The US is the only country in the world that has intervened in almost every nation. Looking at the history of each individual country you will notice that the US will appear during times of turmoil – either to help the insurgent groups against the current government or to protect the current system in place. The outcome of these interventions hasn’t always been positive and usually when that’s the case it’s due to the lack of understanding of the local culture thus evoking a negative response from the host nation towards the US and democracy. But why does the US insist in getting involved on matters of other nations? The answer is simple: EGO.
Now, when I say ego is the reason why the US gets involved, I’m not disregarding the economic interests that have been at play at various occasions or the strong campaign against communism, but these motives have been relatively recent and the US is not the only country who has economic interests internationally or detests communism. Hitler was against communism – he demonized communist ideals and even banned the party – but he wasn’t actively invading other nations to stop communism, he was invading other countries in order to make Germany great once again.
It’s important to understand the declaration of independence and what the Founding Fathers intended for the future of the country. However, it’s important to remember that explorers and conquerors had settled in the colonies. These were not the ordinary citizens of a nation; these were people who were creating a new beginning and setting trends – in a way they were an elite group, highly educated. Thus, the founding fathers were great thinkers and visionaries and the country they created was their idea of the ideal system. It was a complete break from traditional monarchy and transferred the power down to the people but they didn’t account that the basis of their system would also be its downfall.
So, at the end of the first sentence, Thomas Jefferson placed a crucial phrase:
“a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
The placement of this phrase and its significance sets a foundation and a priority for the American political agenda overseas. Since the beginning of their independence the colonies wanted international recognition as a legitimate state, thus they emphasize the importance of justifying why such separation is necessary. They want the world to see them and value them as equals – trendsetters.
The second sentence states the values in which this country is being built upon and the rights all humans possess:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Beautiful words that have been echoed by every single American president, but what do they really mean? These words are very subjective and are left open to interpretation. When everyone shares the same background and education level, then the interpretation will be pretty similar to each other’s. But when you have a group of people who don’t share a background and their education levels fluctuate greatly then everyone will start acting on their own accord following their interpretation. And that is what is currently happening in the US. Education, ethnicity and customs differ from region to region.
The third sentence explains the duty of the government:
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Power is granted by the people and enforced by the people. And if the government were to overstep its boundaries, the people are responsible for abolishing the tyranny and instituting a new government under the original principles. Yet, if a government is being overthrown because it became tyrant, wouldn’t instituting a new one under the same principles as the previous one lead to the same effect in the future?
The declaration then continues to elaborate into the last phrase I pointed out, then lists the injustices from the British crown, and finally those present pledge their honor, fortune, and lives to the independence.
As I mentioned earlier, the people living in the colonies were not ordinary citizens. They started the revolution to gain independence and created a nation under their ideal form of government. They were experimenting, changing the rules of the game. By giving power to the people, they were showing the world that the monarchy’s belief in the people’s corrupt and selfish nature was false.
They created the country under a belief, not an identity, and as long as that belief is kept alive so will the US. This belief ties the citizens under a common morality and virtue. This system is highly sensitive to any change in any of these two qualities. The virtue required to keep Democracy alive is selflessness – you must have the ability and desire to put your personal interests aside and act towards the common good. And society’s views of wrong and right must be viewed and accepted unanimously.
Jefferson believed that you had to be enlightened in order for democracy to work, only those of strong moral character could form part of such a system, therefore the US must set the example for the rest of the world to follow. As long as Americans kept a strong moral force, the essence of their society and government would remain infallible.
Consequently, the belief embedded in the country is:
America is made up of enlightened citizens and if America fails, then its citizens were not truly virtuous or enlightened and the rest of the world will have no one to look up to. So, America cannot fail.
As time passed by and revolutions in Europe failed to create and sustain new republics, the US grew in popularity and was THE example of a true and successful republic. So, massive waves of immigrants entered the country in the pursuit of the American dream. It was the land of opportunities, new beginnings, and beliefs. All these people brought with them their cultural identities.
This wave of immigration in the 1820s and the future ones that came were made of ordinary people, there is no way of knowing who are the ones that posses the strong moral character that Jefferson believed in. So, instead of working towards enlightening its new citizens, Americans simply reinforced their belief as the leaders of the world.
Americans started to encourage revolutions worldwide without intervening militarily yet raised money for the rebels and some Americans went to fight in support of the revolutionary movements. They would also be the first to recognize any new government that resulted from these revolutions. The world was following their legacy.
But in 1917, the Bolsheviks took over the Russian revolution and founded their government on a new set of principles – Marxist principles. This new system marked a new path for the world to follow. American Democracy was no longer the path of the future. Marxism was the new route and was attracting many. So, the US stopped supporting revolutions and instead started supporting existing regimes regardless if they were not democracies as long as they were not communist, the US would intervene directly and help control the uprisings. The belief of democracy was still present, but what was more present was the fear at failing to lead the world into democracy. So, any nation that showed signs of turning communist the US would jump to intervene as a way of “saving” them from following the wrong path.
This belief of an enlightened savior is the ego that has been guiding the US since its creation. Rooted in the idea of self-governance and global leadership, the US operated as a superpower. It is a superpower that lacks a real identity and due to its focus to international recognition, it forgot to never stop educating its citizens. Thus without an identity to keep its society’s moral compass from going astray, it must now deal with a society that grows in ignorance trading the original virtues for materialistic luxuries whose only hope for survival is to stay internationally ‘relevant’ and keep their belief alive.
Thank you OM for letting me post on your site. I’m Lex Solo and I blog at Lex Solo’s Political Rantings, come and discuss politics with me.