Shedding a Foreign Policy Based on Imperialism

Part VI: A Manifesto for the United States of America

Read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.

Is the U.S. ripe for a real revolution, where the disenfranchised and repressed overthrow the enfranchised and privileged?

Unfortunately, there are many weapons in the hands of the existing U.S. power structure. These include racism, control of the media, chauvinism, greed and more. These are all put into the service of weakening and dividing the population, and pitting them against each other, thus preventing the unity that might otherwise become the demise of the oligarchs and corporations.

It is encouraging to see apparently sincere support for Black Lives Matter and resistance against the police and other forces of suppression, but how deep does this sincerity run? How concrete and effective will it be? Or will it become largely cosmetic, as with past attempts to fight racism and change our society in fundamental ways? Many fear, based on experience, that the current uprising will be insufficient by itself to make more than a token difference, that the consciousness raised will be largely temporary and less than meaningful.

The present series of articles suggests a different – or at least complementary – approach. When the weak and disenfranchised attempt to take power, they need to be numerous, unified, determined and organized to succeed. That’s asking a lot, and few would argue that the movement in the U.S. possesses these traits at pressent.

An alternate approach is to strengthen, enfranchise, unify and organize the society first through other means, creating a stronger base upon which to redesign and reconstruct it. Rather than seizing power and then using it for social justice, we can empower the citizenry first or concurrently, thus enabling them to better press their demands and effectively alter their society.

One of the most pressing demands at present, voiced loudly and frequently in the demonstrations, is to tame police brutality, or even do away with the police altogether. Police brutality and endemic racism in the U.S. is in fact what motivated this series of proposals. Can we expect these demonstrations to have greater impact than previous movements, going back decades, generations and perhaps even centuries? What can we do to reach goals that continue to elude Blacks, Indigenous peoples and other disenfranchised populations?

Significantly, none of the installments of the manifesto has yet addressed the issue of policing, which will probably be the last installment other than a concluding one. This is because the other elements are all essential in doing away with a repressive and racist police force, and must be addressed first (in terms of explanation). In fact, all the elements are interrelated. They can be addressed separately to a certain extent, but they need each other in order to be fully successful, and therefore deserve to be demanded simultaneously.

A Foreign Po­­licy for the Masses

Part V proposed measures for taming the power and influence of the U.S. military, the main tool in imperialist ambitions that exhaust the resources of the U.S. population and enhance the power of its ultra-elite. Hand in hand with the military is a highly aggressive U.S. foreign policy, which is what drives an imperialistic use of the military. One is an extension of the other. Its basis is the Wolfowitz doctrine of 1992, the Project for a New American Century and other neoconservative formulations. World domination, the subservience of other nations and the weakening of noncompliant nations is its primary object, by means of bullying, threatening and ultimately sabotaging and destroying other nations in order to remain in complete control. It matters not what sacrifices the American people make in order to feed such megalomania, nor those made by the victims of this policy. Whether they are peaceful or not, they must die in their millions and become refugees in the tens of millions to feed the bloodthirst of this policy. Imperialism always targets the disempowered, and especially Black and Brown peoples.

Many of these traits of U.S. foreign policy may disappear or at least diminish in the absence of military projection, as discussed in Part V. Nevertheless, it is important to explicitly state how policy will change, which will in turn illustrate why the military is mostly superfluous to the welfare of the general population. A lot of the change is as simple as actually complying with international law, such as the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter, to which the U.S. is already a signatory.

The central obligation of international law is that no nation will attack another or violate its sovereign territory except in response to a direct attack from that state, or a threat of immediate attack. Today the U.S. violates this obligation everywhere that it sends its drones to assassinate targets or even conduct surveillance without the permission of the nation in whose territory these missions are conducted. But of course, the U.S. goes well beyond such measures. It attempts “regime change” against countries that are not sufficiently loyal or compliant, and do not open their doors for exploitation of their economies for the benefit of U.S. corporations and interests, nor assist in enforcing U.S. global objectives.

Part of the problem is possibly that Congress has illegally abdicated its war powers under the U.S. Constitution. The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) is unconstitutional because Congress cannot authorize modification of the Constitution by giving its power to the Executive branch of government, thereby abdicating its constitutional role. Only an approval by ¾ of the state legislatures can change the constitution. The AUMF must be abolished.

The use of economic, financial or other sanctions upon other nations is also a form of warfare, and potentially a cruel and devastating one. Such policies are therefore also illegal unless undertaken to counter a direct threat, and subsequent to a declaration of war by the Congress.

Other instruments of an imperialist foreign policy must also be dismantled. These include NATO, which is merely an association of gangsters, intended to enhance the ability of the U.S. to threaten and bully other nations. Similarly, the sole purpose of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation AKA School of the Americas is to assure that tiny power elites in countries that are under the domination of the U.S. will be able to suppress the rest of the population and thereby maintain their power for use in the service of the imperialist objectives of the U.S.

Similarly, the instruments of financial and economic coercion and exploitation must be disbanded. All international trade relations and commerce as currently upheld by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) must be reformulated to protect the labor, human rights, economy, environment and domestic industry of partner and recipient nations so that the growth of local industry and agriculture has the advantage over foreign corporate domination. The WTO, IMF, and World Bank must be eliminated or replaced with new institutions that are democratic, transparent, and accountable to the citizens of all nations. All debts incurred by poor nations must be forgiven, and financial assistance structured so as to enhance a nation’s income and ability to provide for the welfare and prosperity of its people, rather than to provide income to the creditors.

Finally, all weapons development, sales and military aid must cease being used to dominate other nations and to further imperialist interests. Foremost among these are nuclear weapons. They are simply too dangerous to be put into the service of geopolitical strategic objectives. Furthermore, they are an expenditure that in no way contributes to the welfare and prosperity of the American people. They should be abolished and all nuclear powers should mutually reduce stockpiles to this end. The U.S. should sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and end the research, testing and stockpiling of all nuclear weapons of any size. The same should apply to chemical and biological weapons and land mines. In addition, the U.S. should reverse its withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and honor its stipulations.

In truth, the steps outlined in previous Manifesto installments, and especially number V (drastically reducing the role of the military) are likely to make the suggestions with regard to foreign policy relatively easy to implement. These effects will also become evident to a greater extent in the remaining installments.

Paul Larudee is a retired academic and current administrator of a nonprofit human rights and humanitarian aid organization. Read other articles by Paul.