How Does the U.S. Choose Its Friends and Enemies?

The people running the U.S. government and shaping its foreign policies at any given time generally choose friends and enemies on the basis of what will expand U.S. influence, control, power and dominance, i.e., what will expand the empire. Unlike an empire that seeks direct territorial control and absorption of territory, the U.S. empire is content with other forms of domination and control through alliances, financing, loans, contracts, agricultural and military aid, arms sales, arms training, covert revolutionary means, and other such less visible means than borders and outright control over governments and administration.

It’s expansionism, dominance, control, influence, hegemony-seeking that’s at work. It’s empire-building that’s at work.

That, in turn, has material, ideological and semi-religious roots that go way back to the late 19th century and to the Manifest Destiny ideas that came before. It has some racist roots that go back to the late 19th century, in which the U.S. civilization was deemed superior to others and thought to be destined, even by God, to spread over the whole world. It goes back to progressivism. It is also rooted in geo-political factors. The material factors involve the control of resources and markets by large companies.

This push of empire has some imperialistic and colonialist roots, adapted for a modern age.

There is no need to be puzzled by such seeming inconsistencies as the U.S. sometimes supporting terrorists and other times fighting them; or the U.S. being anti-Nazi and yet supporting at times right-wing governments, dictators and death squads. There is no need to be puzzled by the support of democracy in one country and paying no attention to it in another or even undermining it. There is no need to be puzzled by the U.S. seeming to support the aspirations of one people while ignoring the rights of another people, including American citizens. There is no need to be puzzled by the immense hypocrisies of U.S. officials. The reason for all of this is that ideology is being made to serve the underlying purpose of the empire’s maintenance and expansion.

There are actually more than enough explanatory factors that lie beneath the surface of these seeming inconsistencies and tactical switches.

There are sometimes blunders made by those in power even if they are adhering to an agenda that has world dominance as its prime item. LBJ erred in Vietnam. Bush erred in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lines were drawn in Korea and Taiwan that may or may not have served the empire. When costly errors are made, even from the point of view of those in power so that their aims are frustrated and their power and purse dealt setbacks, they introduce noise. They make it harder for us to discern the actual underlying purpose.

That purpose is the building and expansion of an empire. In the case of the U.S. empire, this purpose is hidden by the fact that territorial acquisitions are no longer its prime means. The U.S. gave up the Philippines and Cuba. It made no attempt to absorb a defeated Germany or Japan. Instead, it used other means. This purpose is also hidden under an immense amount of ideological fictions about American exceptionalism, the self-determination of peoples, spreading democracy, and so on.


9:55 am on March 1, 2014