You are here
US foreign policy and empire
‘The American Century’ Has Plunged the World Into Crisis
There’s something fundamentally wrong with U.S. foreign policy.
by Conn Hallinan and Leon Wofsy
Despite glimmers of hope — a tentative nuclear agreement with Iran, for one, and a long-overdue thaw with Cuba — we’re locked into seemingly irresolvable conflicts in most regions of the world. They range from tensions with nuclear-armed powers like Russia and China to actual combat operations in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.
Why? Has a state of perpetual warfare and conflict become inescapable? Or are we in a self-replicating cycle that reflects an inability — or unwillingness — to see the world as it actually is?
The United States is undergoing a historic transition in our relationship to the rest of the world, but this is neither acknowledged nor reflected in U.S. foreign policy. We still act as if our enormous military power, imperial alliances, and self-perceived moral superiority empower us to set the terms of “world order.”
While this illusion goes back to the end of World War II, it was the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union that signaled the beginning of a self-proclaimed “American Century.” The idea that the United States had “won” the Cold War and now — as the world’s lone superpower — had the right or responsibility to order the world’s affairs led to a series of military adventures. It started with President Bill Clinton’s intervention in the Yugoslav civil war, continued on with George W. Bush’s disastrous invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and can still be seen in the Obama administration’s own misadventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and beyond.
In each case, Washington chose war as the answer to enormously complex issues, ignoring the profound consequences for both foreign and domestic policy. Yet the world is very different from the assumptions that drive this impulsive interventionism.
It’s this disconnect that defines the current crisis.
Stop U.S. War & All Forms of Intervention Against Syria!
Self-determination Free from Outside Intervention
President Obama calls for continued war in Afghanistan through 2014 and beyond
Join the Protest against NATO & the G8 in Chicago on May 20
As occupiers, workers and peace activists were taking to the streets for the most wide-spread May Day actions in the United States in decades, President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan where he signed an agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzi to keepU.S. troops in the