America Makes Its Own Enemies

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The United States has military deployment in more than 150 countries. Of a deployment of over 300,000 men and women, about 80,000 are stationed in countries that may be classified as Third World. In addition, the U.S. has thousands of covert and classified operatives around the world monitoring, undermining and fighting enemies. Do other world powers have similar foreign enemies, deployments and engagements? It would appear that the United States is the world leader in global military and covert operations. These operations and the accompanying sacrifice of blood and treasure are invariably premised on the security of the homeland and on broader national interests. Accepting this logic, why is it that the U.S., a country with strong democratic institutions and noble global intentions, has such needs in comparison to other powers, especially those that are oppressive?

Ever since around 1950, the United States has knowingly and unknowingly, manufactured millions of enemies around the world, enemies that it has in turn had to later fight to secure its interests, creating even more adversaries in the process. This loop of enemy creation is generating enemies at an alarming rate, sucking ever more human and financial resources abroad. This may indeed be the force for the collapse of the global leadership our country has painstakingly developed since WWII. What are the policies that are accelerating the demise of U.S. leadership toward an inglorious end that we predict before 2050, a span of only 100 years after WWII?

Simply said, the United States has used its military, wealth and accumulated goodwill (its national reputational capital) to intervene in support of unpopular causes and oppressive rulers around the world. It has done this without a plan or a commitment to support democratic reforms following its intervention to put a broken nation on the road to recovery. The number of direct and indirect U.S. interventions in regime change since WWII are far too many to list, but the nature of the fallout are more readily aggregated.

When the U.S. overthrows a regime by covert or military means, it invariably inherits a broken country, creates enemies among the overthrown and their supporters, with the nature of evolving enemies depending on the nature and popularity of the overthrown regime and its successor. And given the U.S. track record with subsequent regimes—invariably a dictator with new clothes (not popular representative regimes)—who becomes increasingly more oppressive with U.S. support, new enemies are born.

The U.S. also supports the status quo of oppressive dictators. As citizens suffer under harsh rule, America’s high flouting rhetoric goes nowhere and local suffering is in part connected to the United States with more enemies added by the day.

The U.S. is also behind the war efforts of its clients with the sale of lethal weapons, intelligence and a supporting role, such as mid-air refueling. Again, as thousands are killed, made homeless and exposed to disease such as cholera, America earns itself enemies.

The U.S. also bends to lobbying by an ally and adopts positions that oppose global sentiments, such as its proposed move of its embassy to Jerusalem. This again provides propaganda and more recruits for those opposed to the United States.

More recently, presidential policies on immigration targeting certain Muslims along with rhetoric against developing countries with non-white populations paint a bigoted and racist picture of America, arguably eroding its most important asset, namely, its favorable reputation and the soft power that it has accumulated over years, which can be destroyed overnight with America’s word no longer trusted. Alleged presidential conflicts of interest and favorable interventions for business associates paint a corrupt picture of the United States and diminish the force of America’s call for effective institutions and enhanced governance in the Third World. These developments will again provide propaganda and recruits for those wishing to harm America.

When all this is put together, the conclusion is to us inescapable. America is manufacturing enemies in the thousands and enemies beget more enemies through descendants, friendships, indoctrination and demonstrations. As enemies grow and fan out in the world, the U.S. is likely to use more military power, sell more lethal arms, support harsher dictators to suppress its enemies and those opposed to its client states, making matters even worse. This is not a sustainable policy and will in the end destroy what is good about the United States. The United States will become more insular, disengage from the world, clamp down on domestic freedoms, sow divisions among its own citizens and taint its democratic institutions. It is time for America to rethink its role in the world and employ its democratic ideals as its moral compass.