“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.
Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.” Gen. Smedley Butler
This man was a general in the US military. And this is what he spent most of his time doing as a general in the US military – rampaging around Latin America overthrowing governments, raping countries, stealing resources and slaughtering people, all so US corporations could rule over their lands as de facto colonies of the United States. None of these countries were even given the opportunity to pursue an independent course of development. None of these actions were ever done in solidarity, instead they were all done in the name of neocolonial imperialism as part of the creation of the American Empire in Latin America, a project which is ongoing as I write this. That is correct, Latin America is still a colony of the United States. A few places tried to liberate themselves from US colonialism and achieve independence, and look what happened to them: Haiti, Grenada, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela, and Brazil. Earlier cases involved Guatemala, the Dominican Republican, Guyana, and Chile. Brazil and Argentina just got taken down and the Venezuela is finally in the process of being taken down after over 15 years of unrelenting US warfare.
As you can see, raw, naked US imperialism of the most vicious and brutal kind has always been the way of the United States, dating back all the way to 1900. So we were nice guys before that? Nope. We sucked in the 1800’s too. The US spent most of the 1800’s slaughtering American Indians, stealing their land and stabbing them in the back with fake treaties. That was when we were not invading Mexico and stealing and annexing Mexican land.
Although we didn’t do much in Latin America in the 1800’s, that was only because there was not much to do down there. The US did not have much of a foreign policy period, and US corporations did not tend to operate overseas. Further all of Latin America was in the hands of the vicious and voracious Latin American ruling classes which kept their nations in the most abject poverty and pitiful underdevelopment while the rich stole every nickel the economies ever created, leaving everyone else in rags holding the bag. Rule by the vicious 1% has always been a-ok with the US; in fact, this is how we prefer it. Any nation that overthrows rule by the rich to put in democratic rule by the people is usually taken out sooner or later by the United States, often using the very military that Butler lamented being a part of.
I would like to point out one very sorry thing. First of all, not one single thing has changed about US foreign policy since Smedley wrote those famous words. This is still exactly what US foreign policy in Latin America and to a lesser extent other places is composed of. And in between the time Butler is describing until our present day, what he describes has been US foreign policy the entire time. We’ve never had a decent foreign policy for a day in this country. Even the most liberal regimes pursued vicious foreign policies. FDR’s foreign policy in Latin America was monstrous – “Somoza may be a sonofabitch, but he’s our sonofabitch.” Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive reformer at home and a monster overseas. “Walk softly and carry a big stick” was his vicious, violent, brutal policy of conquest and dictatorial rule in Latin America. In fact, most of the continent was actually officially colonized under Teddy’s rule. This has always been the way in US politics. That disgusting foreign policy described by Butler has been fully embraced by both parties from Day One. The Democrats were down with it just as much as the Republicans. This is what was known as “the bipartisan foreign policy consensus.” The Democrats were only progressive on domestic issues. They were just as reactionary as Republicans on foreign policy. The two parties have always only differed on domestic policy. This year is no different. In fact, this year Hitlery’s foreign policy is actually much more rightwing and imperialist than even the Republican Donald Trump’s! Trump isn’t really an anti-imperialist, but he’s the closest thing to one in US politics – a good, old-fashioned isolationist. The upshot is that his foreign policy actually ends up being a lot more progressive than “liberal” Democrat Killary’s. Unbelievable! The Democrats are more rightwing that the Republicans!
There doesn’t seem to be any way out of this imperial bullshit. This crap has been the America way for so long that I am not sure that we as a country understand any other way of looking at the world. It’s gotten to where this vicious imperial foreign policy is the only thing we understand. We literally do not know how to act any other way. And when you get both parties in on the program along with ~100% of the media, you have what amounts to 100% US political, corporate and media elite consensus on the outlines of a foreign policy along with a full spectrum dominance way of promoting it. Poll after poll for years shows that Americans almost always support whatever shenanigans US foreign policy is up to at the moment. So the elites do not have to worry about the masses marching in the streets over foreign policy. Americans are always in complete lockstep with foreign policy probably due to media brainwashing. Deep state media control is so complete that the entire media spectrum typically supports anything and everything the Deep State does and believes foreign policy-wise. There’s literally no dissent. The media is that controlled, 100% controlled. With wall to wall 24-7 broadcasting, net and news publishing it’s no surprised that on foreign policy, Americans appear about as brainwashed as a North Korean.