An essay published in the Nation on Friday accuses Americans celebrating independence of failing to “reckon with the fact that the founders of our nation were colonizers,” with American “exceptionalism” and foreign policy being “grounded in racism,” adding that issues such as climate change and “racist policing” are the “greatest existential threats” while global terrorism and threats from China, Russia, and Iran, are merely “imagined threats.”
The essay, penned by the Center for International Policy’s president and CEO Salih Booker as well as board member Diana Ohlbaum, carries the title “The Willful Self-Delusion of American Independence Day,” and claims that despite endeavoring to do so, the U.S. has “rarely lived up to ideals.”
“Enough is enough,” the essay asserts.
American exceptionalism is grounded in racism and militarism. https://t.co/P4NtF3VTmh
— The Nation (@thenation) July 2, 2021
The piece begins by accusing American citizens celebrating Independence Day of failing to “reckon with the fact that the founders of our nation were colonizers,” and adding that since declaring independence, the U.S. “has only expanded the scope of its imperial domination.”
The essay continues by claiming that, while racial biases are being addressed domestically, the “structural racism” inherent in U.S. foreign policy has yet to be seriously probed.
“While systemic white supremacy and the state’s use of violence against people of color in this country is at the forefront of the national debate, the structural racism of US foreign policy has escaped serious scrutiny,” it reads.
The essay then claims the two are “deeply and immutably” linked to one another.
“It is precisely through its brutal history of genocide and slavery that the US government learned to use violence and military force to make white people secure in their positions of privilege and domination at home and abroad,” it reads.
Depicting “American exceptionalism” as “grounded in racism and militarism,” the essay then claims the country’s foreign policy allows the U.S. to act irresponsibly.
“[American foreign policy] posits that the United States is a unique force for good in the world, exempt from the international laws and norms it expects other nations to follow, and is thus entitled to kill or subdue those who disobey its orders,” it reads.
It then claims such a policy has led to a host of unjust actions.
“It has resulted in US bombings and assassinations of people of color around the world criminalized as ‘terrorists’ or otherwise defined as dangerous ‘others,’ exorbitant Pentagon spending, an expansive global network of military bases, and a system that gives sole authority to the US president to decide whether to annihilate the planet,” the essay reads.
It continues by claiming U.S. foreign policy, at its core, dictates that white American lives are more valuable than the lives of others.
“At its heart, US ‘national security’ doctrine assumes that the lives of white Americans are more valuable than those of others, and that ‘we’ can make ourselves more secure by making ‘them’ less secure,” it reads.
Accusing the foreign policy establishment of erroneously viewing primary threats to national security as “military in nature and emanating from outside US borders,” the essay claims that the true threats arise from issues such as climate change and racist policies.
No matter that the greatest existential threats are climate change and nuclear catastrophe, nor that pandemic disease, rising inequality, militarized and racist policing, and gun violence—the burdens of which all fall heaviest on Black, Indigenous, and otherwise nonwhite people—pose far greater dangers to American lives than do any imagined threats from China, Russia, Iran, or global terrorism.
The essay then claims the consequences of such a doctrine have been “devastating,” with the current U.S. foreign policy described as “destabilizing the world and robbing it of the resources needed to achieve human development, human security, human rights, and human dignity.”
The essay also claims that resolving issues such as poverty, climate change and racial issues, and not “military force,” is the chief means of protecting Americans.
The surest way to protect American lives is to eliminate poverty and hunger; achieve racial and gender equality; reverse climate change; create fair and humane systems for migration; develop a robust global capacity to prevent pandemic disease; build an open and inclusive multiethnic, multiracial democracy at home; and establish peaceful and cooperative relationships with other nations.
“None of these goals can be achieved through military force,” it adds.
The essay then calls on American leaders to “renounce the quest for global dominance,” and pursue a “global solidarity” strategy instead.
“They must reject the lie that there is a hierarchy of human value in which some lives are worth more than others and the myth that violence is a necessary and effective means for achieving political ends,” it reads.
“Not in our name should they conduct military aggression, impose devastating economic sanctions, squander public resources on exorbitant Pentagon budgets, criminalize refugees and migrants, turn American cities into battlefields, or threaten to use nuclear weapons,” it continues.
Calling for a more “ethical, effective, and peaceful approach to the world,” the essay suggests the U.S. begin “acknowledging, apologizing for, and making amends for the genocides of Native American peoples and the enslavement of Africans over many generations.”
It then calls for the “termination of current US wars” and “significantly reducing the size of the Pentagon budget” while “paring back the global network of US military bases that serve as springboards for aggression.”
The essay concludes by demanding the U.S. “join the international consensus by signing, ratifying, and complying with major treaties and agreements,” and only then “will the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness be secured for all.”
Members on the left and the mainstream media have used the occasion of the Fourth of July to attack America and its founding on the eve of the country marking its independence.
On Friday, the taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR) reluctantly repeated its tradition of staff reading the Declaration of Independence, this year framing its report to point out the “flaws” and alleged racist elements of one of the most cherished U.S. documents.
The left-wing media outlet said it started the tradition as “a way of marking Independence Day.”
Students at Georgetown University said they were not proud to be American when interviewed shortly before the Fourth of July holiday, adding they would give up their American citizenship.
On the eve of Independence Day, The New York Times politicized the American flag over Twitter by saying flying the American flag shows a “person’s political affiliation” nowadays.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.