Canada to Afghanistan 1775 to 2014
• After a career as an academic economist, I decided in 2004 that I would devote an increasing part of my time to write about American foreign policy. This choice of topic was inspired by the re-election of George W. Bush as president and commander-in-chief of the American Empire. The fact that the American people could re-elect Bush, after there was overwhelming evidence that he had lied to them about the existence of WMDs in Iraq, opened my eyes to the truth. As a young person, I, like so many others, believed that the American Empire was a force for good in the World. After the re-election of George W. Bush, I began to question my long-held belief that Western civilization was indeed civilized, caring, open, free and democratic.
I have written two deeply researched books on American military invasions and colonizations beginning with the expansion of the US from the initial 13 tiny English colonies along the Atlantic seaboard, across the First Nations lands to Hawaii, other islands in the Pacific, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, China and Russia.
The American invasion of Iraq was such a cruel crime against the defenceless people of Iraq, who had already suffered so painfully 10 ten years of intensive bombing by the American and British empires, that I began to seriously question what I had been taught to believe about the West. The careful, objective and unbiased research done while writing Rise and Fall of the American Empire, convinced me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Western colonization and domination of the world for six centuries had severely limited and constrained the expression of freedoms, the creation of true democratic states and the promotion of racial equality and equality of opportunities. At the same time while the West spoke a desire for peace, it squandered the world’s scarce resources on weapons of mass destruction, incessant invasions and wasteful consumption.
Many have sacrificed their livelihoods, their families, their freedoms and have been imprisoned for speaking out against Western warmongering. Think of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Daniel Ellsberg, John Lennon, just to name a few, as well as the many who have marched for peace. Those efforts have not changed significantly the behaviour of the West. But just think how much worse the West would have behaved if it had not been modestly constrained by these critics. More importantly, think how much worse the West would have behaved if everyone had followed its madness like sheep. I therefore ask of you to be critical and do not be taken in by the extremely powerful and seductive Western propaganda machine we are immersed in. I also ask you to think of the 60 million refugees created by this military policy and actions of the West. These people have lost their families, friends, homes and livelihoods. They never had the desire or the capacity to harm the West. They are the innocent victims of continued Western imperialism.
My expertise in economics provides me with the essential tools to explain why American invasions and addiction to warmongering is no longer sustainable for the American Empire. The relative size of the American economy has shrunk from close to 50% of the world’s economy shortly after World War II to about 17% today. When the military costs of imperial expansion exceed the economic gains from imperial expansion, at a time when the American economy is in relative decline and American consumers refuse to save or pay higher taxes, foreign invasions are not sustainable.
Non-existing weapons of mass destruction and other pretexts for American in invasions
The following excerpts from my book, American Invasions: Canada to Afghanistan: 1775 to 2010, testify to the fact that the deliberate American fabrication that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to justify its illegal invasion of Iraq, far from being an isolated deception for US wars, has often been used by the US to get public support for invading countries. The true purpose of such invasions is to colonize and steal the resources of the countries invaded. While there are numerous examples of this in my book I will select just three as illustrations. The first is the little known US invasion of Tripoli, now called Libya, in 1801. We begin with this because it was one of the earliest and also an original example of Regime Change by the US. It resonates with Iraq because once no WMD’s were found the Bush administration fell back on Regime Change as its justification based on Saddam Hussein being such a vicious dictator.
The second example is much more well known because it is the US invasion and colonization of Cuba. The third illustration is the most important but also the most complex. Here we show the connexion between the US attempts to colonize China and Japan, dominate the Pacific, successfully invade and colonize the Philippines, Hawaii and other islands in the Pacific, then successfully use the propaganda that the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour, was an unprovoked attack on the US. The truth of the matter is that Pearl Harbour is Hawaiian territory, and a strategic island for the competing Japanese and American empires over domination of the Pacific. This attack on Hawaii was used by the US as its primary justification for declaring war on Japan and using nuclear weapons on the Japanese people. In reality, the US entered World War II with the main purpose of defeating the Japanese Empire because Japan was its primary competitor in the Pacific.
American invasion of Tripoli (Libya): 1801-1805
“The US began its current policy of unilaterally invading sovereign states from its birth. Despite long standing conventions by the major empires of the day, including England and France, Thomas Jefferson, then US minister to France, wrote in a letter to John Adams on July 11, 1786, that the US should wage war on the Barbary states instead of paying the tributes which had historically been paid by England, France and other Christian empires. The US was about to defy international law by attacking a sovereign state for the actions of some of its citizens. This was no different from the US invasion of Afghanistan in retaliation for the actions of some of the citizens of Afghanistan.”
“Complementing the birthright of the American Empire for unilateral invasion of sovereign states is the American obsession with warmongering. Jefferson hinted at this American trait in his letter of December 26, 1786 to the president of Yale College. In that letter Jefferson noted that taxing Americans to wage a war against the Barbary States would be more popular politically than taxing them to pay tributes. Other Christian empires recognized that tributes were far cheaper than wars. In 2007, Americans were paying $50 billion each month to wage a war in Iraq, rather than spend a much smaller amount on waging peace.”
“Jefferson became president in 1801 and began a policy of intimidating and provoking the North African Muslim states by flexing its military muscle with a US naval presence in the Mediterranean. This had been the standard American tactic against the First Nations. Provoke them into an attack with taunts, intimidation, theft and humiliation and use that attack to justify all out war. Keep these provocations as secret as possible so that you can claim that the attack was unprovoked. That would make it easier to get the support of Congress and the American people. Thus Jefferson made sure that he did not inform Congress prior to sending the US navy to the Mediterranean.”
“Jefferson sent four ships, the President, Essex, Philadelphia and Enterprise under the command of Commodore Richard Dale to blockade and bombard Tripoli. Jefferson used as evidence of Tripoli’s “unprovoked” attack the seizure of two American ships by Tripoli. These two American ships had mysteriously wandered from American bases across an entire ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and blown magically off course into the Mediterranean. How else could they have been seized without provocation by Tripoli since Tripoli had not crossed the Atlantic Ocean to seize them?
Does anyone see the emerging American pattern which played out in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964? As in the case of the two American ships which had mysteriously entered the Mediterranean in 1801, the two US warships, Maddox and Turner Joy, had mysteriously wandered from their bases in the United States all across the Pacific Ocean to land in Vietnamese waters so that the Vietnamese would cause an unprovoked attack on the US. Or is it simply that the American Empire has the god given right to be in every country’s backyard?
Jefferson carefully played his hand pushing Tripoli to declare war on the American Empire in May 1801. In response, Jefferson convinced Congress to pass an Act in February 1802 for a permanent US naval presence in the Mediterranean. In May, 1803, the American Empire sent more ships to strengthen the blockade and enhance the bombardment of Tripoli. In October, 1803, Tripoli captured the Philadelphia forcing the US to destroy it rather than have Tripoli add it to its own fleet. In September, 1804, Tripoli destroyed the Intrepid.
American reinforcements under Commodore Samuel Barron arrived soon after the loss of the Intrepid. With the war going badly for the Americans they hatched a plot to overthrow Tripoli’s ruler with his older brother who had been exiled in Egypt. This was the birth of the American policy of Regime Change. The original “Dick Cheney” of Regime Change was the American consul to Tunis, William Eaton. Eaton raised a mercenary army of Arabs and Greeks and marched 500 miles overland to Tripoli.”
“Jefferson had made up his mind long before he became president that he would convince the American people to wage war on the Barbary States. Western historians, would, of course, claim that this was not a Christian War against Islam, but would make no effort to explain why the US did not criticize Christian States, including itself, for using pirates to expand their empires and spheres of influence. Moreover, in pointing out the inhumane treatment of captured American sailors by the Barbary pirates as a justification for Jefferson’s invasion of North Africa, these American historians conveniently fail to compare such inhumane treatment with the equally inhumane treatment of American privateers captured by England during the War of Independence. The British did not recognize the captured American privateers as prisoners of war just as the US today does not recognize captured al-Qaeda fighters as prisoners of war. They were held in special camps very much like today’s Guantanamo, Abu-Ghraib and other secret US prison camps in Europe. One of the most notorious was the prison ship, Jersey.”
The Spanish American War and the American invasion of Cuba: 1898
“In the late 1890’s Americans were asked to give their lives to fight the “evil” empire of Spain just as they are asked today to give their lives to fight the “axis of evil,” Iraq, Iran and North Korea. President Obama added Pakistan to President Bush’s “axis of evil.” In the 1890s, the American propaganda was that Cubans would greet the Americans as liberators of Cuba from Spanish imperialism. Today the American propaganda is that Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians, Pakistanis and Yemenis will greet the Americans as liberators from their “non-democratic” governments. The reality is that no humane and civilized people want an American “slave-based” warmongering “democracy.”
“William Hearst sent one of his reporters, Frederick Remington to Cuba to manufacture a war.” Once the war began Hearst went personally to Cuba to report on the fighting. The competition between Hearst and Pulitzer for war coverage in Cuba quickly expanded to all of the major US newspapers of the day. Two other leading New York newspapers, the Herald and the Sun, joined the fray. Chicago newspapers such as the Times-Herald and the Tribune, joined with the Boston Herald, to add to the competition on the east coast.”
“American imperialism in Cuba as in other parts of the globe could never have succeeded without the willing connivance of the American “free” press. It is the American “free” press which stirs the American people to support every new war with false propaganda of atrocities committed by the nation to be invaded combined with the “goodness” of American intervention.”
“The intense media competition for newspaper sales by Hearst and Pulitzer which provided the media support for the America invasion of Cuba was so far out and biased that the American media itself coined a new term, yellow journalism, to refer to this kind of biased propaganda unsupported by the facts. “Yellow journalism” by all of the Western media played a significant role in garnering popular support for the criminal US invasion of Iraq in 2003 by President Bush.”
US Invasions in China, Japan and the Pacific, 1784-1941, to expand its Pacific empire and defeat Japanese competition was the true reason for its entry in World War II
“Most of the American traders also smuggled illegal opium into China from Turkey and India to boost their profits. Prominent Americans who became drug lords in the China trade included FDR’s grandfather, Warren Delano, who was a senior partner with Russel and Company, a Boston company trading with China.”
“Illegal imports of opium into China continued its upward spiral after the Treaty of Nanking (1842). By 1858 imports had reached 70,000 chests. Profits from the illegal drug trade sky rocketed. Hong Kong became the drug capital of the world. China was militarily incapable of defending its own country from the Western drug lords.”
“The American Empire benefited from the Treaty of Nanking because it forced China to grant similar concessions to it as those granted to the British Empire. These equivalent concessions were forced on China by the Sino-American Treaty of Wanghia of July 3, 1844.”
“Sanford Dole became the President of the Hawaiian Republic after its conquest by the American Empire. The American conquest of Hawaii followed the pattern used on the mainland. The missionaries “civilized” the original inhabitants to make it easier for the American politicians and business men to steal their land, their economy and their culture. While Dole senior controlled the church his son, Sanford, controlled the government and together with his cousin, James Dole, also controlled the economy.”
“The traitors struck in 1887 shortly after the American Empire instructed the US Navy on January 20, 1887 to lease Pearl Harbor for a naval base. The American Empire had previously used Pearl Harbor as a Coal Depot. Lorrin Thurston, the leader of the traitors, was Hawaii’s Minister of the Interior. He drafted a new constitution for Hawaii on July 6, 1887, and used the Hawaiian militia, which the traitors controlled, to force King David Kalakaua to sign. Since the King was forced to sign it while looking down the bayonets of the armed militia, it was appropriately called the Bayonet Constitution.”
“The American Empire formally took possession of the naval base at Pearl Harbor on November 9, 1887. This occupation of Hawaiian territory by the American Empire caused Hawaii to be the central battleground between the American and Japanese empires without a single concern by the international community about the wishes of the Hawaiian people.”
“The US fleet in the Pacific was boosted by the US invasions and conquests of Hawaii in 1893 and the Philippines in 1898. It was from naval bases in the Philippines that the American Empire was able to play its crucial role in suppressing the armed rebellion of Chinese patriots against foreign domination. These Philippine bases were only 400 miles from China. The American Empire had deployed large numbers of battleships and marines to fight the insurgency in the Philippines following its invasion of the Philippines. These forces were well positioned to move quickly into China. US economic colonization of the Philippines also provided a springboard for US businesses to rape the rich resources of China. What came to be called the Boxer Rebellion was the armed revolt of Chinese patriots beginning in 1898.”
“Aggressive American imperialism would forcibly end two hundred years of self- imposed isolation by Japan. American meddling in the domestic affairs of Japan would lead the Japanese people to rise up against foreign domination. Like Iraq and Afghanistan today the use of superior brute force by the American Empire would bring only temporary conquests for the bully.”
“The American Empire forced Japan to open the ports of Hakodate and Shimoda to foreign trade (1854), permit the US to have a consulate in Shimoda and most importantly, forced Japan to allow the US Navy to re-fuel its warships with Japanese coal at coaling stations in Japan. The primary purpose of these coaling stations was to enable the US Navy to dominate the Pacific and thereby expand American trade and colonization of China and the Far East. In the words of US Secretary of State, Daniel Webster, “God had placed coal for steam ships in the depths of the Japanese islands for the benefit of the human family.” It was America’s “manifest destiny” to steal the Japanese coal.”
“American naval bases quickly expanded from Hawaii westward to Midway Island, Wake Island, Guam and the Philippines. The Spanish-American War of 1898 was a prelude to war with the Japanese Empire…
By the time the Japanese Empire attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, American propaganda regarding the God given right of the American Empire to wage war on all who dared threaten its hegemony had so saturated the minds of world leaders and citizens globally that there has not been a single mention of the people of Hawaii in that so called “Day of Infamy” of December 7, 1941.”
Dr. Rocky M. Mirza is the author of The Rise and Fall of the American Empire: A Re-interpretation of History, Economics and Philosophy: 1492-2006. He is also one of the three co-authors of Explorations in Macroeconomics and Explorations in Microeconomics. His latest book, American Invasions: Canada to Afghanistan: 1775 to 2010, is a sequel to The Rise and Fall of the American Empire. Dr. Mirza has a Ph.D. in economics and has written and taught for more than 30 years. He lives in Vancouver and is a faculty member of Thompson Rivers University. firstname.lastname@example.org
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japan map image © Chad Mcdermott
cuba map image © Dana Rothstein