Last week I linked to the audio of an interview with the author of Confessions of a Hitman. I do love our country, but think we err in assuming that everything we’ve done, do, and will do is something to be proud of. I mentioned, for example, the Alamo, which I think the average school kid thinks of as American heroics in some long-forgotten noble cause. But I suggested that – if memory serves – the cause was our stealing Texas from Mexico, and killing quite a few Mexican soldiers in the process.
Randall: ‘Reasonable people can debate whether Texas was stolen or liberated. However, with the benefit of hindsight, it is now clear that the people who reside in Texas are better off under the US government than they would have been under the Mexican government.’
☞ Perhaps we should liberate the rest of Mexico? Canada?
THAT KENNAN QUOTE
And as if that first link wasn’t subversive enough, it prompted one of you to recommend why-US.org, whence I took a George Kennan quote.
Russil Wvong: ‘Arggggghhhh!!! I don’t think Orwell would have been surprised by this highly selective quotation of George Kennan. From what I can tell, it was stitched together by Noam Chomsky, the American linguist and anarchist, as evidence that US foreign policy since World War II has been driven by greed. But in fact Kennan was arguing that the US ought to leave Asia alone, not that it ought to oppress the rest of the world and steal its resources. (At the time, there was a debate going on about whether the US ought to continue propping up Chiang Kai-Shek; Kennan was opposed.) For a detailed discussion, click here. The irony in Chomsky’s quoting Kennan to criticize US foreign policy is that Kennan himself consistently argued for much greater moderation and restraint in US foreign policy. Indeed, Kennan does so even in the section of PPS/23 which Chomsky is quoting. For a detailed assessment of Kennan’s role in shaping US foreign policy during the early Cold War, see Wilson D. Miscamble’s book George F. Kennan and the Making of American Foreign Policy, 1947-1950, published in 1992.”
☞ Russil knows a great deal more about this than I do – indeed, when I Google “George Kennan” to learn more, the very first item that pops up is this post, by Russil Wvong! – and so it seems I have done George Kennan wrong.
But that doesn’t automatically let us off the hook and make us the good guys in every action, overt and covert, we’ve ever taken. Or perhaps, as Stu argues below, I’m wrong.
Stu Albertson: “You are seriously off the reservation with the conspiracy mumbo-jumbo that continues to seep into your blog. It does NOTHING to enhance your credibility to view everything through a prism of conspiracy where black is white and good is bad and every major decision or occurrence of the 20th Century is the work of dark nefarious whitemalecapitalist forces. Well, I’ve got news for you, pal, there is another half to your conspiracy and it involves people who follow an ideology responsible for more deaths than any conceivable historic machinery of butchery. It’s called communism. And it’s what overthrew most of those dictators you say we ‘supported.’ Well, the butchers that took over from those dictators ended up killing way many more people. My point is not to lecture you on history, it’s to tell you that when you even nod in the direction of these crazy lefties like the why-us types (with your innocuous comments like ‘interesting’) you lose many people who think you are even-handed.”
☞ I wish I could be as confident as Stu that our foreign policy has been consistently laudable.
Quote of the Day
Triumphant wife to down-and-out husband: I've consolidated all our bills into one missed payment.~Frank Cotham cartoon in the October 11, 1999, New Yorker
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