Presentation on theme: "An Economic and Moral Approach to International Relations."— Presentation transcript:
An Economic and Moral Approach to International Relations
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities. - George Washingtons Farewell Address, 1796
Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations...entangling alliances with none - Thomas Jeffersons Inaugural Address 1801
It became more than a policy; it became an expression of a national point of view about ourselves and our place in the world, a view which contrasted the simple virtues of our Republic with the subtle and complex qualities (some said corruptions) of Europe. From 1789 until the Second World War, excepting only our relationship with Panama, the United States refused to enter into treaties of alliance with anyone. In the 25 years since the end of the war, however, in a dramatic reversal of national policy, we have allied ourselves with half the world. - David Fromkin, Foreign Affairs, 1970
Over 1,000 military bases around the world Billion dollars and 2.1 trillion dollars – conservative estimate 170 billion dollars html html Total Cost of Defense Industrial Complex 2012 – between 1.03 trillion dollars and 1.45 trillion dollars. United_States United_States 45,000 deaths in the war on terror – conservative estimate – 158 billion dollars – 3.5 million dollars per life.
Empires incur slower growth, heavier taxes and more intense disputes over the use of resources, weakening their capacity to bear the burden of extensive defense responsibilities. The task facing American statesmen over the next decades, therefore, is to recognize that broad trends are under way, and that there is a need to "manage" affairs so that the relative erosion of the United States' position takes place slowly and smoothly, and is not accelerated by policies which bring merely short-term advantage but longer-term disadvantage. - Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, 1987
If the American system is no longer working as planned, if the constitutional checks and balances as well as other structures put in place by the founders to prevent tyranny are increasingly less operational, we have not completely lacked for witnesses of every stripe, domestic and foreign. General Tommy Franks, commander of the American assault on Baghdad, for instance, went so far as to predict that another serious terrorist attack on the United States would begin to unravel the fabric of our Constitution, and under such circumstances, he was open to the idea that the Constitution could be scrapped in favor of a military form of government. The historian Kevin Baker feared that we are no longer far from the day when, like the Roman Senate in 27 BC, our Congress will take its last meaningful vote and turn over power to a military dictator. In the end, well beg for the coup, he wrote. Chalmers Johnson, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, 2008
1) We need to put a halt to the serious environmental damage done by our military bases planet-wide. We also need to stop writing SOFAs (Status of Forces Agreements) that exempt the United States from any responsibility for cleaning up after itself. 2) Liquidating the empire will end the burden of carrying our empire of overseas bases and the opportunity costs that go with them the things that we might otherwise do with our talents and resources but cant or wont.
3) As we otherwise know (but often forget), imperialism breeds the use of torture. In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States helped overthrown the elected governments in Brazil and Chile, and underwrote regimes of torture that prefigured our own treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dismantling the empire would potentially mean a real end to the modern U.S. record of using torture abroad. 4) We need to cut the ever-lengthening train of camp followers, dependents, civilian employees of the Department of Defense and hucksters along with their expensive medical facilities, housing requirements, swimmming pools, clubs, golf courses, and so forth that follow our military enclaves around the world.
5) We need to discredit the myth promoted by the military- industrial complex that our military establishment is valuable to the nation in terms of jobs, scientific research and defense. Those alleged advantages have long been discredited by serious economic research. Ending the empire would help make this happen. 6) As a self-respecting democratic nation, we need to stop being the worlds largest exporter of arms and munitions, and quit educating Third World militaries in the techniques of torture, military coups and service as proxies for our imperialism. A prime candidate for immediate closure is the so-called School of the Americas, the U.S. Armys infamous military academy at Fort Benning, Georgia, for Latin American military officers (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation).
7) Given the growing constraints on the federal budget, we should abolish the Reserve Officers Training Corps and other long-standing programs that promote militarism in the nations schools. 8) We need to restore discipline and accountability in our armed forces by radically scaling back our reliance on civilian contractors, private military companies and agents working for the military outside the chain of command and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Ending the empire would make this possible.
9) We need to reduce, not increase, the size of our standing army and deal much more effectively with the wounds our soldiers receive and combat stress they endure. 10) Unfortunately, few empires of the past voluntarily gave up their dominations in order to remain independent, self-governing entities. The two most recent examples are the British and Soviet empires. If we do not learn from their examples, our decline and fall is preordained.