The rise and rise of a global policeman
Things got off to an unpromising start when the Spanish "discovered" the American continent in 1492. They were greeted by the Indians, the inhabitants and owners of the land, with friendship. In turn Columbus and his men decided that the Indians needed to be guided into the Christian way and set about teaching them the spiritual benefits of hard labour and the vengefulness of their Christian God, which included disease, rape and genocide. Things soon went from bad to worse. The Spanish and Portuguese struck upon the solution to the growing demand for labour: with the colonisation of Africa large numbers of black Africans were being transported and sold as the slave trade got into full swing. Quite a number of Europe's great fortunes were founded on the slave trade and Britain, who had by now staked their colonial claim in north America, quickly moved into the lucrative business of buying and selling human beings. At the same time, all manner of criminals, whores and religious fanatics took passage to America where they founded its leading families. (The Puritans arrived in 1640, a harsh religious sect who piously set about accumulating great riches from the slave trade.) The British went too far when they tried to tax the rising capitalist class in the American colony to fund their wars of conquest. Following a revolt these white merchants, slave owners and men of vast property declared themselves independent in 1776, proclaiming, "We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; That they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; That among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Unfortunately, this fine declaration was somewhat at odds with the reality. The policy aimed at wiping out native Americans was being put into practice and one out of every five Americans was a slave. For purposes of congressional representation, it was decided by the founding fathers in 1790 that blacks were to be counted, as three fifths of a person. Indians were not counted at all. The premise on which this newly independent country was to make its future was set down, not in the drafting of any document, but in the response of President George Washington to the French Revolution of 1793. "We shall maintain a conduct friendly and impartial toward the belligerents", said Washington, "and we shall sell our goods to everyone. What is good for business is good." Church and state were supposed to be separate, but politicians, army generals and businessmen always kept God close at hand as a vote getter, battle winner and profit enhancer. In 1823, as the US Army was "pacifying" and dispossessing the Indians in the west of the country to allow settlers to stake their claims and lay the ground for the future cattle barons and oil millionaires, President James Monroe was signing the Monroe Doctrine, which set down plans for the US domination of the western hemisphere. Central and South America were deemed spheres of US interest. This led to US troops intervening in Nicaragua in 1833 and in Peru in 1835, followed by the Mexican-American war in 1854 when the US annexed territory from Mexico which became New Mexico, Arizona and California. In 1856 US troops invaded Panama and in 1858 US troops went into Uruguay. At home, after a bloody civil war to determine if the mercantile and capitalist class in the north or the slaveholding landed aristocracy in the south would take control of the country, the north came away victorious. And though this meant the chains were theoretically taken off the slaves, for many the ingrained racial hatred and ignorance replaced the chains with ropes and bars. Second Great President: It is around this juncture when perhaps the second most famous US President after Washington, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, came on the scene. Like Washington, a myth has been woven around Teddy as a great representative of democracy and freedom. Teddy was born in 1858 with a silver spoon in his mouth. He graduated from Harvard in 1880, was New York Police Commissioner in 1895-97, Assistant Secretary to the Navy in 1897, led the Rough Riders in that "splendid little war" in Cuba 1898, became President from 1901-1908, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. During his tenure Teddy set up protectorates over Cuba, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic. Using the US Navy he orchestrated a revolt in Panama when Colombia would not bow to US demands on the construction of the shipping canal. Three days after the uprising the US recognised the "Republic of Panama", whereupon an agreement giving the US absolute rights over the canal was reached with this new Republic. Three No-Good Failures Jay Gould 1836-92, Jim Fisk 1834-72, and Daniel Drew 1797-1879, were three products of the make-good myth of US capitalism, starting out with nothing and, through coercion, corruption, market manipulation, speculation, the ruthless exploitation of labour and the American people in general accumulating their fortunes. They were ruined in the "panic of 1873" and are consequently considered no- good failures. Three Model Americans:) Cornelius Vanderbilt 1794-1877, Henry C Frick 1848- 1919, and James P Morgan 1837-1913, were even more ruthlessly exploitative than Gould, Fisk and Drew but they kept hold of their millions and so became three model Americans. These parasites accumulated their wealth, no small assistance from the state. The army was a particular favourite, used against striking US Steel workers in Pennsylvania in 1892 and in Illinois in 1894, to give just two examples. US Empire:) Toward the end of the 18th century the US began to build its empire in earnest. In 1898 US troops invaded Puerto Rico to (liberate) it from Spain after the US had sparked the Spanish-American war that same year. In 1899 the US Congress voted to make the Philippines an American colony, after the Philippines had become independent from Spain. It remained a colony until 1947. Guam and Samoa also came under the protective hand of Uncle Sam about this time. Said the good Senator Beveridge of Indiana: "God has not been preparing the English speaking people for a thousand years for nothing — he has made us the master organisers of the world to administer government among savage and senile people." To usher in the new century, the USA, along with France, Germany, Italy and others went into China in 1900 to put down the Boxer Rebellion. The civilising continued as US troops went into Columbia in 1901 and 1902 and intervened in Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Panama in 1903. This scenario was repeated on a number of occasions during the following decade with an occupation force of US Marines setting up camp in Nicaragua and staying put there pretty much on a permanent basis until 1933. Ditto in 1915 in Haiti, until 1934. At this time WW1 was being cranked up in the heart of Europe and at home in the USA big business was celebrating as the profits flowed from arms manufacturing and the new opportunities afforded them in the markets of their imperialist rivals Britain, France and Germany. Then, in 1917 the unthinkable happened: in Russia the Bolsheviks overthrew the Czar and the workers took power. So, while President Wilson was being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, US troops were in Russia trying to crush the revolution. Soon after, in 1919, prohibition was imposed on the American people and the trade in illegal liquor thrived. The police, though, had their hands full locking up those their masters saw as the real threat; trade unionists, socialists and others, such as labour leaders Eugene V Debs and Thomas Mooney, and Sacco and Vanzetti, who were jailed and executed on trumped up charges. In 1929 the stock market crashed and some tycoons who had watched their fortunes disappear jumped to their deaths from Wall Street buildings. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of workers were thrown into unemployment. In 1932 President Hoover ordered Generals Eisenhower, Patton and McArthur to bring out the troops against unemployed veterans of WW1 who had marched on Washington with their families to demand a Veterans' Bonus Law. Their call was answered with bullets and tear gas. While workers and their families starved, the US Navy sent three warships to crush a peasant insurrection in El Salvador in which 30,000 were killed. And in order to further entrench democracy and freedom in South America, in 1933 the US set up the Samoza dictatorship and its National Guard in Nicaragua. Not all the moneybags went under in the crash of `29. Some did very nicely selling pig iron and oil to Japan for that country's ruthless invasion and occupation of China. At the same time the US turned a deaf ear to the Spanish Government's plea for support and aid to defend itself against Franco's fascists and their Nazi allies. Hitler's bid for world domination, begun in 1939, was a bonanza for US business but when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour they were reluctantly forced to reconsider the oil and pig iron deal. Four years later, after the Soviet Union had smashed the Nazi war machine, the US, with its shores untouched by invading forces and the corporations raking in trillions of dollars in profits from the conflict, emerged as the most powerful economic force in the world. Now it could pursue its role as Global Policeman with determination, because after its nuclear weapons experiment on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 it was also a policeman with the biggest stick in the world. Its first "police action" was Korea in 1950, against the "communist bogey", where despite its power and the devastation it caused, the Global Policeman suffered its first major setback and had to settle for leaving thousands of its troops and nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. Next, the US State Department helped overthrow the popular government in Iran in 1953 and install the Shar. This was followed by its secret police, the CIA, organising the overthrow of the government in Guatemala in 1954, on behalf of the United Fruit Company. In 1958 the CIA helped rig elections in Lebanon, with the US Marines as back up, followed by the disastrous (for Uncle Sam) Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba in 1961. The following year the US imposed a naval blockade of that country for it daring to chart an independent course. The Bay of Pigs proved disastrous for President John Kennedy in more ways than one as the CIA, by now a law unto itself, decided that JFK wasn't the President for them. He was duly assassinated in 1963. In one year (1964) US troops shot down protesting students in the Panama Canal zone and the CIA helped carry off a coup d'etat in Brazil. In 1965 the communist bogey saw the Global Policeman set up a bogus attack on the US Navy, the Bay of Tonkin (incident), which was used as a pretext for US troops to begin a direct invasion of Vietnam, followed by the massive carpet bombing and defoliation of the country. When it was revealed that US soldiers systematically murdered women and children and massacred whole villages in Vietnam, Vice President Agnew responded, "We are proud of what our boys do in Vietnam." In 1967 in Greece, Papadopolous became the first CIA agent to be the head of a European country. In Vietnam, the Global Policeman yet again got his comeuppance as the Vietnamese people and the world peace movement forced him to get out in disgrace. Soon after the leader of the free world, President Richard M Nixon, had to get out as well following a break-and-enter he orchestrated at the Watergate Hotel, but not before his administration sponsored the bloody coup against the popular government in Chile and murdered the President, Salvador Allende. US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was so busy overseeing this coup d'etat that he was unable to be present in person to collect his Nobel Peace Prize. In 1975 the CIA destabilised the Labor Government in Australia. Nineteen-eighty-one saw the CIA begin to supply financial and advisory support for the counter-revolutionary forces against the socialist Nicaraguan Government. President Ronald Reagan, a former B-grade Hollywood actor, labelled the Soviet Union the (Evil Empire) and upped the nuclear anti with his Star Wars nuclear first-strike project, thereby bringing the world closer to the brink of annihilation. In 1983, the most powerful military force in the world invaded the tiny island state of Grenada and installed a pro-American government to keep the world safe from communism. "I have acted to protect American lives and restore democratic rights in Grenada", said President Reagan. The Global Policeman, miffed that back in 1969 Libya had closed the biggest US base outside of the US itself and sent the CIA operatives and military packing, decided to bomb Libya in 1986, with the aim of assassinating President Qaddafi. It was a failure. In 1989 the US invaded Panama for the 20th time! The Global Policeman, with selected allies, in 1991 acted to make the world's oil safe for the oil transnationals and began a bombing campaign on Iraq which continues to this day. Said President Bush, "Sadam must go." Sadam is still there. In 1999 the Global Policeman, with his global NATO police force, decided to break up the remains of the Yugoslav Federation of States, using depleted uranium weapons and a ground force invasion. Today we have new occupants in the White House in George W Bush and Co. They hold firm to the belief that the south was hard done by in the Civil War, and yearn for a return to those golden days when slavery held sway. Enslavement? On reflection, isn't that what the Global Policeman has attempted to enforce, lo these many years? And this administration, perhaps with more madmen than any other, may be prepared to give the enforcer free rein to try and enslave the world .... in the name of democracy, of course. Though the peoples of the world will have something to say about that!