms on Germany.

The
result was an expansion of the British and French empires, subjecting
millions more people worldwide to foreign rule. In addition, millions
of Europeans were herded into foreign countries.

The
U.S. entry into the European war prompted the Germans to finance
and facilitate Lenin’s takeover of Russia – creating the Soviet
Union. And the oppressive peace terms imposed on the German people
caused them to accept a thug named Adolf Hitler as their avenging
angel. Thus U.S. entry into the war was responsible for what many
call the two worst regimes in world history – and the cause of 52
years of wars from 1939 to 1991.

World
War II


Objective:
Liberate Europe and China, and impose peace upon
the world.

Result: Half of Europe was controlled by the Soviet Union,
and China was quickly taken over by the Communists.

The
Cold War


Objective:
Free subjugated countries.

Result:
In the process of "fighting" the Cold War, Iran’s
democracy was overthrown
with the help of the CIA – leaving
the Iranians subjugated by the oppressive Shah. That’s just one
example, however. The U.S. government imposed or assisted dictators
in Panama, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Chile, El Salvador,
Nicaragua, Cuba, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,
Egypt, China, South Korea, South Vietnam, the Philippines, and numerous
countries in Africa.

The
Korean War


Objective:
Save South Korea from being taken over by an oppressive
dictatorship.

Result: South Korea was left in the hands of an oppressive
dictator, Syngman Rhee, who was just as oppressive as the communist
North Korean dictator, Kim Il Sung.

The
Vietnam War


Objective:
Save Indochina from Communism, and prevent dominos
from falling all over the world.

Result: Indochina was overrun by communists. (Surprisingly,
the world didn’t come to an end.)

The
Panamanian War


Objective:
Stop Panama from being a conduit for drug-running.

Result: The Panamanian army was destroyed, leaving the country
more vulnerable to drug-running.

The
First Iraq War


Objective:
Free Kuwait and stop Saddam Hussein from taking over
the world. (Seriously, George H.W. Bush called him a modern-day
Hitler, who had to be stopped the way Hitler should have been stopped
at Munich.) At the end of the war, George H.W. Bush called on the
Iraqis to overthrow Hussein.

Result: Kuwait is still run by a family dynasty that has
no interest in democracy or in providing rights for the people.
Apparently, Saddam Hussein wasn’t stopped from his diabolical plans
of world domination – at least according to George H.W. Bush’s son
11 years later. And Bush
Sr. helped put down the postwar rebellion
that would have overthrown
Hussein.

The
Bombing of Serbia

Objective:
End the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo, perpetrated by
the Serbs.

 Result:
The Albanians
ethnic-cleansed all the Serbs and gypsies out of Kosovo
, as
well as terrorizing the Macedonians in Macedonia.

The
War in Afghanistan


Objective:
Stop the country from harboring terrorists, get rid
of the Taliban, create human rights for women, and establish a free
Afghanistan.

Result: Al-Qaeda operatives continue to function there, and
Osama Bin Laden himself may be safely hiding in Afghanistan. Women
are still treated as tools
, rather than people. And as for freedom,
the
Afghan people are subjugated by brutal warlords
, and the
Taliban have been invited back in
to help restore order.

The
War in Iraq


Objective:
"Disarm" Saddam Hussein and liberate the
Iraqi people.

Result: Turns out that there was nothing to "disarm."
(Surprisingly, George Bush is still justifying the war by saying
that "Saddam Hussein had no intention of disarming."

Disarming what???) And over
10,000 Iraqi deaths
later, Iraq is not only not liberated,
it’s being occupied by a foreign power that’s being fought by a
determined resistance movement.

Success?

So
while Mr. Barnett’s objectives may be attractive, they are irrelevant
– since the odds against the U.S. government actually achieving
them are at least 100 to 1.

The
Pentagon will try to export rule-sets to other countries, with no
success (rule-sets that, incidentally, don’t apply in the U.S.).
If I understand the terms correctly, the "core" countries
will be those whose rulers agree to do whatever the U.S. President
tells them to do, and the "gap" countries will be those
run by rulers who insist on making their own rules.

There
is no way that America can make the entire world peaceful – or,
in fact, any part of the world except America itself.

Peace
in our Time

We
could lift the state of siege in America tomorrow morning if the
U.S. would simply stop meddling in other countries’ affairs.

The
supposed "hate America" feeling is really the fear that
America is going to come into one’s country and throw its weight
around – as it has in Afghanistan, the Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon,
Somalia, Libya, Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican
Republic, Panama, Grenada, Guatemala, Indonesia, East Timor, Vietnam,
Laos, Cambodia, Pakistan, the Congo, and dozens of other countries.

The
question really is simple: Which do we want . . . 

u2022 To have
our government make a futile effort to bring peace and democracy
to the world – in the process generating such hatred that
we live the rest of our lives in a state of siege, with America
becoming progressively more like the chaos that exists in
Israel and the Palestinian territories?

Or

u2022 Bring
all the troops home, end all foreign aid to friends and foes
alike, keep out of the affairs of other countries – and restore
the peace and liberty that America experienced throughout
most of the 19th century?

You
decide. But when you decide, remember that you’re choosing the inevitable
consequences at the same time you choose the objective.

October
9, 2004

Harry Browne [send
him mail
], the author of Why
Government Doesn’t Work

and many other books, was the Libertarian presidential candidate
in 1996 and 2000. See his website.

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